Spaghetti (Squash) with Quinoa Tomato Sauce


My daughter (and husband, for that matter) could live on pasta. I'd swear they're Italian somewhere in the family tree ... were it not for the fact they share dozens of Irish freckles as well as a very Scottish name.

(Though hubbie does speak a wee bit of Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Dutch ... all with an Australian accent and an Italian inflection. A bit suspect, right?)

But anyway. This is a recipe for diversity - for pasta without the pasta. The spaghetti squash makes it lighter, though no less filling. And the quinoa boulonaisse? I could eat it every. single. day. It's hearty and tasty and perfect for non-pastas and pastas alike. I bet it would taste amazing in baked potatoes, too. 

I used quinoa because I wanted something with more substance for the sauce. Quinoa is great because it's high in protein and because it's like a grain (but technically is not a grain - it's a seed). So if you're trying to cut back on gluten, or wheat, or grains in general, you might like to give it a try.

Spaghetti (Squash) with Quinoa Tomato Sauce
serves 4-6

The time
60 min squash baking + 10 min prep + 15 min quinoa/sauce cooking

The ingredients
1 football/rugby ball-sized spaghetti squash

The sauce
1/2 onion, minced
1 + 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 zucchini, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tin tomato puree (400 mL)
1/2 tin water (200 mL)
1 Tbs Heinz ketchup
1 + 1/2 cups cooked quinoa*

grated parmesan, to serve (optional)

*Use the directions on your quinoa box for cooking - and don't worry if you end up with extra. You can use it for all kinds of dishes. If you've bought bulk, just boil quinoa in water at the ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water, for about 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa have opened up and look like little eyeballs. Well, that's how I judge done-ness anyway.

**Buy organic when you can!

The process
1. Bake the whole, uncut spaghetti squash at 180C (360F) for ~ 1 hr (less if you have a smaller squash). It'll still be firm on the outside, but when you cut it open the inside should be soft. Use a fork to scrape out the strands and place them in a bowl for serving. 

2. In a medium saucepan on med-high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, zucchini, seasoning and salt, and continue sauteing for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree, water, and ketchup and stir to combine. Finally, add the cooked quinoa. Remove from heat, and adjust seasoning to taste.

3. To serve, separate portions of the squash into bowls or plates and top with ample amounts of quinoa sauce. If you like, serve with parmesan sprinkled over the top. Enjoy!

The cost
My squash wasn't organic, but the rest was - and cost me a total of $1.50 - $2 per portion.

I encourage you to give wheat pasta-alternatives a go ... because, after all, diversity is good! If you're not up for spaghetti squash (or can't find it), try brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, or polenta for a change.

And never feel guilty about channeling your inner Italian. They've got it right where food's concerned!
Amanda xx


  1. Just a note to say that I *usually* try to respond to more or less every comment ... but this time I'm heading off-internet for a few days. I'd still love to hear from you though, and I look forward to reading your notes when I get back :)

  2. You are reading my mind! I too could live on pasta.. though Irish and English on the family tree. I would love to cut back on wheat before summer to get back what used to be quite a flat stomach. Reasonably flat. Who am I kidding? I love food. The more carbs the better. That said, I love your use of substitution and shall be making this over the long weekend!

  3. I wish wish wish I could find spaghetti squash here. So yummy. But I'm going to make the quinoa sauce anyway. Thank you!

  4. You always bring such interesting food to the table! My husband could eat pasta almost every day of the week. I've never cooked with quinoa before so this is something to try. Thanks for adding all the cooking tips about it.

  5. I love the idea Amanda, I am going to try this straight away, and I have the best excuse for it since it is pumpkin/squash time in our allotment.

  6. The last time I used a spaghetti squash I was advised to microwave it. Let's just say that was a Very Bad Idea. (Yes, it exploded.)

    I love your use of quinoa. Excellent way to think outside the box.

  7. This looks like a killer vegetarian pasta sauce! I'd never thought to use quinoa in a tomato sauce--brilliant!

  8. I've never seen Spaghetti Squash before, but would love to try it. Where did you buy it from? (I live in Brissie too).

  9. My life just got easier! My whole menu for the next 2 weeks is from your recipes :) Thanks!


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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx