April 27, 2017

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

The following was originally posted on October 26, 2011.

If you’ve never enjoyed spaghetti squash, now is the perfect time of year to try it. As the name implies, the cooked flesh looks like spaghetti (or angel hair pasta), and is often used as a substitute for pasta. It has a mild flavor and a pleasant crunchiness that is very satisfying. And it is loaded with potassium, vitamin C, a few B vitamins, and a whole lot of other nutrients that make it oh-so-good for you. As my husband said tonight, it’s hard to believe this food is actually a vegetable!

 

 

Spaghetti squash can be prepared many different ways. It can be microwaved, boiled, roasted, sauteed, even put in a crockpot. It can be cooked whole or split in half. And it can be “dressed up” with almost any flavor you want – olive oil and garlic, creamy butter sauce, tomato sauce and mozzarella…

But here’s how I do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash the outside of the squash in warm water and a mild detergent. Use a skewer, knife, or fork to pierce holes through the skin all the way around.
  3. Place in a baking dish and bake for 60-75 minutes. [Note: if you have time, allow the squash to cool for several hours before continuing. Otherwise, handle very carefully to avoid getting burned.]
  4. Cut the squash lengthwise all the way through. Scoop out the seeds and pulpy orange flesh in the center. Discard or set aside for later – the seeds can be roasted and enjoyed just like pumpkin seeds.
  5. Using a fork, separate the flesh to create long pasta-like strands [see photo below]. Scoop all these strands into the baking dish, scraping until the shell is bare inside. Season as desired, reheat if necessary, and enjoy!

 

 

Tonight I simply added a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh minced garlic, and a few dashes of basil. Since I prepared it in the early afternoon, it sat in the fridge for a few hours, and I simply microwaved it for about 4-5 minutes when we were ready to eat.

I have also layered the squash with fresh tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and mozzarella, then baked it at a low temperature until the cheese was melted – kind of like a baked spaghetti dish.

You could add sauteed onions and peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes, ground beef or sausage, grilled chicken… pretty much anything you can do with pasta, you can do with spaghetti squash. Just keep in mind that the squash has a higher water content, and heating times will need to be adjusted accordingly. But on the other hand, I’ve never had it dry out from being heated too long!

And if you want to try spaghetti squash sometime but aren’t sure when you can prepare it, don’t worry. Buy one now and store it in a cool, dry place for weeks or even months before cooking it.

One medium squash makes about 4 one-cup servings.

 

Have YOU ever tried spaghetti squash?
What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

 

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Comments

  1. I have, and I was banned from ever doing it again. 🙂 We are not fans of the stuff in this house, but it was really cool seeing how easily it came out with a fork – glad YOU enjoy it! 🙂

    • Sorry you’re missing out on a tasty meal! How did you try making it?

      • Um, honestly? I tried it both ways that you said. I did a little salt, pepper, garlic, and seasonings the first time, and the second time, I tried it with a tomato/meat sauce. It did NOT go over well. It’s okay – we eat other kinds of squash (like butternut), but if I want pasta…I eat pasta, not squash. 😉 Everyone is different, right? 🙂

    • that is funny…”banned from doing it ever again.” Sometimes a recipe goes that way, doesn’t it.=)

      • You know – my husband is a missionary kid who grew up in the jungles of South America and he will eat almost anything. In 12+ years of marriage (almost 5 of those spent overseas), he has only put his foot down about a recipe/food three times. One was a weird jelly drink that we had in Indonesia, one was spaghetti squash (“boring and a waste of meat sauce”), and the most recent was ground turkey. Since he’ll eat anything else, I can put up with a few, “never again” foods. 🙂

        BTW – loved your reviews of all the e-books! 🙂 I’ve read them all as well, even though I am a firm, paper-book-in-my-hands kind of reader. 🙂

  2. I have. It is a fall favorite around here. Baking it is hands down the easiest way to prepare it. I love how it comes out in strands. My kids aren’t huge fans, but we usually do a batch of garden fresh spaghetti sauce over the squash. Amazing! And so good for you!

  3. I just bought one and we are gonna try it this week. I’ve done plenty of research and am looking forward to trying it. Not so sure about Bryan being a fan but he is willing to try it!!

  4. g2-e0031c775327c4e88502b0a2464f0352 says:

    I prepare it every way that you have mentioned, plus the leftovers make wonderful fried cakes for breakfast the next morning when mixed with some egg, seasoned salt, and flour, dropped in hot oil, then fried until crispy. I love them with sour cream on top! (We are low carbers and I use coconut oil for the frying, almond flour for the flour, and full-fat sour cream on top.) They’re also great slathered with onions fried in butter!

  5. I’ve had it and love it! These comments are cracking me up, though 🙂
    Thanks so much for linking up with heart+home at mercyink!
    blessings,
    lauren
    http://www.mercyinkblog.com

  6. I LOVE spaghetti squash. I like it real simple, with just shredded parmesan cheese on top. I’d like to try your layered dish, though. That sounds yummy!

  7. Spaghetti squash is a family legend. My mom made it when I was a kid after hearing friends tell her it was “just like spaghetti.” She didn’t say anything to us, just swapped it in like they suggested.

    Yeah, we could all tell. It was awful; so bad that even the dog refused to eat it – a dog who ate ANYTHING.

    It became a measuring stick for bad meals – yes, this one was bad, but was it as bad as SPAGHETTI SQUASH?? Nothing ever was. 🙂

    I’m sure it can be delicious. I’m also sure that we might have enjoyed it more if we hadn’t taken bites of it expecting one taste and getting something totally different. It made us all firm believers in the “don’t try and trick someone with food” camp.

    And no, I’ve never had it since, and have no plans to. There are plenty of other squashes to eat that don’t have the baggage this one does. 😉

    • Wow… yeah, never try to trick anyone into eating something they don’t expect. Never works too well! Sorry you’re missing out, but you’re right. There’s plenty of other delicious squashes to enjoy.