Lemon & Basil Spaghetti Squash Salad

I harvested 52 pounds of spaghetti squash! That is, by far, the largest harvest of anything I’ve ever grown short of oranges.

spaghettisquash3

Many of them were immediately baked, shredded and frozen for future consumption because the thick rind had a bug hole in it. If the squash has a hole, cook it immediately or it will rot from the inside out. The squashes are stored in baskets in the pantry in the laundry room, by far the coolest and driest room in my house.  About a week after the first of the spaghetti squashes were put in the pantry, I noticed a dripping hole in one of them. I took it out and figured I would trim off the bad spot and bake the rest. When I started cutting into it I found the entire center was rotten. Lesson learned- only store hard-skinned squashes with no holes!

To cook spaghetti squash, simple cut in half, rub the cut sides with olive oil, and roast in a 400 oven until a butter knife slides through the thickest part. You can also put an inch of water in the bottom of a baking dish and bake the squashes cut side down, though this method of steaming makes the cooked squash quite watery. Many people suggest steaming spaghetti squash in the microwave, but this gave me uneven results, so now I only bake them. Baking several at a time saves energy!

spaghettisquash2

Lemon & Basil Spaghetti Squash Salad

This salad takes full advantage of the mildly sweet  flavor of steamed or baked spaghetti squash. My family loved this so much we ate it two days in a row! Don’t skimp on the ingredients. This is one of those dishes that expresses the ideal of “local and seasonal” since so many of the ingredients are available right now at the farmers market or in the garden.

3-4 pounds spaghetti squash, baked, seeded and shredded (about 4-5 packed cups of cooked squash shreds)
1/2 lb good ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
large bunch of basil, trimmed of stems and sliced thinly
3 lemons, rind peeled and juice squeezed
4 oz goat’s milk feta, crumbled
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss the warm spaghetti squash, tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, and lemon rind with a fork until evenly combined. Then toss the feta through. Add enough olive oil, starting with 1/4 cup, until the flavors are evenly balanced. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Before serving, toss thoroughly and adjust with salt and pepper.