This vegetarian dish is simple, colorful, delicious, and healthy. Butternut squash noodles are one of my favorites to make with my spiralizer. This meal is not only beautiful in presentation, but it is bursting with flavor and a whole lot of nutrition!
If you read my blog already, you know that I’m obsessed with my spiralizer. It has CHANGED MY LIFE. It really has. Not that I didn’t eat a (mostly) healthy diet before I “spiraled” into a new way of eating (sorry – had to), but having that nifty kitchen tool has really revolutionized my diet.
I love pasta, so please don’t read this and think, “ugh, here’s another person trying to convince me that vegetables shaped like spaghetti are a perfect substitute for my favorite carbs” — I am not here to talk you out of loving traditional pasta. However, I have really come to love making pasta dishes using veggie noodles, because they are delicious and healthy.
The butternut squash noodle is so wonderful. It holds a great texture when baked and really complements an array of sauce options (vegetarian, vegan, etc.).
Spinach Pesto and Butternut Squash Noodles
I always used to think that pesto was strictly basil, pine nut, and garlic, and in a traditional sense, this is correct. However, there are other varieties of pesto you can create. Pesto, is a generic term for anything that is made by pounding, so there are various other pestos, some traditional, some modern, but all delicious!
I chose to make my pesto out of frozen spinach, because Luke kept bringing up that we had a massive amount of it and it needed using! As per, my intuitive cooking light went on and out to the kitchen I went to start thawing out the frozen spinach with pesto on my mind.
Isn’t that beautiful? It really does taste as good as it looks. I love the combination of the spinach and the garlic. If you choose to use hemp oil, it really takes the place of adding pine nuts by giving off a nutty flavor and really enhancing the flavor of the entire dish.
If you haven’t spiralized a butternut squash before, here’s a helpful video from the spiralizing queen, Ali Maffucci over at Inspiralized. It really is as easy as it looks and so much fun to make!
Cooking should be fun, because it is fun! If you don’t own a spiralizer and you love your veggies, you really need to get one. Honestly, I’m not lying, again, when I say it has changed the way I cook and eat. It has also unleashed my “inner chef” as it has inspired me to experiment with more flavors, spices, and combinations.
- 2 cups of frozen or fresh spinach (thaw out for two hours and remove excess moisture if frozen).
- 2 T of grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup of your favorite healthy oil (I used hemp oil which is nutty and full-bodied)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or whole if you're using a food processor).
- 1 butternut squashed, spiralized (see instructional video in post).
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Once you have your spinach selection ready, place spinach, oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor or blender. (It's really best to "feed" the oil in as you process, but you can also put it in a bit at a time with a blender or mini food processor if needed!)
- Set aside until squash is spiralized and baked.
- Preheat your oven to 200 C (of approx 400 F)
- Cut the top end of your squash off and cut the long part of the butternut squash (before you get to the seeded/pulpy bit).
- Peel and cut in half widthwise.
- Spiralize both halves using your C blade.
- Coat your baking sheet with healthy oil (or cooking spray) and spread noodles over evenly and cook for 30-40 minutes (ovens vary so keep checking the texture)
- **If you like a crunchier veggie noodle I would not go past 30 minutes at this temperature.
- Once your noodles are done, divide out on a plate and top with pesto and garnish with a fresh basil or spinach leaf for presentation.
I know this will become an instant favorite for you and your family if you’re fans of traditional pesto on pasta. This is a nice alternative to not replace pasta in your life, but to expand your dietary horizons.