Squash food waste with cooked squash
People waste so much food these days. It’s estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets thrown out each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That’s hard on the planet and on your wallet. From cutting the crust off our bread to throwing out food that never even had a chance to be prepared and nourish us, food waste is so pervasive.
That’s why this recipe, or rather these two recipes, are so great. We’re going to squash food waste with squash.
Combatting food waste isn’t just about using all of what you have. It’s about making something tasty that your family loves too. Because let’s face it, if it’s not tasty, your family won’t eat it and you’re back to wasting food and money. It’s enough to make you cry. (And it will later, because we’re cooking with onions here).
Using your ingredients to the maximum possible benefit is a rewarding challenge in itself
This week I challenged myself to use a whole spaghetti squash. If I could find something to do with the rind I would! That’s what homesteading and survival is all about. Using everything because you may not always have access to it again. If you care about the environment, you may already be eating food produced within 100 miles of your home and trying to use entire vegetables and fruits when you cook and to you I say, bravo! It’s hard to do what you know is right when it can be so challenging and you don’t know where to start. I’m a lazy cook though so if I can do it, you totally can and it’s actually a feather in your cap worth bragging about at dinner parties.
Squash has always seemed like a lot of work to me. It’s hard to cut and I don’t love the flavour as much as my best friend who raves about squash soup, but it is October. That’s THE month for squash. Squashes and pumpkins are everywhere. We put them out on the porch to welcome people this time of season. Think about that. We welcome people with squash… so heck, we may as well eat them since being food is its primary function. Bake it if you got it!
Spaghetti Squash Dinner & Seasoned Squash Seeds Snack
1. Firstly, let’s preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and then grease a baking sheet. I grease a sheet with old butter wrappers.
“Butter! Oh isn't butter divinity?” - Young Amy Marsh in the film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’, (1994)
2. Halve your squash, remove the pulp and seeds and place it cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until you can stab it easily and remove the fleshy stringed parts.
Ghee, glorious Ghee
3. Heat some ghee in a pan. If you don’t have ghee, use a healthy oil like avocado or olive. Canola or other vegetable oils may not be as healthy as suggested and I love ghee for a tonne of reasons.
4. Cook and stir half an onion in ghee until tender. Add garlic; continue cooking and stirring until fragrant. About 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 4 medium sized tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
Your squash should be ready at or around this stage if you spent some time chopping your ingredients. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool so you can handle it later.
5. While it’s cooling, remove all the seeds from the pulp that you extracted while preparing the squash for baking. Be sure to find every last one because even if you don’t like seeds as a snack, I think you’re going to love them this way. It’s not at all like the seeds you can buy in the store and it’s enough to split two or three ways. Trust me, you’ll easily be able to eat them all by yourself.
It might be a bit tedious to remove the seeds from the pulp. They like to hide from you and stay attached. Now is a great time to drink a glass of wine and just enjoy the experience. Think about how amazing it is that you’re the type of person who does this sort of thing. You’re so resourceful!
Why use Ghee?
Ghee is clarified butter and while it’s suffered a bad reputation in the past for being a saturated fat, it’s since been proven to be rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes. Grass-fed ghee is also high in vitamin K so it’s great for pregnant women who want to have healthy beautiful babies. As if that’s not enough, it may also help you lose weight according to preliminary studies and it can help heal your digestive tract by reducing inflammation and aiding in the repair of your mucosal wall. Ewwwww... but cool right?
6. Place the seeds in a small bowl and either dispose of the pulp or add it to a banana bread mixture if you’re making a dessert this week. It’s going to add a hint of lovely fall flavour and keep your bread moist.
7. Rinse your seeds and then put them on a paper towel or dish towel to dry. Push as much liquid out as you can but don’t worry too much. Most of the moisture will bake off. Put your seeds back in a dry small bowl and add some healthy oil like avocado or olive (ghee isn’t great for this as you want something viscous to coat all the seeds evenly). If you like a coconut flavour, use virgin coconut oil here.
You can make these sweet or salty by adding sugar or spice and whatever you think is nice. What I used was chili flakes, chipotle chili seasoning and himalayan salt. Mix with a spoon or your hands until all the seeds are coated. Just taste with a dab of the finger until it’s the way you like.
Why Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan salt is pink because it often contains trace amounts of iron oxide. It also contains slightly lower amounts of sodium than regular salt. Regular table salt may causes rapid rise in blood pressure and can worsen gout, diabetes and obesity.
8. If you time it right, your seeds are going to go in right as your squash comes out. Not only are you resourceful, you’re being super energy efficient too. Take your squash out of the oven, turn the oven down to 275 F and put your seeds in for 15 minutes or until they start to pop.
Use a large metal spoon to scoop the stringy flesh from the squash. Place in a medium bowl.
9. If you’re ready to eat it now, toss with the vegetables, shave some gouda or your favourite cheese and sprinkle with chopped green onion (as pictured below). Serve warm. If you’re not ready to eat it immediately, just cover it until dinner, reheat and then toss as stated above.
A healthy snack you can be proud of
Save your seeds for a bedtime snack. Eat with the shell on for more flavour and fibre. There’s 5.2 grams of plant based-protein in each 1-ounce serving and they are a source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium and iron. Why would you ever throw them out again?