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Spaghetti squash with pesto is a healthy meal for the New Year

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If you’re like many people this time of year, you’re working on making changes in your habit to promote a healthier lifestyle. This recipe for spaghetti squash with pesto is perfect for this time of year. While it isn't quite the same as eating a big plate of pasta (a favorite winter comfort food), it's close enough that you won't feel like you're sacrificing too much. This dish is lighter and full of nutrients and beneficial fats, so you'll feel good about what you're eating.

Spaghetti squash gets its name because after it is cooked, the flesh is pulled out in strand-like pieces that resemble spaghetti pasta. Fat-free and low in calories and carbs, the nutrient-rich vegetable is a great alternative to pasta and rice. Here, it’s served with pesto for an easy and flavorful meal. Rather than using basil and pine nuts like most traditional pesto, this recipe uses parsley and walnuts. These ingredients are easy to find in any grocery store and are typically much less expensive.

Roasted squash:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • Approximately 1Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut squash in half length-wise and remove seeds. Apply a thin coating of olive oil to flesh of squash and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place squash on a baking try lined with foil, flesh facing down.
  • Cook squash for approximately 45-50 minutes, until flesh is very tender and easily comes apart when poked with a fork.
  • Using a fork, remove squash flesh. It should easily come out the peel in strands that are similar to spaghetti.
  • Set squash strands in a serving dish to be mixed with the pesto.

Pesto:

  • 3/4 cup shelled, chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more as needed)

Directions:

  • Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a coarse puree forms.
  • Gradually add olive oil, pulsing as you go until you achieve the desired consistency.
  • Mix in with roasted spaghetti squash strands.
  • Garnish with additional grated cheese after plating.
  • Makes 4-6 servings.

Shopping tip: If you live in the Bensalem, Pennsylvania area, Giant on Street Road sells almonds in the bulk aisle. This can be a great way to save money since you’re able to buy exactly the amount you want for a recipe.

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