Like our good friend zucchini “noodles”, spaghetti squash is just begging to be dressed up like, and served in place of, pasta. Once it’s cooked, the flesh naturally pulls apart into long, thin strands that look just like–you guessed it–spaghetti. Nature really amazes me sometimes!
If you’re aiming to boost your vegetable intake or simply want to reduce the amount of processed carbohydrate products you consume, spaghetti squash will be right up your alley. It has a pretty outstanding nutritional profile as well – it’s rich in vitamins and dietary fibre, high in health-boosting plant compounds including carotenoids and low in calories (only about 40 calories per 1 cup).
The best part of all of this? Spaghetti squash is delicious! It takes well to many different flavour profiles, from savoury to spicy to sweet.
If you’ve never cooked with spaghetti squash before, the first thing you need to know is that it’s extremely easy to prepare! You just need to follow a few basic tips and you’ll have a tasty bowl of nutrient-rich squashy goodness ready to enjoy in under an hour (only 10 minutes of hands-on work is needed).
When buying spaghetti squash, choose one that is firm, heavy for its size and free of blemishes, cracks or soft spots. Like other varieties of winter squash, whole spaghetti squash can be stored for a few months in a cool, dry place.
When you’re ready to cook your spaghetti squash, follow these easy tips:
Step 1. >> Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
Step 2. >> Place the squash on a large wooden cutting board and carefully cut it in half lengthwise using a large, sharp knife or cleaver if you have one. Remember to keep your hands out of the way of the blade – it can take a decent amount of force to cut through raw squash!
Step 3. >> Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh and discard (note – the seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds, so save them if that kind of thing floats your boat!).
Step 4. >> Place the cleaned out squash, cut side up, in an oven safe baking dish. Add 2 cups of water to the dish.
Step 5. >> Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for approximately 50 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender. Transfer squash to a cutting board and let cool slightly until safe to handle.
Step 6. >> Working over a large bowl, use a fork to scrape away at the squash flesh. It will come apart in long spaghetti-like strands – let them fall into the bowl. Discard the skin.
Step 7. The spaghetti squash is now ready to eat! Either divide the cooked “noodles” among serving bowls and top with your favourite pasta sauce (pre-warmed in the microwave or on the stovetop) and other accompaniments like grated cheese or cooked mixed vegetables. You can also use the prepared spaghetti squash in place of cooked noodles in your favourite stir-fry recipe.