How to fulfill your Chipotle craving without the calories

How to fulfill your Chipotle craving without the calories

So it’s Sunday morning…which probably means you were out on the town last night and maybe, just maybe had one too many vodka sodas. Logistically speaking, after Step 1 of waking up and chugging water, you’d move onto Step 2, which entails either mustering up the energy to go to Chipotle or finding some brave soul to deliver it to your shell of a human self. Now on any other day, I’d go with Option 2, but after these last few days of 70 degree weather I’m reminded that bikini season is right around the corner i.e. the last thing I need is a 1,200 calorie bowl full of rice and sour cream. (calculate your Chipotle calorie intake here)

SO I decided to find another way to scratch this Chipotle itch. A burrito bowl impersonator if you will and it starts with spaghetti squash.

If you’ve never made spaghetti squash before, then I feel like I owe this to you. Full Disclosure: the only true things spaghetti squash and spaghetti pasta actually have in common are their long strand like noodles. Other than that, the two taste nothing alike. The plus side to spaghetti squash is that making it is just about as mesmerizing as a kaleidoscope. Oh and that fact that the whole thing is only about 200 calories.

Now I’ve made spaghetti squash before, but I usually take the more traditional Italian route, queue the marinara sauce and meatballs or the oh-so-simple mix of garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. As a defensive Chipotle lover, I didn’t think the words “spaghetti squash” and “Chipotle” should ever be used in the same sentence… until I discovered this recipe.  I know, I know, you’re skeptical, but you can thank me later.

First things first. Tons of recipes online lead you to believe you need to put your spaghetti squash in the oven for 50+ minutes. For me, this is already a deterrent. Who wants to wait 50+ minutes just for the spaghetti squash? Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially when you’re hung over and starving. So in this recipe, I’m going to teach you a spaghetti squash life hack: Readers meet the microwave. As your spaghetti squash life coach, I promise you putting your spaghetti squash in the microwave for 12 minutes tastes NO different than if you were to roast it in the oven for 50 minutes. But if you don’t trust me, try it. We can talk again in 50 minutes. Don’t expect me to get many words in though because I’ll be too busy enjoying my burrito bowl. If you do choose to stick with me, this recipe shouldn’t take you any longer than 25 minutes, tops.

So let’s get started. Simply take your spaghetti squash, cut it in half, and remove the seeds (a lot of blogs don’t specify here, but you’re removing the seeds and all the gunky stuff around it, kind of like a pumpkin). Then place it cut side down (into a microwave safe dish) with about 1/2 to one inch of water. Microwave on high for about 12 minutes or until the flesh scrapes easily into spaghetti-like strands with a fork.  I usually use a 9 x 13 Pyrex for this, if your spaghetti squash is too big to fit both halves at once, it won’t make a difference if you need to do them in 2 different 12 minute segments.

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of corn kernels, (you can also use frozen – just defrost first!)
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar of salsa (I used about half the jar – add to taste)
  • 1 large bell pepper (orange or red) cored and sliced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (more for garnish)
  • 1 jalapeno, cored and sliced or 1 can green chiles (optional)
  • Green onions, sliced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tea spoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar/Mexican cheese (extra for topping)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Microwave your halved spaghetti squash in a microwave safe dish with ½ to 1 inch of water for 12 minutes or until the inside scrapes into noodle like strands.
  2. While your spaghetti squash cooks, throw the olive oil, pepper, onion, and jalapeno into a frying pan with the salt/pepper, cumin, and garlic powder on medium heat. Cook until your desired level of crunch.
  3. Turn the heat to simmer and add in the corn and beans. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients already in the frying pan.
  4. Your spaghetti squash is likely done by this point. After it’s cooled for a few minutes, try scraping the insides to make your noodles. Note: Do not throw away the spaghetti squash shells, you will use them again at serving time!
  5. Add the spaghetti squash noodles to the frying pan with other ingredients or if your pans not big enough, transfer all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix together and add salsa, cilantro, and cheese.
  6. Transfer filling back to spaghetti squash shells and top with desired toppings (green onion, cilantro, cheese, hot sauce, lime juice) and Voila!

For a cheesier finish, turn oven to Broil and top your spaghetti squash boats with cheese. Roast until cheese is melted and enjoy!

Note: This recipe eats well hot or cold. If you’re cooking for one or two, throw the leftovers in a Tupperware and enjoy throughout the week.

Other Chipotle life hacks:

  • Instead of sour cream, use Plain Greek Yogurt. Add some hot sauce and lime juice for a more Mexican style taste
  • Make your own guacamole using half the avocados and substituting with Greek yogurt – add red onion, tomato, and cilantro for extra flavor.
  • Lose the tortilla, this meal is good enough without the gluten.

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