Enchilada Spaghetti Squash Bake

Photo by Dara Michalski (aka the Cookin' Canuck).

Sally asked me to come up with a recipe for spaghetti squash for this week's farm share from Glade Road Growing.  Italian or greek is pretty obvious and I'd already done one for Pad Thai, so I thought I'd come up with something with Mexican flavors.  Unlike Michalski, I make my sauce and beans from scratch and use feta cheese (as we do on Masa Mondays at the farm), rather than Monterrey Jack.  She uses two small squash and I substituted one large one cut in fourths.


Serves 4


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons whole wheat flour (or corn starch, if you would like this to be gluten free)
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
4 teaspoons oregano
4 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sprig epazote (optional, if you can't find it)
3/4 cups water or stock
1 cup tomato paste or 4 fresh tomatoes roasted and pureed
1/3 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup dried black beans, cooked, rinsed and drained
1 large spaghetti squash
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup corn kernels, fresh cut off cob or frozen and defrosted
⅔ c feta cheese crumbled (or vegan feta substitute, see below)  If you eat neither dairy, nor soy,
     substitute 2/3 cups of chopped pitted kalamata olives)

3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Ingredients for vegan feta substitute:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb firm tofu, crumbled

If you want to try an almond-based feta substitute (which requires more work, see this recipe.

1.  To cook the black beans, the night before, bring 1 cup of beans to a boil in 3 cups of cold water and simmer for five minutes.  Rinse.  Bring back to boil and soak overnight. The next morning rinse well and drain. Cover with colder water plus an inch and start to simmer. (Add water as necessary to keep the beans barely covered).

2.  If you are making the vegan feta subsitute, place everything but the tofu in the bowl and whisk together. Add the tofu, stir, and let sit for at least an hour.  You will need 2/3 of a cup for this recipe and can store the rest for another use in a lidded glass jar in the fridge.

3.  To make the sauce,  heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add flour or corn starch, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute. Add spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add water or stock, tomato paste and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Add salt and adjust the seasonings, as desired.  If you'd like, you can scale up this recipe and use 1 3/4 cups of the sauce and freeze the remainder for another use.

4.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Using a large, sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds. Place the squash cut edge down in a  baking dish and roast in oven for about 20 minutes, or until soft.  Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature. Save the shells of the squash for stuffing later.

5.  Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 

5.  Stir in the spaghetti squash strands, black beans, corn and enchilada sauce, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  If you eat neither milk nor soy, instead of feta or substitute, stir in the chopped kalamata olives.  Scoop the spaghetti squash mixture into the spaghetti squash shells and top with cheese or vegan feta substitute, if using.

6.  If you are using the tofu vegan feta substitute skip this step, as it will not melt.  If you have made the almond vegan substitute or are using feta cheese, proceed as follows.  Turn oven to broil.  Place the stuffed spaghetti squash onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. 

7.  Sprinkle stuffed squash with cilantro.  Cut the halves in half again crosswise, so that you have 4 pieces, plate and serve.