Cooking for Compost: Dinner

spaghetti squash in baking dish

It’s just like making your own pasta, only without all the work or the carbs.

In the third edition of our Cooking for Compost series, we’re eating dinner (and capping off a full day of waste-free cooking if you used our breakfast and lunch recipes).

The final meal of the day often ends with lugging out the overflowing garbage, but it doesn’t have to! By composting your dinner scraps a veggie-centered meal becomes good for the environment and for you.

We know what you’re thinking: it’s hard enough to make your own dinner (without turning to the microwave or takeout meal) at the end of the day, and now we’re asking you to only eat veggies?

That’s not going to have anyone asking for seconds. But this recipe is a crowd-pleasing pasta, with a twist.

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash “Noodles” With Pesto

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to make your own pasta. But let’s be honest, it’s not the easiest thing to do, and who even knows what sort of equipment you’ll need to create your own noodles? The fancy tool you need to make “noodles” out of spaghetti squash: a fork.

After baking, spaghetti squash flesh can be shredded into thin spaghetti-like strands. Making the pasta is an easy, fun activity, a perfect way to get kids involved with cooking.

Once the pasta is made you can treat it like you would regular spaghetti, adding sauce, cheese, butter, oil or even meatballs. Spaghetti squash is a perfect method for disguising vegetables for any picky eaters you have at your dinner table.

Your Shopping List

  • One spaghetti squash
  • Basil (2 cups, packed)
  • Garlic (2 cloves, cut in half)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pine nuts (2 tablespoons)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
  • Salt and pepper

How To Make It

Spaghetti Squash Noodles:

  1. Set the oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp knife or a skewer pierce the squash all over so it will not burst while baking.
  2. Place squash on a baking pan and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Remove squash from oven. Once it has slightly cooled, cut in half length-wise.
  4. Scoop out seeds and fibrous strings from the center of the squash.
  5. Using a fork, gently scrape the center of the squash, shredding the pulp into strings or noodles.

Basil Pesto:
While the squash is in the oven you can start on your pesto. Here’s a simple recipe for Basil Pesto adapted from The Daily Green:

  1. Place two tablespoons of pine nuts in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly browned.
  2. Chop two cups of basil and two heads of garlic.
  3. Mix basil, garlic, pine nuts and 1/4 cup of olive oil in blender.
  4. Blend until liquefied.
  5. Add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, blend again.

Another Option:
Pine nuts, a staple of a classic pesto sauce, can be pricey. If you’re looking to cut the cost as well as the carbs with your spaghetti squash meal, here’s a Walnut Parsley Pesto for a less expensive sauce option

Sides & Drinks

Relax, Your Meal Is Trash-Free

After a delicious meal and a glass of organic red wine, the last thing you want to do is take out the trash, right? Lucky for you all of the leftover scraps in your spaghetti squash “noodle” dish are compostable, from the squash to the basil, even the cheese!

Composting can be done in a number of different ways. Industrial composting is used for items like biodegradable plastics. Traditional household composting is for food scraps. For the Cooking For Compost series, we’re talking about household compost.

If you have a yard, you can easily start your own compost. But if you call a small space home or simply don’t want to start your own compost, you can store your scraps before taking them to a local compost. Try a small compost pail with a carbon filter for the smell, or even throw your scraps in the freezer.

And it’s easier than you may think to compost in the city without time, space or a backyard!

Related articles

Cooking For Compost: Breakfast
Cooking For Compost: Lunch

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment