Hello happy, healthy autumn comfort food!!
Or at least my kind of healthy, which includes a reasonable amount of cheese. Obviously.
But hey, there are so many good for me things in here. To name a few: spaghetti squash, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, garlic, herbs, olive oil and a good amount of cheese… for you know, calcium and stuff.
Here’s the thing, I know that it seems as though everyone in the universe is nutso for pumpkin right now. And I’m not gonna lie, I am right there with the rest of em, but I hope to spread them out over time and throw in some other autumn eats too. As I was sitting at my desk the other day, I realized that I may have a slight obsession with pumpkin (plus butternut and acorn squash too), since I seem to want to make pumpkin everything, and that I might just want to change things up a little bit. Don’t freak or anything though, those recipes will still be coming, just not all at once
I have said it before and I will say it again, but I totally feel like spaghetti squash just does not get enough love. Not a clue why, since it is actually carb free pasta and so delicious too. Meaning it tastes nothing like cardboard and everything like you would want it to. If you have never had spaghetti squash, think warm buttery strands of winter squash perfection. Yes, buttery, but without the butter. See, I told you, pure amazingness.
When I was in my teens, I went through a spaghetti squash phase. It was weird, but for almost three months I ate nothing but spaghetti squash. I loved the stuff and it was safe to say I was completely addicted. I even made sure we had some on the Thanksgiving table that year.
Really though, it was insane. I think my mom was worried my skin was going to turn yellow from all the squash. Also, what young teenager (thinking I was 13 or 14) likes to eat bowls of spaghetti squash? I was a total freak.
Not sure when the phase ended, but when it did, it ended cold turkey. I must have worn myself out or something because I didn’t roast another one for probably three years. But last fall I revisited my spaghetti squash obsession (with a little more moderation this time) and now, just like all the other winter squashes, I continue to roast them throughout the year. Unfortunately, you guys only get to see my squash creations in the fall and early winter months when they are a little more appropriate.
Most days I just roast my spaghetti squash with a little olive oil, maybe a pat of butter + some salt and pepper. I like it super simple. But the other day, when I realized I needed to ditch the pumpkin for the day and swap in spaghetti squash, my dad mentioned that I hadn’t done Greek food in a while, and so this dish was born, and now you get to hear all about it.
I have never made real spanakopita before, but I have always loved the idea of the flavors. Just simple, healthy greek flavors. So I took that idea and instead of layering the spinach filling with buttery phyllo dough (which I know would be DELICIOUS and will need to try as soon as humanly possible), I went the healthier route and tossed it with my roasted squash. Then I went and added some roasted garlic, a little spice, a few sun-dried tomatoes and olives. These are ingredients I love and just can’t get enough of. Plus, I can never just seem to leave anything as is. Sometimes this is a problem, but in today’s case it’s just win, win for everyone.
Oh right, and the havarti cheese. Can’t forget that. It may not be “health food”, but it sure is good food.
Even though the total time for this recipe says a whole hour + ten minutes, these boats are easy. Most of the time involved is “inactive time”. Meaning time for you to do the dishes, laundry, clean house or um maybe just grab a beer, turn on the tv and relax. Thinking I like the last option the best… minus the beer cause I am not really a drinker. I really just like my alcohol in my food, and even more so in my chocolate. Actually, come to think of it, I’m not really a TV watcher either, but only because I never have the time, it sounds really nice though.
These are perfect to make for guests or even to serve as a Thanksgiving side. People tend to freak over them because their kind of cute. FYI cute food rules. You can prep them in advance, then bake them right before dinner. Just makin’ life easier.
Ok, but my favorite part about these spanakopita stuffed spaghetti squash bowls? Really I love the whole thing, but it’s that crunchy phyllo dough on top. OMG. You guys, it’s so good. You cannot skip it. I mean you can, but that would be boring. The phyllo dough is so good.
And the cheese. Gosh I love the cheese. Harvarti + feta together equals serious delish. You can add as little or as much as you’d like though. Totally your call.
Little tip – this dish is beyond KILLER with a fried egg. I added this after photos and wow, so good.
Healthy Spanakopita Stuffed Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash + Havarti Bowls
- 2 medium or 4 small spaghetti squash halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 cloves head [roasted garlic | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/roasted-garlic-spaghetti-squash-lasagna-boats/] finely mashed* or 2 minced garlic
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 12 ounces frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened, may use 2 oz cream cheese + 2 oz greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled + more for serving
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to your taste
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives pitted + halved
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes or sun-dried tomato paste
- 4-6 ounces havarti cheese shredded
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- 8-12 sheet phyllo dough thawed
- 2 teaspoons melted butter or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the squash lengthwise and rub a drizzle of oil all over the cut side of both squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes (I like to roast the garlic + squash at the same time), or until the squash is just tender enough to scrape into strands. You want it to be barely tender, it will continue cooking later. Remove from the oven and scrape the squash into strands. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
While the squash is roasting, add the eggs to a medium size mixing bowl and give them a whisk. Stir in the thawed + squeezed dried spinach, about half the mashed roasted garlic (reserve the remaining garlic for another use...or use it all if you like a lot of garlic), the softened cream cheese, feta cheese, parsley, dill and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt + pepper. Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, stir the strands into the egg mixture. Stir in the olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
Scoop the squash mixture back into their skins. Divide the havarti cheese among the squash boats.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is just beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, lay the phyllo sheets flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife cut the sheets into thin strips. Place the strips in a bowl and either toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil or very lightly spray with cooking spray. Once the squash is done cooking and the cheese is melted, remove from the oven and divide the phyllo dough over top each squash bowl. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Serve warm with extra feta cheese... and maybe a fried egg too!
It’s like a gigantic bowl of greek style pasta… but done healthier.