10.15.19

Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

It’s squash season, y’all!!! And let’s make *all* the spaghetti squash recipes!

Spaghetti Squash is one of those phenomenons that I just will never get over. The fact that a squash can be baked and miraculously turn into a spaghetti-like texture is beyond me! Spaghetti squash is delicious, in my opinion, but I do believe it needs a little TLC when cooking with it and lots of flavor to really amp things up. The flavor of a spaghetti squash isn’t too sweet, and it does have a tendency to get a little watery– which can result in… well, some pretty bland recipes. But let’s do away with that shall we?

Here, this recipe is simple. Taco stuffed spaghetti squash boats. Nothing revolutionary there; however, sometimes dinner doesn’t have to be revolutionary to be great. This recipe has tons of flavor, is easy to whip up any night of the week, and is perfect for using up all the squash you are seeing at the grocery store!

Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

Serves: 4 people
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Ingredients

For the Spaghetti Squash:

  • 2 smaller sized spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For Taco Meat:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 [4-ounce] can diced green chiles , undrained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2/3 cup beef or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar & monterrey jack cheese (omit for Whole30/paleo/dairy-free)

For Serving:

  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 avocado, cubed

Instructions

Make the Squash:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Carefully halve spaghetti squash lengthwise by inserting the very tip of a very sharp large knife into the side of the squash (lengthwise) and push it all the way through to the other side. Then rock the knife back and forth to cut one half all the way through, then repeat on the other side until the squash is cut in half.
    Scoop and scrape out the seeds and most of the stringy parts of the center of the squash (I find it's easier if you use an ice cream scoop).
  • Brush the interior of the squash with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Place the squash, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the skin and flesh. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle (keep the oven on at this time as they will go back in the oven to finish baking). (*see below for InstantPot method)

Make the Taco Meat:

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, onion, salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with the edge of a spoon, until the meat is cooked through (or no longer pink), 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off excess fat and place meat back into the hot skillet.
  • Add the green chiles, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder and toss until well combined. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Slowly pour in the broth to the meat mixture, stirring, until well combined. Cook, stirring often, until liquid has absorbed and thickened a bit, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Fill the Boats:

  • When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, using a fork, scrape out the squash strands (being careful not to tear the outer skin) and place in a large bowl (you don't have to get every single strand, just do your best to get as much as you can.)
  • Add the meat meat mixture and toss until well combined. Evenly distribute the spaghetti squash/meat mixture combination amongst the 4 "boats". Spinkle with cheese (if using), then place back into the oven until the cheese is hot, bubbling, and slightly browned, about 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with pico de gallo, diced avocado and serve with a wedge of lime. Enjoy!

Notes

*How to make Spaghetti Squash in an InstantPot: 
Hi! yes you can make spaghetti squash in an instant pot, and it's done in a quick 8 minutes; however, the flavor isn't going to be as nice as when the squash is roasted. Just wanted to preface it with that. 
  • After you scoop out the seeds, Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add a cup of water into the bottom. Arrange the cut squash halves on top of the trivet and secure the lid. Make sure the steam release valve in the lid is turned to the sealing position.
  • Use the pressure cook or manual button to set the pressure cooker to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. [It will take roughly 8-10 minutes for the pot to build pressure before the cooking cycle begins, so make sure to consider that extra time when planning your meal.]
  • Release the pressure manually by carefully turning the valve to 'venting'. Once the steam has released completely, carefully remove the lid and let the squash halves cool enough to handle. 

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