Heirloom tomatoes are the best tomatoes. This is a statement of flavorful fact, not a topic for debate, so when we can get them, we stock up. Late summer is a great time to hit local farmers markets and ask the vendors if they have any heirloom tomato “seconds” (we got ours from Eight Acres Farm at North End City Market). While perfectly fine to eat, these are often the ugly ducklings of the tomato crop with random blemishes and soft spots that can easily be removed. Because of their imperfections, seconds are significantly cheaper than their prettier counterparts. They’re perfect for sauces and soups and nothing in the stores beats their flavor, plus using seconds prevents food waste. This all-seconds Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Heirloom Tomato Sauce is a win-win situation, people.
If you’re not down with cashews, substitute with 3/4 cup cauliflower puree (this is also a calorie saver, though you’ll lose the protein). Spaghetti squash is so good it’s stupid, but if for some reason you prefer zucchini noodles, you do you. We won’t judge you [the previous statement is false].Print
Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Heirloom Tomato Sauce
For the Squash:
- 2 small-medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
- Generous pinches of salt and ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 3 packed cups roughly chopped heirloom tomatoes
- 2 packed cups fresh spinach, stems trimmed, and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- 3 large fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
- 1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
- Place cashews in a large glass measuring cup and cover with boiling water. They will need to soak 30-45 minutes.
- Place oven rack one down from top position and set to high broil (if your oven has a broiler drawer, just set to high broil). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Place the tomatoes and garlic on the prepared pan, sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and broil 10-15 minutes until charred to your preference. Keep the garlic together in the center of the pan and watch closely, removing as soon as it begins to brown.
- While tomatoes are roasting, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds and stringy center with a spoon, and discard. Place the squash halves on the prepared pan, cut side up and divide oil between them (about 3/4 tsp each, right in the center). Mix garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and divide between the squash halves, into the oil. Use your hand to spread the seasoned oil over the inside and cut edge of each squash half, then flip cut side down. No need to do anything to the outside, the skin will eventually be discarded.
- When tomatoes are done roasting, remove pan from oven, set to 375 degrees F, move rack to center position, and place squash pan in oven. Roast 25-35 minutes, until outer edge of squash begins browning and the flesh is tender.
- While the squash is roasting, carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes (along with any liquid from the pan) to a food processor or blender. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon onion powder to the tomatoes and pulse to combine.
- Prep the basil and set aside. Prep the spinach and heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Coat with remaining 1/2 tsp oil, add spinach and season with pinches of salt and ground black pepper, then cover and remove from heat.
- By now, the squash should be done cooking. Remove from oven and flip cut side up. Allow to cool several minutes before using a fork to shred the flesh.
- While squash is cooling, drain the cashews and add to the tomatoes. Blend until smooth and let rest (taste and add salt and pepper if needed).
- Shred the squash, dividing between four plates, then top with wilted spinach. Blend the tomato sauce again right before using. Top each plate with sauce, to taste (you will likely have about a cup of sauce left over). Garnish with basil and serve immediately.
If you know you will have leftovers, store sauce and vegetables separately until ready to eat. Sauce can also be frozen in an airtight container, up to 3 months. Thaw, heat, and pulse again before using for best results.
Keywords: HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, CASHEWS, CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE, FIRE ROASTED TOMATOES, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN, SPAGHETTI SQUASH, PLANTBASED, PLANT-BASED, EAT LOCAL, GRAIN-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, PALEO, LOW-CARB
Eight Acre Produce is a small farm in Lena, IL specializing in organic produce. They offer a wide variety of seasonal Midwest produce, and you can find them throughout the market season at the Rockford City Market on Friday evenings and the North End City Market on Saturday mornings.