For the love of crunchy vegetables I prepared a 3 ingredient salad! I had chopped almonds, a juicy zucchini and I found this cute miniature spaghetti-squash at the supermarket that I couldn’t resist bringing home.
If you don’t know what spaghetti squash is, you can think of it as the Ugly Duckling of the winter squash family. Unlike the pumpkin or butternut squash, the spaghetti-squash has a light flavor and almost sweet taste. But what it lacks in rich flavor it compensates in crunchy texture: once cooked, you can spoon out its flesh in ribbons. I decided it was a perfect 3rd ingredient to Smitten Kitchen’s favorite dish. I also needed a simple but sophisticated dish to impress Aurelie Magnin, my karate colleague and friend, who helped out with the preparation and photography.
The famous and humble blogger of Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perelman, is my third idol in the food-cooking-baking department (my primary idols being my two grandmothers of course!). My most productive method of procrastination is cooking and my second is reading her blog and drooling. I long debated recreating a dish designed by such an expert in the field. After a short reflection and lurking on wikipedia, I realized that zucchini is also part of the squash family or Cucurbita genus. This match was meant to be.
Thank you to Aurelie Magnin, my karate colleague and friend, was over for dinner so I decided to impress her with simplicity and crunch.
Zucchini Spaghetti-Squash Snack/Salad:1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks or grated 1 small spaghetti-squash 1/2 cup of chopped almonds 2 tbsp olive oil A sprinkle or few slices of Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut the spaghetti-squash in half and brush the insides with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the two halves in aluminum foil and place on a tray in the oven. Cook until soft, about 25 min. If you have a larger squash, cut in quarters or eighths and proceed the same way.
2. Cut zucchini into matchsticks. Alternatively you can grate the zucchini to have the same size range as the squash. Once the squash is ready, scrape its flesh with a fork. All three ingredients are now ready to be combined.
3. Lightly oil your pan with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and set on high heat. Add the almonds and stir continuously until brown, for about 2 min. Mix in the zucchini, coating with olive oil in the process and finally add the squash. You want to cook the vegetables enough so that they are warm but not too much so that they remain crunchy.
Remove from heat and serve with salt, pepper and Parmesan.