Spaghetti Squash alla Checca – Easy, Light, Gluten Free

Wondering what, “alla Checca,” is? It is a fresh tomato sauce, made from uncooked tomatoes, garlic, herbs and spices. It is both sweet and picante, from the tomatoes, vinegar, onions, and basil. I like to think of it as the Italian answer to Pico de Gallo.

Typically served with warm pasta, I decided to make this summer time dish, even lighter with the substitution of spaghetti squash for noodles. Feel free to use gluten free or regular pasta with this. A tri color rotelli would be delightful!

Get a super immune boost from the raw garlic, while savoring the sweetness of ripe, in season tomatoes. I used tri-color heirloom, cherry tomatoes, but any sweet variety will do!

Ingredients: 

1 medium – large spaghetti squash

2 cups, medium diced, sweet tomatoes

1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced on the bias (adjust to taste and kissability!)

1/4 cup small diced, Walla Walla or sweet variety of onion (reduce if only strong onion is available)

2 TB fresh basil, chiffonade

1 TB aged balsamic vinegar

2 teas. extra virgin olive oil

1 teas. dried oregano

1/2 teas. dried red chili flakes

1 TB nutritional yeast

salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the spaghetti squash, lengthwise. Do not peel. Scoop out the seeds. Compost/discard. Make a few slits along the peel side of the squash. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roast the squash for 30 minutes, flesh side down. Flip, peel side down, and roast for 15-30 more minutes, till very tender, and slightly caramelized.

In a bowl, toss all the remaining ingredients together. Allow the flavors to marry for about 20 minutes. When the squash is done, while holding the hot squash with oven mitts, scoop out the middles, removing from peel, and discarding. Alternatively, you can just peel the squash away from the peel, leaving the shell intake, using the shell to serve in.

Toss the spaghetti squash with the checca sauce, and allow to marinade for at least 5 minutes before serving. Place on a serving dish, or use the shell to present it.  Serve as is, or topped with beans, other veggies, like broccoli or kale, or other protein of choice.