Eggs Baked in Spaghetti Squash “Nests”

Spring is here! It’s been a loooonnngg winter here in Chicago, so today — the first day of spring — is extremely exciting. It signals warmer weather, new life and hope. Yes, that is slightly dramatic, but hot damn, multiple days of -30 degree (sometimes colder) days over the last few months? Seriously?! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s spring and that calls for a spring-inspired dish!

And what’s more spring-like than birds? Here’s my play on eggs in a birds’ nest — with a nest made ‘o spaghetti squash with eggs baked in. Spice up the spaghetti squash as you wish, but I’ve taken a Southwestern spin with lemon and lime zest, paprika, cumin and a salsa topper. And of course, it’s served on a bed of organic lettuce, because you’ve got to have your greens!

Did I mention this recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, provides protein (thanks to the eggs), fiber (from the bed of greens and squash) plus loads of other vitamins and minerals? Well, it is, which means you can feel good about this tasty breakfast.

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Recipe: Eggs Baked in Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Nests

Change up your morning routine with baked eggs, nestled in roasted spaghetti squash. Spice up the dish with your favorite seasonings. Here, I used Southwest spices but this would be delicious with Italian, Mediterranean or Indian seasonings.

Makes: 1 serving (2 eggs)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small, cooked spaghetti squash (approximately 1 cup “spaghetti”)
  • 1 tsp salt-free taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (if it’s not in your taco seasoning)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil, split
  • 2 eggs, preferably free range, organic

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a fork to “string” the spaghetti squash into a medium bowl. Add taco seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to coat the squash in seasoning.

Coat two custard/souffle cups with 1/2 tsp each olive oil (or use olive oil spray). Add spaghetti squash mixture, forming it around the bottom and sides of the souffle cups. Crack one egg into each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until white of the egg is set.

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Use a small spatula, spoon or fork to “unmold” the nests. Serve over greens and top with salsa.

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Once you cut in, the yolk will run over the whole dish creating a creamy, unctuous breakfast dish!

Intrigued by this whole baked eggs phenomenon? Check out this recipe for Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce.

 

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Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough eggs. Fried or poached eggs, when placed over any food, create the most unctuous, delicious, satisfying meal (in my opinion at least). Seriously, what is better than a perfectly runny yolk? They’re just so creamy and wonderful and smooth and they really complete any meal….

Whoa, just had a little egg moment…I’m back now. One of the many reasons I love eggs is because of their versatility. Sweet and savory applications plus so many cooking preparations! Even with all the cooking options, I tend to rely on fried and poached eggs, along with omelets. So I felt that I should explore another egg cooking method: baked eggs. You can bake them in different sauces or even bake them in potatoes, tomatoes, avocados – really anything! I decided to try mine baked in a marinara sauce, because I also can’t get enough marinara.

Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs per person (I made this for myself only, so I capped it at 2)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, or if you don’t have any, mix 1 cup canned tomatoes with 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, oregano, basil and black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • For serving: 2 cups arugula (preferably organic)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 ramekins with cooking spray and fill each with 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Crack an egg on top of both. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until yolk is set.

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Serve over arugula (spinach or kale would also be good).

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Did I mention how wonderful eggs are for you? Only 70 calories/egg with 6 grams protein. Yes, there is saturated fat and cholesterol in the yolk (though there is nothing wrong with 1-2 eggs a day…anything more than that and I recommend supplementing with some egg whites), but the yolk is also high in lutein and xeazanthin, two compounds that may reduce your risk for macular degeneration. The yolk also contains vitamin A, choline (may help improve brain functioning and reduce inflammation) and even some protein (it’s not all in the white!).

As far as choosing eggs at the store, I recommend Organic, Free Range eggs from chickens that have been fed a vegetarian diet. While these are the most expensive, you are getting what you pay for: higher quality eggs from more ethically-treated chickens, sans the pesticides and antibiotics.

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