So often we use spaghetti squash, as its name implies, as a pasta substitute, pairing it with sauces that often overwhelm its gentle, herbaceous flavor. Here the squash is allowed to express itself, as it were; it holds its own with the other ingredients. After trying this dish, you may find yourself, as I did, preparing spaghetti squash with minimal ingredients, all the better to savor not only its texture, but it’s flavor. I like making this with white or light green beans, it makes for a harmonious platter, but go with what beans you have on hand. Black beans will add contrast. Most greens are good here, just the cooking times, as always, will vary. You could also keep the greens raw, if you like.

1 spaghetti squash
2 c beans, drained, if necessary
2 T fresh, chopped herb(s); or 2 t dried herb(s)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
2 T white wine or rice vinegar, or to taste
2 T vegetable oil, for sautéing
3/4 c chopped leeks, white and light green part only; or 1/2 c chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
6 c or so chopped greens
3/4 c or so feta cheese; or mild blue cheese; or crumbly goat cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Either pierce squash several times and put on a baking pan or cut squash in half, remove seeds, place cut side down on a baking pan, and add some water to the pan. Put in oven and bake until a knife is easily inserted into the squash. The whole squash will take longer than the halves to become tender. Remove from oven. Let cool some. For the whole squash, cut in half, and remove seeds and fibers. Using a fork, scrape the flesh, producing strands. For the cut squash, flip over and scrape out the strands with a fork. Transfer about 4 cups of strands to a serving bowl, reserving the rest for another recipe. Set aside.

2. Combine beans, herb(s), olive oil, and vinegar in another bowl. Set aside. If not sautéing greens, set them aside as well.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add leeks or onion and cook for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add greens, if sautéing, and cook until tender. Add bean mixture along with feta cheese and heat through. Stir constantly, otherwise the cheese will stick to the skillet.

4. Add greens and beans to spaghetti squash. Toss to combine. If using raw greens, add them now. Season with salt and pepper. Taste again. If you like, add more squash as well as more oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with some grated Parmesan cheese before serving.