Spaghetti Squash Salad with Gochujang

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0314_blackbeans   0314_spaghettisquash

What does a baby spaghetti squash look like on the inside? Is it lots of tiny strands, or a few grown-size strands, or something totally different? Pieces that are a different shape of pasta, ie, farfalle squash? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Well, that and my bad habit of online shopping right before bed. Nothing gets me riled up like existential squash questions and end-of-season deals.

Speaking of the end of the season, it appears that spring has sprung here in the Bay Area! I mean, it doesn’t get all that cold or wet in the winter anyways, but for real, it’s been appropriate to ditch the steaming hot drinks for iced coffee. I’ve got a few more fall and winter recipes that I’m going to try and churn out while we are still in transition, and here’s one now. You’ll need a full-blown adult spaghetti squash, but that’s probably for the best, because 1) you’ll get more food, and 2) the baby ones are probably too cute to use.

Inspired by Sprouted Kitchen’s charming “Mexi Squash,” and of course the Moroccan version from Smitten Kitchen, I’m pairing this mildly flavored squash with smokey, lightly hot gochujang, the Korean red pepper paste. It’s the red sauce you get with bibimbap and in other Korean goodies, and I love the lightly fermented kick it adds to food these days.

Spaghetti Squash Salad with Gochujang

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper or 2 mini bell peppers
1 14-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of gochujang (or more or less depending on taste)
small handful of cilantro or parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Pierce the squash all over with a small knife. Yep, basically stab the squash. Microwave on high for 7 minutes. Carefully (it will be hot and steamy) turn the squash over, and microwave for another 8 minutes. If it’s not soft after that, continue to microwave in 2-minute increments until it is.

Let the squash cool until you can handle it.

While the squash is cooling, you can prepare the rest of the meal. Dice your onion, mince the garlic, and slice the peppers. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the vegetables until the onions and peppers are done, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Add the black beans and cook on low until they are warm.

Finely chop the cilantro or parsley.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scoop out the flesh, which will automatically be in delightful spaghetti strands, into a large bowl. While the squash is warm, scoop in about half the gochujang and mix to coat. Taste and add more as needed.

Add the onions, peppers, and beans, and mix lightly. Taste and season again with salt and pepper as needed. Finish with your cilantro or parsley and serve warm.