Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Spicy Ketchup

One of my absolute favorite snacks is tater tots dipped in ketchup (or applesauce). While there’s nothing wrong with a good tot, I figured I’d try my hand at a healthier option that’s reminiscent of tater tots without the freezer burn. I had a spaghetti squash laying around and thought it would be perfect to make some fritters, and boy am I glad I tried it!

You start by baking your spaghetti squash, which can be done way ahead of time. Like, days ahead. Then, you want to make sure you wring out any excess moisture from the squash either with a clean dish towel or paper towels before adding it to your mixing bowl. Wringing out the liquid helps the fritters gets crispy rather than soggy. It’s a must.

I added bacon, bell pepper, onion, and spices to my fritters, but if any/all of those ingredients aren’t up your alley, you can pretty easily change it up. Just make sure you keep the proportions of ingredients the same so as not to alter the consistency of the final product.

I’ve provided two cooking methods for you to choose from: pan-fried or baked. I highly recommend the pan-frying, as you really don’t use too much oil and the overall texture is just better. However, if you must bake, make sure you drizzle each fritter with olive oil before baking and allow the fritters a few minutes under the broiler at the end of their cooking time to get crispy!

These are awesome dipped in the spicy ketchup recipe I’ve included, or in some regular old ranch dressing. Whatever sauce you decide, be sure to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram so I can see the beauty! Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 ½ cups cooked spaghetti squash 

5 slices bacon, chopped

½ cup green bell pepper, diced

½ cup yellow bell pepper, diced

½ of a medium yellow onion, diced

¼ tsp cumin

1 tsp salt, divided

¼ tsp black pepper 

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs

⅔ cup oat flour

¼ cup ketchup

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ – 1 tsp red chili flake, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bake halved spaghetti squash, cut side down, at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes until the skin becomes tender. Let cool and use a fork to shred the squash. Wring any excess liquid out using a clean dish towel or paper towel. This step can be completed up to 4 days ahead of time, simply store the squash in the fridge until use.
  2. Dice bacon and crisp in a cast-iron skillet. When bacon is cooked, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to cool. Drain all but 2 TBSP of bacon fat from the pan and discard.
  3. In the skillet with remaining bacon fat, sauté onion, bell peppers, cumin, ¼ tsp of salt, and pepper until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. 
  4. Combine cooked spaghetti squash, bacon, onion/pepper mixture, beaten eggs, oat flour, and remaining salt in a bowl. Mix to combine.
  5. To Pan Fry: Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop batter into a hot skillet with about ¼ inch of olive oil in the bottom. Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the fritters down slightly so they resemble pancakes. Pan-fry on medium-low until crispy, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool slightly before eating. To Bake: Preheat the oven to 425. Use the same ¼ cup measuring cup and scoop fritters onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the fritters down slightly, then drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. For the last 2 minutes, turn the broiler on to allow the fritters to brown. 
  6. To make the spicy ketchup, simmer any brand of ketchup with apple cider vinegar and red chili flakes until thick and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Use more or less chili flake depending on your spice preferences. Let cool and serve alongside the fritters! 

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