One of the things we try to do at Patty Cake’s Pantry is to provide healthy and nutritious meals for our family. This may not always be apparent when you look at the recipes that I post. There have been several banana bread variations, and cookies. There was even a recipe for some chocolate cookies with caramel centers. There are also many recipes for dishes containing pasta. This might lead one to believe that all of us at Patty Cake’s Pantry suffer from carbohydrate addiction or at the very least carb overload. In spite of all these recipes, this isn’t the case. This blog represents only a portion of what we eat and cook. Sometimes, as any regular visitor knows, I forget to take pictures even when I’m making a recipe specifically for my blog.
In this post, I want to talk about one of the things we do to cut back on carbs during our meals. It’s a pasta substitute that will cut calories as well as carbohydrates. This substitute is none other than the humble spaghetti squash, which can be grown in your own backyard.
Spaghetti squash are winter squashes. That means that, unlike zucchini, you can’t harvest them when they are small. They need to mature on the vines and require a very long growing season to accomplish this, about 100 days. Also, unlike zucchini which will produce squash all summer long, the spaghetti squash only produces 4-6 squash per plant. (I have personally never had my spaghetti squash plants produce more than 2-3 squash per plant, but we have very poor soil that we continually amend to improve growing conditions. ) The good thing about spaghetti squash is that they have a fairly long shelf life, about two months, if they are mature when picked and stored in a cool, dry environment. This is a good thing.
If you’re not a gardener, don’t worry. Spaghetti squash can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. It’s also very easy to cook. Spaghetti squash doesn’t taste like spaghetti, but it has a texture similar to capellini, or angel hair pasta. Unlike many squashes, it has a very delicate flavor which is a great accompaniment to a variety flavors. It can be topped with garlic and herb infused oil and parmesan cheese, mixed with a cheesy sauce, topped with a bolognese sauce, pesto, or even turned into a curry dish. It takes a bit longer to cook than spaghetti, but I usually start cooking the spaghetti squash in the oven and then start on whatever sauce I’m serving it with. This way, the squash is cooked and I have time to shred it before pairing it with whatever kind of sauce I’m using. Spaghetti squash really is amazingly versatile, but how do you cook it?
Preparation is really very simple.
I mentioned the calories that can be saved by using spaghetti squash instead of traditional noodles. One cup of spaghetti squash has only 31 calories. This is significantly lower than the 200 calories found in a cup of cooked angel hair pasta. Spaghetti squash is low in carbohydrates making it a good choice for people with diabetes or on carb restricted diets. Also, unlike spaghetti or capellini, spaghetti squash contains higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals. All in all, spaghetti squash is a good choice.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry. Please leave me a comment and tell me your favorite way to serve spaghetti squash. If you’re looking for more recipe ideas, the Huff Post has an article containing 29 spaghetti squash recipes.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is my favorite way to prepare spaghetti squash. There are many other methods mentioned on the web. A google search will present several–baking dry, microwaving, baking whole, and others. The one thing I had never heard of was boiling spaghetti squash. I should say that I had never heard of it until I read this post at Kitchen Hospitality. Knowing that I can prepare the squash by boiling it means that I might be more willing to prepare spaghetti squash during the warm days of summer when I don’t want to turn on my oven. (I don’t know why I never cook it in the microwave.)