Spaghetti Squash with Moong Dal Marinara Sauce

I purchased a spaghetti squash at last week’s farmers market. Coincidentally, my daughter called from college about the week’s produce from the CSA share she purchased with her housemates. How wonderful that a farm near her college offers a discounted CSA for students that only get to enjoy part of the season! She asked how I make “the spaghetti squash with the marinara with lentils to make it healthier” inspiring me to make that dish for my husband and myself.
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1 cup moong dal (or any small lentil)
water

1 spaghetti squash
extra virgin olive oil

1/2-1 onion; minced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 cups fresh tomatoes; chopped OR 3-4 cups boxed/canned crushed tomatoes
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried basil (I used my own from the garden)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
3 cloves garlic; crushed

optional topping- grated pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese
optional sides- salad, bread

Start by soaking 1 cup of moong dal in 4 cups of water during the work/school day. Any lentil will do but pictured here is the dish made with moong dal (I purchased the Deep brand from a local Asian market). Moon dal is high in protein making it great for vegans/vegetarians; 24 g per serving.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Meanwhile, wash the spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet.

Drain and rinse the moong dal/lentils and allow to drain in a sieve. Place soaked and rinsed moong dal (or lentil) into a medium sized pot and add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 20-30 minutes depending on the dal/lentil.

Place the prepared squash into the preheated oven and bake until tender when pushed with the back of a wooden spoon, about 30 minutes.

Preheat a wide bottomed stock pot over medium heat and chop the onions. Add olive oil and onions and saute under cover until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile chop the tomatoes then add to the sauted onions, put the cover on, bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break up then remove the cover and allow to reduce (cooking so the steam reduces the amount of water from the fresh tomatoes) for about 30 minutes (if using boxed/canned tomatoes skip the reduction step).

Drain the cooked moong dal (or lentil) well in a sieve and set aside.

Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and garlic to the tomatoes and stir. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

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When the spaghetti squash has cooled enough to handle (I usually use an oven mitt that is easy to launder) hold it in a bowl and using a fork scrape out the baked squash flesh- it will come out in “spaghetti” strips. Set the bowl of spaghetti squash aside.

Add the drained moong dal (or lentil) to the marinara sauce, stir and bring to a simmer again then remove from the heat and serve over the spaghetti squash.

We ate ours topped with grated pecorino Romano cheese and had a salad on the side. If it wasn’t a school night I would have loved a glass of red wine…

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