Today, I want to talk about spaghetti squash. You’ve probably seen it in your local store. An oblong shaped yellow orb, spaghetti squash is named for the long strands that the flesh of the squash is composed of. Spaghetti squash doesn’t taste like spaghetti, but the threads of flesh are of a similar size and texture to a very al dente capellini or angel hair pasta. All in all, spaghetti squash is pretty bland, but that’s what makes it a wonderful partner for many different types of sauces and seasonings.
Spaghetti squash is often overlooked by those wishing to eat a healthier diet, but it is, in fact, a nutritional powerhouse. Because it is a squash, cup for cup, it has a significantly lower calorie count than regular pasta. 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. In addition, spaghetti squash has significantly less carbohydrates than pasta which makes it perfect for those with diabetes or on carbohydrate 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 if you’re trying to eat healthier.
How, exactly, does one cook a spaghetti squash?
The answer depends upon who you ask. It seems everyone has an opinion. I have collected fiver different ways to cook spaghetti Squash.
1. Roast spaghetti squash in the oven
Even those who roast the spaghetti squash in an oven don’t always agree on the technique that’s best. Here are three different techniques
– Cut and roasted cut side down, then cut side up
Our friend Donna’s preferred method for cooking spaghetti squash includes cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds, and placing it cut side down in the oven. She bakes it at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes. Then, she turns it over and continues baking it for another 10 minutes or so until it is tender and the strands of flesh separate easily. Once it’s cooked, she shreds the squash and uses it in whatever recipe she has planned.
– Roasted cut side down in a water bath
Patty Cake’s method is similar, but she puts the squash, cut side down, into a pan and adds a quarter inch of water to the pan. The squash is then placed it into a 350 degree oven and baked for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the skin of the squash. The squash is then removed, and then carefully the strands of flesh separated with a fork. Dealing with the cooked squash requires some caution. When they’re removed from the oven, the squash are very hot and it’s easy to get burned if you’re not careful. Please be careful while separating the hot squash threads.
– Roasted whole
Another friend of mine, takes a simpler approach. She pierces the whole squash in several places and places the entire squash into her 350 degree oven and allows it to bake until it becomes soft. This takes between 40 – 60 minutes depending upon the size of the squash. When it’s finished, she cuts the very hot and steam filled squash in half and carefully scoops out the seeds before separating the flesh into strands. She also cuts the squash in half on the short side instead of from the stem to blossom end. She accurately claims that this gives you longer strands of squash since the strands grow horizontally . I may start cutting mine that way before baking.
2. Microwaved spaghetti squash
Another friend, an older woman, prefers to cut the squash, remove the seeds, add a tablespoon of water to the depression in the center and place the squash in the microwave for 2 – 5 minutes. Depending upon the size of the squash, and the power of your microwave oven, your time may vary. Once it’s cooked, she shreds the flesh and covers it with spaghetti sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
3. Steam spaghetti squash on the stove
I had never considered this technique, but Angie at Kitchen Southern Hospitality described boiling spaghetti squash, but when I read her instructions, she actually steamed it on the stove top. I had never considered the possibility of cooking it without using an oven or microwave. It turns out that her method was born out of necessity because whenever she turned on the oven, a problem with the kitchen electrical sockets caused the circuit breaker to trip, and she still needed to cook while she waited for the electrician. She placed the squash cut side down in a very large pot on the stove and adds 1/2 to 1 cup of water. She covered the pot, brought the water to a boil, and lowered the heat, steaming the squash for approximately 20 minutes until it was done. Sometimes, she needed to add extra water during the cooking process, but it’s nice to know that spaghetti squash can be cooked without an oven, especially since mine is broken.
4. Cook spaghetti squash in the air fryer
Cooking a spaghetti squash in the air fryer is fast and easy. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and trim off the ends if needed to make it fit in the air fryer. Then “fry” at 360 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until tender. For complete and detailed instructions to cook a spaghetti squash in an air fryer, check out this post at Air Fryer Eats.
5. Pressure cook spaghetti squash
Cooking a spaghetti squash is in the pressure cooker.is faster than roasting or air frying. This method takes about eight to ten minutes until your spaghetti squash is tender enough to shred and eat. If you’re looking for more specific instructions on how to cook spaghetti squash in a pressure cooker, check out this post at Pressure Cooking Today.
There, you have it. Five different ways to prepare spaghetti squash. What are you waiting for? Give spaghetti squash a try. If you’re not sure what to do with it after you’ve cooked it, top it with your favorite spaghetti sauce, with or without meat in it. Don’t forget to sprinkle on the cheese. If you’re looking for more exciting ideas, the internet is full of recipes for spaghetti squash. Country living has “91 of the best spaghetti squash recipes,” and the Huff Post‘s collection of 29 spaghetti squash recipes all look delicious. If you’re looking for vegan recipes to dress up you spaghetti squash, check out this collection at Yummly.
Do you like spaghetti squash? Have you ever tried it? What’s your favorite way to serve it? Let us know by leaving a comment below. We love to hear from our readers.
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