Spaghetti squash gets used as vermicelli rice noodles in this easy dish made with chili bean paste and a bit of ground pork.
Despite its name, I’ve never found spaghetti squash to be a particularly good substitute for actual spaghetti. It doesn’t have the body to stand up to tomato sauce or a ragu, carbonara sauce slips off, and any preparation of tossing the noodles with some quickly cooked vegetable turns the whole thing into a stirfry rather than a pasta-like dish. What it does work as a good substitute for is rice vermicelli noodles—the texture and size is fairly similar. Plus, the gentle vegetal flavor and often slightly crunchy texture of the squash can handle a lot of additional flavors. Here, the spaghetti squash “noodles” get tossed with a chili-bean paste (look for toban djan) and a bit of ground pork.
- 5 cups spaghetti squash
- 1- inch ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 3 green onions
- 1 tablespoon canola vegetable, or peanut oil
- 1-2 tablespoons chile-bean paste
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- Toasted sesame oil to taste
- Cilantro for garnish if you like
- You’ll need some cooked spaghetti squash for this recipe: how to cook spaghetti squash.
- Peel and finely grate the ginger. In a medium bowl, combine it with the rice wine and soy sauce; add the pork and toss to combine and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the pork marinates, trim and mince the green onions. Separate the spaghetti squash, making sure any clumps of the “noodles” are separated into strands.
- Heat a wok or large frying over high heat, once the pan is hot, add the oil, swirl to coat the pan and add the pork. Cook, stirring, until cooked through and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add about 2/3 of the green onions and stir to combine. Add the chile paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the squash “noodles” and stir to combine. Simmer to reduce the liquid a bit, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add more soy sauce to taste, if needed. Serve with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, the remaining green onion, and a few torn cilantro leaves, if you like.