A combination of five-spice powder, brown sugar and orange zest gives a sweet but subtle flavor to this healthy baked salmon and spaghetti squash dinner.
Happy October, friends. Whoa, did I really just say that? Let the good eating commence!
October is THE month for comfort food. It’s when we’ve finally pulled up the last of summer’s tomato plants, put away the picnic baskets and are thoroughly wooed by photos and recipes of thick and sultry stews and soups, decadent mac ‘n cheese with fried chicken, and too-good-to-pass-up pies, cookies, and brownies.
Now is the season we turn a blind eye when beckoned to give in to comfort food’s temptation, even when we KNOW we need to fit into our skinny jeans later.
But I’m here to declare that comfort food doesn’t have to be rich, heavy or calorie-laden. This salmon, served with in-season-now spaghetti squash, is totally figure-friendly, flavorful and so good at satisfying your seasonal cravings you’ll be categorizing it as comfort food-lite.
About the Recipe
I discovered this salmon with spaghetti squash recipe online waaaay back in the day when I downloaded it from Cooking Light. My print out of this recipe is dated 08/20/2000 but the recipe was actually published in October 1998.
What? An actual print out from a computer? Yes, I have held onto a piece of paper for that long, and that just proves this recipe is a keeper.
In my humble opinion, spaghetti squash is an undervalued sibling in the winter squash family, always overshadowed by it’s popular big sisters zucchini and butternut. But with a mild taste that pairs well with plenty of mains, spaghetti squash deserves its day in the fading light of fall sun.
Spaghetti squash does indeed resemble its name sake, the spaghetti noodle. Not that it tastes like spaghetti, but when cooked the texture resembles strands of spaghetti, which is one reason its a popular alternative to wheat noodles or when eaten with sauces. Roasting the spaghetti squash in the oven tenderizes the strands, and makes the squash even sweeter.
The sweeter taste of this squash definitely plays to the advantage of this recipe. Both the squash and the salmon are accented with a mix of brown sugar, orange zest and Chinese five-spice powder—a combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and pepper. A slather of Dijon mustard keeps the salmon moist as well as playing flavor foil to the honeyed taste created by the citrus brown sugar blend that caramelizes under the heat of the oven.
When choosing a salmon, always choose a sustainable salmon (I was given this salmon to recently try and it was delicious.) What exactly does sustainable seafood mean? Sustainable seafood is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of both the species and the life of our oceans. It’s healthier for the eater and the sea’s creatures. Learn more about seafood sustainability here.
So now, you’ll enjoy even more comfort with your food knowing you’re eating right.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Orange-Spiced Salmon with Spaghetti Squash
- 1 3- pound spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 orange zested
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 6- ounce salmon fillets skinned
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Cilantro leaves for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 9 X 13-inch baking sheet with a high lip with aluminum foil. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and spoon out the seeds. Place the baking sheet in the hot oven, pour in 1 cup of water and place the spaghetti squash on the sheet face down. Bake for 45 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork, adding ¼ cup more water at a time as it evaporates. Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool enough to handle. Use a fork to remove the squash from the shell, separating the strands as you go, and transfer to a medium bowl, discarding the shell.
- In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the brown sugar, orange zest, five-spice powder, kosher salt and black pepper with your fingers until well mixed. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture over the squash; toss until mixed. Spoon into a 9 X 12 casserole or baking dish.
- Place the skinned salmon filets over the spaghetti squash and slather each filet with Dijon mustard. Sprinkle the filets with the remaining brown sugar mix. Bake for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
As we have for the past few seasons, Becky of The Vintage Mixer has posted her list of what’s in season to eat now and from that list, has amassed a group of us who are posting #eatseasonal recipes today. Some are some are sweet, some are savory and they’re all in season now. They’re all good and they’re all seasonal and are listed below.
Please hop over to their sites, say hi and enjoy their seasonal inspiration.
We’d love to see what you’re eating seasonal now, too. Share your eats and follow the #eatseasonal hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to discover more seasonal eats.
Roasted Chicken with Figs and Butternut Squash from The Vintage Mixer
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup from JoyFoodSunshine
Spiced Zucchini Pear Cake with Brown Butter Glaze from Completely Delicious
Turkey Pumpkin Pot Pie by Kitchen Confidante
Roasted Red Cabbage Wedges with Za’atar by Floating Kitchen
Pork Chops with Roasted Pears, Sage and Shallots By Simple Bites
Marinated Zucchini with Red Peppers and Garlic Project Domestication
Lentil Chile Rellenos with Creamy Walnut Sauce Letty’s Kitchen
Chorizo, Black Bean, and Kabocha Squash Chili by Flavor the Moments
Autumn Cauliflower Rice Bowl from Cafe Johnsonia
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