After more than 35 years as a TV producer/director in Washington, D.C., life has relocated me to my hometown outside Philadelphia, PA. I was once a NotMom by choice, but when I married, I became a NotMom by chance. A familiar tale. Now, I’m divorced and enjoying a good relationship with my adult stepdaughter. Through it all, I’ve been passionate about cooking good food and baking delicious desserts.
I was never a big vegetable eater, but when I moved into adulthood I made a conscious decision to get better about it. In my kiddie days, I was 100% carnivore. Give me chicken, beef, pork, lamb…but absolutely nothing green. And, nothing that smelled funny. Or looked funny. And to my kid-vision there were plenty of those food group options at any given time.
My first encounter with spaghetti was filled with skepticism. It’s one of those really clear childhood memories. There was one of those family dinner days at my oldest brother’s school, and my mother was trying to cajole her picky-eater daughter to just try a bite of this long squiggly stuff dipped in red sauce.
When she suggested that it tasted like pizza, I finally relented, and it was giddy kiddie love at first bite. Pasta love is still strong.
And for years, the only cheese I would eat other than the delicious melty mozzarella that topped the pizzas from LaRoma’s pizzeria was provolone. That love came compliments of my other brother, who pulled me a little yummy taste of Italian-seasoned cheese from his own hoagie…another one of those moments I remember clearly.
I wanted another piece. And another piece. Of course, he wasn’t willing to strip out all the cheese for me, but he might have been willing to share piece of his sub had I been willing to bite into something that included layers of tomatoes and lettuce. I was not.
One of the first things I learned at the beginning of my “eat more vegetables” journey was that a sub sandwich was, indeed, a great place to hide vegetables. Hey…lettuce and onion and peppers and pickles count! And I could slide in some sliced cucumbers or some cabbage slaw. I also learned that some vegetables could actually be disguised! They could lose their plant-based identities in something else. One of the best? Spaghetti squash!
Years into the journey, I’m much better about eating vegetables. I’m a big fan of steamed broccoli, sautéed kale, collard greens, cabbage, salad and…Brussels sprouts! My mother passed away many years ago, but sometimes when I am completely enjoying something vegetable, my mind hears an echo of her voice saying, “I couldn’t even get you to eat peas!” Well, Mom, you still couldn’t. I still hate peas.
But, I thank her for my introduction to spaghetti because it opened the door for me to try spaghetti squash. What a wonderful thing…a vegetable that can be disguised as pasta! For the most part, I do give it the traditional pasta treatment…toss it with a tomato-based sauce and top with cheese. This recipe from serves it up as a pizza. I confess, though, as I’m still more carnivore than vegetarian, I’d still prefer to top my pizza with pepperoni.
Spaghetti Squash and Portobello Mushroom Pizza – Serves 2
• 2 large portobello mushroom caps
• 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
• 1/2 cup marinara sauce (a jar of pizza sauce would work, or even salsa)
• 1 oz. fancy shredded cheese
• Pinch of dried basil
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Wipe the mushroom caps clean and remove the stems.
4. Place the caps upside the cookie sheet.
5. Top each cap with the cut squash, half the sauce and half the cheese.
6. Sprinkle with a little basil and cook for about 10 minutes until cheese melts and mushrooms soften.
This recipe was originally published at GreenLiteBites.com.
Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I will only endorse products or services reviewed through my own experience. Featured recipes tagged ‘adapted from’ have been modified and tested by me. Any recipe that I have not personally tested will be noted.