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Savory Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

This recipe uses a unique squash that contains soft textured strands that are similar to spaghetti, which gives it its pasta inspired name! Savor Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is helpful for head and neck cancer patients experiencing mouth irritation, difficulty chewing and/or swallowing, or digestive issues because squash is soft, tender and easy to digest. The flavorful filling may be welcome to those experiencing metallic or bland tastes during and after treatment. If chewing is especially difficult, simply omit the nuts, exchange the wild rice for the same amount of well-cooked white or brown rice, and cook the filling vegetables for a bit longer than stated to ensure that they are very moist and tender.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Squash

2 medium spaghetti squash (cut in half lengthwise;scoop out the seeds)

Rice

½ cup wild rice

½ cup brown rice

2 cups water

Dash of sea salt

Filling

1 tbsp olive oil

2 leeks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp sea salt

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup dried cranberries, fruit juice sweetened

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp maple syrup

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the squash halves flesh side down on the pan
  3. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender
  4. Cook the rice by placing the wild rice and the brown rice into a 2-quart pot
  5. Add the water and sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40-45 minutes
  6. Prepare the filling while the squash is roasting and rice is cooking
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  8. Add the leeks and sauté for 2-3 minutes
  9. Add the garlic, celery, thyme, and sea salt and sauté for another 5 minutes until fragrant
  10. Stir the pecans and cranberries into the leek mixture and cook for another 1-2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary
  11. Add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Stir until well mixed, and then remove pan from the heat 
  12. As soon as rice is cooked, toss it along with the fresh parsley and black pepper into the skillet and stir until evenly distributed into the leek mixture
  13. Remove the cooked squash from the oven, turn the squash halves over, and fluff each half with a fork
  14. Divide the filling evenly between the four halves -gently mixing the stuffing into the squash strands and piling it up high as needed
  15. Bake for 5-10 more minutes in the oven if needed to heat through
  16. Top with optional parmesan, shredded cheese, and/or extra seasonings to taste

TIP: As a time-saver, use pre-cooked frozen, parboiled, or microwaveable rice.

NUTRITIONAL DATA:

Per serving: 407 calories, 15 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 65 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams protein

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