Spaghetti squash with chicken – lower in calories and carbohydrates, high in protein, healthy fats, aromatic flavors and with a delightful taste and texture.
Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Here in this recipe I have applied a nutritional twist – using a combination of spaghetti squash and vermicelli.
The resulting concoction – this Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pasta – has 30% less carbohydrates and 20% less calories for the same gastronomic experience. You can of course, use all of spaghetti squash instead of vermicelli for a further reduction.
But you must be cognizant of the fact that, although this is a great textural substitute for noodle style pasta, it still does not taste exactly like the “real” pasta. For most people though, the amount of substitution I have used will deliver the suitable taste and nutrition results.
Health Benefits – Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash with pale yellow flesh, which yields noodle like strands once it is cooked. But it is a lot lower in carbohydrates and calories than the comparable variety of pasta.
One cup of cooked spaghetti squash provides approximately 42 calories and 10 grams carbohydrate compared to cooked spaghetti which provides 220 calories and 43 grams carbohydrates.
This squash has a high percentage of water and is a good source of fiber, so it fills you up without too many calories. Therefore, it makes a great choice for weight loss and diabetic diets. Spaghetti squash is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B 6, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and some phytochemicals.
Photography above: bijansviewfinder.com
If you have not yet tried spaghetti squash, dig into this recipe infused with aromatic flavors: Spaghetti squash with chicken!!
Spicy Spaghetti Squash With Chicken
- 2 lb spaghetti squash * (use 2 cups strands, save the rest)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion large, sliced thin
- 1 lb chicken breast or thigh, boneless
- 2 tsp garlic grated
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1/2 tsp chili powder * or 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 2 to 3 tbsp yogurt
- 3 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp mint fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried mint)
- 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice as per taste
- 1/3 lb vermicelli (preferably whole grain)
- 2 tbsp cashew halves, roasted
- Salt as per taste
- Black pepper as per taste
- Garnish - chopped cilantro, shredded carrots
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Using a sharp knife cut the spaghetti squash into two halves and discard the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet facing up.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil and brush it evenly. Sprinkle two pinches of salt and black pepper. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a cooking pot at medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until golden brown. Cut the chicken breast/thigh meat into small pieces or you may also mince it.
- Add the cut or minced chicken to the onions and sauté until the released juices evaporate. Next add the ginger, garlic and stir for a few minutes.
- Then add the chili powder or jalapeno, turmeric, curry powder, yogurt and salt as per taste. Stir and let simmer for a few minutes.
- While the chicken is simmering, cook vermicelli to al dente stage following the package instructions. Make sure to use the right amount of water and salt as suggested on the package for 1/3 lb of vermicelli. It should yield about 2 cups cooked vermicelli.
- When the spaghetti squash is fully baked take it out of the oven and allow it to cool. Using a fork scrape inside of the squash to obtain noodle like strands. Reserve 2 cups for this recipe and save the remaining for any other use.
- Now check the chicken and be sure that it is cooked well. The mixture should not be too wet or runny at this point. Finally add the cilantro, mint and lemon juice as per taste.
- Check the vermicelli, spaghetti squash, chicken for seasonings, salt, pepper, lemon juice and adjust as per taste.
- Layer the vermicelli, spaghetti squash and chicken or mix it all together gently and serve it on a platter.
Scatter roasted cashew halves, chopped cilantro and shredded carrots on the spaghetti squash with chicken . You may serve a yogurt salad on the side.
- Make sure to use a mature medium size or larger spaghetti squash for cooked strands that are firm and well defined.
- Chili powders can vary in the amount of heat or pungency. So adjust the amount as needed. You may alternatively use chopped fresh peppers such as jalapeno, cayenne or Serrano.
- Be sure to check added salt in the curry powder and if it is too spicy for your taste.