Every so often I get an idea stuck in my head that I just can't let go. A few weeks ago, our farmer-neighbor gifted us a bag filled with spaghetti squash and I had a few very unsuccessful attempts at getting my girl to try it. So when we had some leftover roasted squash in the fridge, I just had to see if I could turn some of it into little nests. And while this sort of food project isn't something I do all the time, I remembered that being creative in the kitchen is good for the soul—even if it makes my husband think I'm a little nuts.
Thankfully, these edible nests are so easy to make that actually you don't need any special skills or a whole day to make them. (They take about the same amount of time as making a batch of meatballs.) They are a fun way for you to celebrate the coming of spring with your little ones and you can eat them for dinner!
These little nests, which are made with cooked spaghetti squash, cheese, cornmeal, and egg, will totally delight your kids. They are easy to pick up and bite, and they taste particularly good dipped into a little ketchup. I bet your family would love to have these for Easter alongside some ham as a special treat (in addition to those in the Easter basket, of course!).
You can also simplify things slightly and bake this batter in a mini muffin tin for a savory snack or breakfast—bake for the same time as directed below—though there's nothing wrong with having a little fun with your food every once in a while.
Edible Squash Nests
Makes about 12 nests
Spaghetti squash is very moist, so be sure to follow the directions in Step 1 to remove some of the moisture. I used peas and carrots for the "eggs" but feel free to do whatever makes you and your kiddo happy.
- 3 cups cooked and cooled spaghetti squash
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Thawed and warmed peas
- Steamed or boiled and cooled carrots
1. Lay the squash out on two kitchen towels. Top with another towel, then weight with a pan or baking dish. Let sit for about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash into a bowl and add the Parmesan, cornmeal, and eggs. Use your hands to gently combine all ingredients. Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to portion out "nests" on the prepared baking sheet, making a small indentation in the center. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until set and just starting to brown around the edges. Remove from oven.
3. Use a paring knife to cut carrots into ovals and place into nests along with the peas. Serve warm.
Use edamame instead of peas.
Try sweet potato or zucchini instead of carrot.
Add 1/2 teaspoon parsley or dried thyme to the squash mixture.