Who says meatless meals should only be served on Mondays? Recent news from the UN suggests that by consuming more plant-based protein foods and reducing meat intake a few days per week could have a significant impact on climate change. Our Spaghetti Squash with Cannellini Beans dish is a delicious and simple way to keep both the environment and your body healthy! Plus, the outer skin of the spaghetti squash can also serve as a compostable bowl, adding another way you can help reduce your carbon footprint. Filled with so many vitamins and minerals, this plant-based recipe is teeming with fiber and protein to keep you feeling full and satiated. The tender tangles of spaghetti are the perfect mild-flavored companion for the richly seasoned beans and vegetables in this meal; so easy to prepare and no gadgets required! No matter how you slice it, this is one flavorful and tasty meatless meal for even the most hardened meat lover.
For more information on Meatless Monday and recipe inspiration, visit their website.
Nutrient Booster: Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans fall under the legume category and are bursting with minerals and nutrients that are exceedingly good for your health. Legumes provide fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and a host of other nutritious properties. Legumes are also naturally very low in fat and, because they are plant foods, they are essentially free of cholesterol. High in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium, these legumes may improve blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of hypertension and heart disease. Diets rich in plant-based foods, like legumes, have also been shown to lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. We love using cannellini beans in our recipes as a plant-based protein replacement for meat. Add them to soups, stews and salads; these beans are friendly to both the environment and to our bodies. Legumes are a healthy way to omit the meat!
Including Canned Beans in a Healthy Diet
While beans and other legumes are already extremely nutrient dense, there is yet another way to make them even more healthy. By draining and rinsing your canned beans in a strainer before consumption, you will drastically reduce the sodium content, as most beans are canned with salt. Also be sure to check that your cans are BPA free. If desired, you can buy dried beans and soak them in water for later use.
Spaghetti Squash with Cannellini Beans
- 1 whole spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Prepare baking dish by filling with 1 inch of water.
- Prepare spaghetti squash by slicing lengthwise, in half, with a sharp knife, carefully holding still with clean dishcloth. Remove all seeds. Lay both halves, cut-side down, in prepared baking dish filled with 1 inch of water. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. When prodded, the flesh will separate easily into spaghetti-like strands. Remove from oven and let cool for approximately 10 minutes.
- While the spaghetti squash is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sautè onion, garlic, and pine nuts until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and spinach, continue to sautè for approximately 3 minutes until spinach is wilted. Then add beans and tomatoes. Remove from heat.
- To prepare the cooked spaghetti squash, use a fork to scrape the spaghetti-like strands from the inner flesh of the squash. Scoop the spaghetti strands from the squash into the bean mixture. Add parmesan cheese and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Serving size: 2 1/4 cup serving, Calories: 315, Fat: 15 grams, Saturated Fat: 2 grams, Carbohydrates 35 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Sodium: 365 milligrams, Fiber: 10 grams, Protein: 11 grams, Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
 Polak, R., Phillips, E. M., & Campbell, A. (2015). Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clinical Diabetes : A Publication of the American Diabetes Association, 33(4), 198–205. http://doi.org/10.2337/diaclin.33.4.198