Strands of roasted spaghetti squash marry a light dressing, cranberries and hazelnuts to create this fall salad.

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If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, you’re in for a surprise. It’s called spaghetti squash for a reason — the vegetable’s flesh, after it has been cooked and scraped away from the skin, resembles strands of spaghetti. With a mild, sweet flavor, spaghetti squash pairs well with just about any dish and can be flavored in just about any way.

Once you’ve roasted the squash, the flavor customization is up to you. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. It’s great as a base for meatballs. This recipe goes a few steps further and includes some fall favorites, such as dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy it as an appetizer salad served warm or as a cold side.

Now is the season for spaghetti squash. You’ll find it sold among the other winter squashes, such as butternut and acorn, in the market.

Spaghetti Squash Salad with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Makes 4 servings

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing squash

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Brush with oil. Roast cut-side down until knife tender, about 45 minutes.

2. Let squash cool slightly. Remove and discard seeds and stringy pulp. Using a fork, scrape strands of flesh from the skin into a bowl.

3. Combine olive oil, vinegar and parsley in a small bowl or measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over squash. Add cranberries and hazelnuts. Toss gently to combine.

(Joseph Erdos is a New York-based writer and editor, who shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer’s Guide. One for the Table is Amy Ephron’s online magazine that specializes in food, politics and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com)