I can still remember the first time I ate spaghetti squash. It was many years ago at a restaurant in Boston – and I remember being so intrigued by a squash that, when cooked, has flesh that resembles strands of spaghetti! It was love at first bite – with a delicate and almost buttery taste – and to this day, I could eat spaghetti squash almost any day of the week and never grow tired of it!
This recipe for Spaghetti Squash Gremolata is one of my favorite ways to prepare this versatile and delicious vegetable! A gremolata is a chopped herb condiment – always made with grated lemon peel – and most often combined with garlic and parsley (although other variations of herbs are also fantastic!). We combined our gremolata with a sauce made from sautéed fresh red tomatoes, and then topped the dish with additional uncooked, chopped fresh yellow garden tomatoes – and I must say, the combination of these wonderful flavors is the perfect complement to the tender roasted spaghetti squash! It’s a healthy and delicious dish — plus I think it’s gorgeous to look at as well!
Spaghetti squash is so easy to cook at home – you can actually roast it whole in the oven, or (like we do in this recipe) cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and then roast it cut-side down on a parchment-lined sheet pan until tender. We prefer the ‘cut-in-half’ method – in part, because it’s easier to tell when the squash is done, but also because the flesh becomes slightly caramelized in the oven – which adds even more delicious flavor. Either way you cook it, you are sure to love this spaghetti squash gremolata as much as we do!
Note: You can just as easily make this gremolata and serve it over cooked pasta instead of the cooked spaghetti squash. Simply substitute one for the other. The other ingredients stay the same. Enjoy!
- 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some extra for drizzling at the end
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
- 3 ½ cups fresh tomatoes diced, or two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped and divided
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 yellow tomato, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove stem from the spaghetti squash and slice squash in half from top to bottom. Remove seeds and place squash cut side down on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until squash is able to pull away from sides in strands. The last 15 minutes is critical to get the texture just right. If you remove it too soon, the squash will not pull away from the skin. Too long and it will be overcooked . After 45 minutes, check for doneness and continue cooking as needed.
- As the squash cooks, prepare the sauce. In a medium to large sauté pan, place two tablespoons of the oil and heat to medium hot over medium heat. Add half of the garlic and stir. Immediately add the red tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for ten minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in half the parsley, half the lemon zest and all of the lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, combine the other half of the garlic, the other half of the parsley and the other half of the lemon zest. Once mixed, set aside.
- Once the squash is ready and you have pulled the flesh from the skin, place the cooked squash on a serving platter. Top with the tomato sauce mixture, then the parsley mixture (gremolata). Then top with the chopped yellow tomato. Finally finish with a drizzle of olive oil over the top and serve.
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