“I know. It looks like a shipwreck on a plate.” I meant those words to send a warning as I set the plate of Zesty Black Bean Pie with Spaghetti Squash Crust on the table. It was the one I had taken a picture of. Then, I placed the savory entree pie with one wedge missing from it on the table. I was waiting for my husband to agree. He didn’t. Not even a nod. He was holding his judgment until he had actually tasted the unattractive food.
I was using the last of the three pale yellow-skinned spaghetti squash my friend, Helen, had given me. I had already enjoyed the squash tossed up with some butter, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Another batch of the noodle-like cooked squash had been devoured with a topping of Italian-style tomato sauce. Even my two-year-old granddaughter, Claire, enjoyed the Baked Spaghetti Squash Italiano as she spooned it into her mouth and sucked up the little strands of spaghetti squash hanging from her mouth. (Very cute!)
I wanted the last spaghetti squash to be served in a unique style. I was turning on my creative juices as I baked a crust of the thin strands of noodle-like squash, an egg and some cheese, similar to the ingredients used in the wild rice crust I posted not long ago.
I thought about mixing up a meatloaf-like filling or maybe a cheeseburger filling to bake inside the crust, but finally decided on black beans. The meatloaf would have been much more attractive on the table, I’m sure. But, the zesty black bean filling topped with melted Cheddar and served with sour cream and corn chips is a surprisingly delicious match for the slightly sweet and nutty spaghetti squash.
Just one bite, and my husband commented on the great combination of flavors. He liked it. I did, too. I splashed mine with some Cholula hot sauce. I love heat.
Zesty Black Bean Pie with Spaghetti Squash Crust won’t win any food beauty awards. But take my word for it — you can’t judge a dish by its appearance!
Zesty Black Bean Pie with Spaghetti Squash Crust
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine, with seeds or without, you decide
- 2 chubby cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (10-ounce) can Ro*TelÂ® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, partially drained
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream and corn chips, for serving
Prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash squash and place in a foil-lined shallow baking dish. Pierce through skin of squash with a fork several times. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour or until squash yields to pressure. Let cool slightly so that it is easier to handle. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Using a fork, gently scrape out spaghetti-like strands of flesh from squash.
Mix half of spaghetti squash with egg, Parmesan cheese and butter. Refrigerate remaining half of spaghetti squash for another use. Spoon mixture into a lightly-oiled 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing it halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake the spaghetti squash crust in preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
In a large bowl, use a pastry blender, potato masher or a fork to mash black beans to desired consistency. Set aside.
In a skillet, fry bacon until crispy. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Leave about one tablespoon of hot bacon fat in the skillet. Add chopped onion and saute until almost tender. Add jalapeno and garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and mix in the mashed beans, Ro*TelÂ® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, oregano, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper. Chop crispy bacon and add to black bean filling.
Spoon filling into crust. Top with shredded Cheddar. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Serve with corn chips and sour cream. Makes 6 servings.
Tips from the cook
If you like cilantro, add 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro to the black bean mixture before spooning into crust. As an alternative, serve cilantro on the side for diners to sprinkle on their serving of Pie if they wish.
Make this a meatless meal by leaving out the bacon. Saute onion, garlic and jalapeno in olive oil.