Spaghetti squash is one of the fun vegetables. It looks like nothing you’d expect to find lying in wait under a hard skinned, elongated, gourd-like… thing! It tastes like squash, but looks something like strands of spaghetti. Every time I open one up I’m amazed all over again that it contains shreds of.. vegetable! And it’s so versatile I still have dozens of ways I want to try to make it into a dish.
I don’t remember if using spaghetti squash in chow mein was my idea and I went searching for a recipe, or I found the recipe and decided to make it my idea. I do know it’s now on my list of Eat More Often. This was not only fun, it was delicious! Chow mein is usually made with a handful of strange ingredients that work in a good way when garnished with soy sauce. This recipe is sort of like that. It worked.
I started by asking my P.S. (Preparer of Squash/ hubby) to cut the squash in half that he’d brought home. Then place the halves cut side down on a foil covered baking sheet and roast them at 400°F (no oil necessary). I would time them and remove them from the oven when they were done. I test that by simply sticking a fork in it. If it goes in easily, it’s done.
I let the squash cool, then scraped and discarded the center icky mass of seeds from each half of the squash. “Icky mass of seeds” is what I named it, you’re free to use something with more class. My P.S. thinks we should scrape the center stuff out BEFORE roasting. Why? They’re soft and easy to remove afterwards. Don’t strain your arm trying before roasting. My P.S.’s Home Ec teacher back in 1970 was wrong. I remove the icky mass of seeds after roasting.
After storing the spaghetti squash in a container overnight, I made my new chow mein recipe the next evening. I had the bulk of the recipe done this way and the rest was just throwing the ingredients into the skillet. I made the sauce with soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and pepper (I didn’t have white pepper so I used black pepper). I whisked the sauce and set it aside.
When the mixture was heated through and the cabbage was mostly wilted, I taste tested for seasoning and added a little more soy sauce and salt. Add just a little at a time, to prevent being overly salty.
My chow mein was ready to serve! We really enjoyed the flavors and I was happy with the ease with which it came together so fast. Preparing the spaghetti squash ahead of time was the smart way to handle the process. And I had plenty of squash leftover for another recipe or two. The original recipe didn’t contain a protein, it was more of a vegetarian dish, more of a side dish. I added the chicken to make it a full meal and that was a wise idea. If I do say so myself!
We loved the flavors that evening as well as reheated for another meal a few days later. I should note that I added chopped green onions as a garnish for photo purposes, to make the chow mein prettier. Although the green onions did lend a nice touch to the flavors as well, you could add or omit as desired.
Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein
Chow mein with a fun twist, using spaghetti squash and cole slaw mix.
- 3 cups spaghetti squash; roasted (I used about half of a large squash)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic; minced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ginger; grated
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I used black pepper)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion; diced
- 3 stalks celery; sliced
- 2 cups chicken breast; cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 cups cole slaw mix (about one bag shredded cabbage and carrots)
- additional soy sauce and/or salt as desired
- chopped green onion for garnish (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Add chicken and cook for several more minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink.
Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in spaghetti squash and sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Adapted from Little Bits of Real Food and Real Talk