Blogger challenge: California walnuts, squash course

See my previous post about the California walnuts blogger challenge.

Next up: Baked spaghetti squash with California walnut watercress pesto

Spaghetti squash has a high water content and is not as dense in vitamins and minerals as other winter squash, such as acorn or butternut, but does provide 3 percent of the Daily Value for calcium, 5 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 9 percent of the DV for Vitamin C and 8 percent of the DV for dietary fiber. Spaghetti squash supplies modest amounts of carotenoids, plant substances that the body turns into Vitamin A and that may help protect against some diseases. (Source: Livestrong, which got their information from the USDA).

Squash is abundant this time of year so it seems like a seasonal dish. I baked the squash the day before. It really would be better baked same day and served warm. 1 squash serves 2-4 people, depending on size. (Or in my case, 2-4 meals.) Double the squash if you’d like. The sauce easily makes enough for 4.

Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush cut sides of squash with oil, and sprinkle with sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Place squash, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheet on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. This will give you time to make the pesto.

California walnut & watercress pesto

Ingredients

1 small clove garlic , peeled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup California walnuts, toasted*
2 cups packed fresh watercress leaves (can also use arugula or spinach or any combination)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese & more for sprinkling on top.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions
In a food processor or blender,  add about 1/2 of the walnuts, watercress, basil, and olive oil. Blend until paste forms.

Stir in Parmesan and lemon juice.

*Toast nuts in toaster oven or oven at 400°F. Watch carefully because they burn easily.

Makes 1 cup

To put the dish together:

Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands. Place in a large bowl. Top with pesto. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and one tablespoon of cheese.

Leftover pesto should be transferred to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

…I have one more walnut recipe to try and 2 more cups of walnuts (1 in shells).

Update: A few days later I put the pesto on Japanese turnip and celeriac “noodles” that I made with my spiralizer along with kelp noodles.

Final recipe here.

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