Spaghetti squash is aptly named because its stringy flesh resembles strands of spaghetti. It takes no stretch of the imagination to use it in the place of pasta. My Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Spinach recipe is a perfect example. However, it can also be used in the place of rice, polenta or other grains. This Easy Spaghetti Squash with Pinto Beans and Arugula recipe is very similar to my Quick Rice and Beans. It also shares some ingredients with my Creamy Polenta with Zucchini. It’s amazing how you can create an entirely new dish by swapping a few ingredients.
Why Pinto Beans and Arugula?
I’m just going to be honest. I came up with this combo because I had some fresh arugula in the fridge and a can of pinto beans on the shelf. I was planning to use black beans, but alas I had opened my last can the day before to make a Black Bean Wrap for lunch. The lesson here is you can use any kind of bean or dark leafy green. Work with what you have.
In addition to its health benefits, I like the peppery taste of arugula. If you’re not a fan, replace it with the baby/chopped green of your choosing.
Regardless of the beans and greens used, this simple dish offers a lovely blend of Mexican cuisine inspired flavors.
Easy Spaghetti Squash in a Slow Cooker
Uncooked squash can be hard to cut. That’s why I prefer to cook it in a slow cooker. No need to risk life or limb cutting a hard squash. You cook it whole. You just need to plan ahead to allow the slow cooker time to do its job.
Easy Spaghetti Squash with Pinto Beans & Arugula
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 29 oz canned diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
- 15.5 oz canned pinto beans or black beans low sodium, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup onion chopped, I use frozen chopped onions to save time
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2.5 oz arugula or 3-4 handfuls of other dark leafy greens
- 3 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- diced avocado and sliced black olives to taste - optional
- Scrub spaghetti squash with a vegetable brush under warm water.
- Pierce the top side of the squash with a sharp knife several times and place in slow cooker.
- Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours or until squash feels slightly soft when squeezed with an oven mitt.
- Carefully remove squash from slow cooker and set aside to cool.
- While squash is cooling, add diced tomatoes, chopped onion, corn, chili powder, cumin and oregano to a 5-qt. sauté pan and cook uncovered on medium high heat for about 10 minutes – stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium, add pinto beans and arugula and continue to cook covered for about 5 minutes – stirring occasionally. Sauce is done when arugula wilts to desired level of tenderness.
- Cut off of the ends of the squash then slice the squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out and discard seeds with a spoon, then use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands of flesh into 5-6 pasta bowls.
- Top squash with sauce and add diced avocado and sliced black olives if desired.
Note: I do not include nutrition information with my recipes because I subscribe to the theories presented in the book Whole and believe we should focus on eating a variety of whole foods instead of counting calories or keeping track of individual nutrients.