Hubbard, Kabocha, Delicata—these are all types of squash that most Americans have never even heard of. But what about the grocery staples like Butternut, Acorn and Spaghetti? Research shows that these low-calorie winter vegetables offer lots of benefits and may help with cancer prevention.
Winter squash are good sources of vitamins A, C and dietary fiber. They are also rich in carotenoids that act as antioxidants in the body and may help improve immune function. There is probable evidence that diets high in carotenoids may lower you risk for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and lung.
This recipe features spaghetti squash, named for the thin, noodle-like strands that are created from scraping its cooked flesh. A little bland on its own, this winter vegetable goes great with the fresh tomatoes and garlic featured in this recipe. Tomatoes add a boost of cancer-protection with the antioxidant lycopene and provide vitamins A, C and potassium. Garlic belongs to the allium family of vegetables and research has linked its consumption with a decreased risk for colorectal cancer.
Also, Watch AICR's how-to video, below to see how to make this along with Acorn Squash with Couscous Stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pierce the squash in half-a-dozen places with a thin knife. Bake the squash on a piece of foil in the oven until it yields slightly when firmly pressed, 50 to 60 minutes. You can also cook spaghetti squash in a microwave for 20-40 minutes, depending on size.
Meanwhile, peel the tomatoes using a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler with serrated blade. Halve, seed and dice the tomatoes. Reserve.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about four minutes. Mix in the garlic and cook another two minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, basil and oregano. Cook, stirring until the tomatoes are tender and floating in juices (but still hold their shape), about five minutes. Season to taste with black pepper.
Halve the baked squash horizontally. Scrape out and discard the seeds. Using a fork, scrape out the squash in strands. Divide four cups of the squash among four deep pasta bowls. Spoon one-fourth of the sauce over the squash in each bowl. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 140 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate,
4 g protein,6 g dietary fiber, 347 mg sodium.