Spaghetti Squash with Turmeric

Keeping the digestive tract functioning optimally is an important goal in Ayurveda for maintaining vitality, and many aspects of our daily habits create the foundation for this. Adding turmeric to your favorite dishes is a great practice as research is showing that turmeric (haridra) has many health benefits including improving digestion, fighting infection, improving blood sugar in diabetes, and preserving cognitive function.

Ingredients

  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 1/4 pounds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs: good options include basil, chives, chervil, parsley, dill, marjoram and sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the baking dish and cover.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife. Turn the squash over and cover again and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, until the squash is very tender.
  4. Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Using a fork, gently pull the strands of squash away.
  6. Heat a cast iron pan and add olive oil, turmeric and garlic. Sautee for several minutes and add spaghetti squash.
  7. Remove from heat and add herbs, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Mix gently to combine all the ingredients.
  8. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Notes: Spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is one of my favorite “gluten-free” pasta substitutes. The long fibrous, tendrils separate from the squash skin when cooked to give the appearance and texture of spaghetti and it pairs well with fresh herbs and olive oil. The yellow squashes are considered to be Sattvic foods and thus support yoga meditation practices.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a good addition to any dish and adds color and bitter flavor, which is not a prominent flavor in the American diet. One cup of cooked squash is rich in vitamins and minerals and has only 42 calories. Pine nuts are a good source of vitamin E, protein and trace minerals, and complement the fresh herbs and oil to give a non-pureed vegan pesto.

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