Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Tofu

If you've never had spaghetti squash before, add it to your next grocery list RIGHT NOW! It's such a great alternative to pasta and it can be paired with just about anything. I've made pad thai with it before, but this is my first time using it as an alternative to actual spaghetti and let me tell you—I'm smitten. It might not be as easy to cook as pasta, but it really is a pretty simple (and fun, might I add) process! Here's how I made my version of spaghetti squash marinara.


  • Medium sized spaghetti squash

  • Approx. 1 cup of marinara sauce

  • Half a block of tofu (extra firm)

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Garlic (to taste, but I used about 1-2 teaspoons)

  • Italian spices (I used thyme and basil)

  • 2-3 tablespoons onion, chopped

1. While it's not necessary to let the tofu marinate, it definitely helps let the flavors seep in. I chopped up my tofu into cubes (about 1/2 an inch or so) and then mixed it with the melted butter and spices. This time I let it marinate for about two hours, but the longer the better.


2. This step takes about 45 minutes, so plan accordingly. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a very sharp knife, cut your squash in half down the longer side. Microwave the halves for about 4 to 5 minutes. This will help them cook faster while in the oven. Once you're done with the prepping, place each half face down on a tray (make sure to spray some non-stick cooking spray if your tray isn't non-stick.) Put in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. At this point you can check to see if they're ready by poking holes in it with a fork. If the fork goes in easily, the spaghetti squash is ready. I usually turn the oven off and leave the squash in for another 10 minutes or so to make sure it's soft enough.


3. After the squash has been in for about 25 minutes, I start working on the tofu because this part can take up to 20 minutes or so. Use a frying pan and set the heat to medium-high. There shouldn't be a need for oil or cooking spray because there is plenty of butter. Mix the tofu cubes well and continue to stir every 3 to 5 minutes. If you notice that it's starting to cook too quickly or burn, set the heat to low. This step can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on what heat you set it at and how "crispy" you want your tofu to be. Once the tofu starts to brown up, you can add the chopped onion to the mix.


4. Now that your squash is softened and ready to be scooped out, set it aside for a few minutes to let it cool. You're gonna want it to be cool enough that you can hold it (I'm too impatient and always end up burning myself -_-) Hold the squash upright, take a fork to it and scoop out the seeds. Don't miss any! Once you've taken care of the seeds you can start scooping out the good stuff with your fork. Set the spaghetti aside.


5. In a medium-ish sauce pan set to medium-low heat, pour the marinara sauce and let it warm up a bit. Next, place the squash in the pan and mix it well with the sauce. It's really up to you how much sauce you use, but remember that the squash really soaks it up so you don't want to go overboard. If anything, pour it little by little and see how it goes.


6. Once the squash has heated up for a couple minutes, go ahead and add the tofu and onion mix! Mix everything really well and WAH LAH—it's ready to serve ;)

So there you have it, a delicious and somewhat healthy alternative to your ordinary pasta dinner. Don't be intimidated by spaghetti squash! Give it a try, I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do.

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