By Carole Lampel Mantel
There is an innate tendency to panic when Passover is approaching. What will we eat? I need to find recipes!
Nothing feeds a large crowd like a kugel. Kugels can be sweet or savory and are usually prepared with potatoes or noodles. And leftovers are delicious either hot or cold.
To reduce carbs in my diet, I have been substituting spaghetti squash for noodles and potatoes — and I have kept off 36 pounds for three years. I don’t miss the noodles or potatoes, either.
Spaghetti squash has a very mild, almost neutral flavor, though to my taste buds it is slightly sweet. It’s not nearly as strong in flavor as other winter squash, like acorn or butternut squash, and has fewer carbs.
Bonus: Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare and can last in the fridge for up to a week.
I prefer to roast a spaghetti squash in the oven rather than cooking it in the microwave because it gives it a nutty flavor and reduces some of the water. I keep the strands in an airtight container on standby in the fridge for my meal prep throughout the week. Because of its cooked texture, spaghetti squash is perfect to make kugel.
For a crowd-pleasing healthy kugel, try this savory one that I tested on my family last Passover. It was a huge hit, and now it often accompanies my Shabbat brisket or roasted chicken.
Salt is minimal to reduce inflammation and water retention. I also reduced the onions because of their high sugar content. (You’ve got to pay attention to the glycemic index too.) If you want more onion flavor, consider using scallions as they are lower in sugar.
Savory spaghetti squash kugel
(You can double/triple/quadruple the recipe to get as many servings as you need.)
1 spaghetti squash (yields about 4 cups)
¼ cup onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon garlic powder
4 egg whites
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the squash in half, remove seeds, place face up (skin side down) on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil and bake for 35-45 minutes, until softened.
(In microwave: Cook for 1 minute to soften. Cut in half and remove seeds. Place cut-side down in a dish with ½ inch of water. Microwave for 8 to 10 minutes.)
Cool and scrape spaghetti squash into strings.
Mix squash with egg whites, then add onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
Spray casserole dish lightly with cooking oil (mine is 11 inches by 7 inches)
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes until crispy. (You can even put the broiler on for a few minutes to help brown the top.)
Tip: Make in muffin tins for portion control and easy prep ‘n go.
Want to make it sweet? Swap out the onions, garlic and pepper for vanilla, stevia and add a protein like cottage or ricotta cheese. You can pretty much follow your favorite kugel recipe and just substitute the strands of spaghetti squash for the pasta.