Thanks to some of my own dietary hurdles this year, I have been trying to make modifications to my diet that include limiting my carb intake. Spaghetti squash is my new favorite food to eat that offers a healthy and nutritious lunch option that makes me feel like I am indulging in a big bowl of pasta without the heavy carbs that I am trying to avoid.
Today I wanted to share a little background on this vegetable, some ideas for preparation, how to store this veggie, and even how to freeze it.
What Is Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash is a favorite vegetable for people seeking a low carb, vegetarian, or vegan diet. The spaghetti squash is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. Its center contains many large seeds. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or in strands that resemble spaghetti.
What Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like?
Spaghetti squash, sadly, does not taste anything like spaghetti. Although its appearance resembles the pasta, it has a crunchy bite that reminds me of the crunchy exterior of a pile of hash brown potatoes. The flavor is mild and pleasing, making it a great pairing for bold and robust flavors like bright sauces, lemons, capers, and pestos. Despite, it just being a vegetable, I find it to be as filling as spaghetti. A quarter of a squash provides plenty of food food for one person and when paired with a big dinner salad, it will leave you feeling full until dinnertime.
What Are My Options for Preparation?
Spaghetti squash can be prepared in your microwave, roasted on a cookie sheet, or even prepared in your slow cooker. It can be cooked whole, eliminating the need to heave your body into a cutting board to cut through this thick vegetable, or it can be sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil, and spiced according to your dishes. I have only roasted this vegetable, so far, and the recipe for that can be found below. If you would like other options for preparation, here are a couple of other ideas for preparing the vegetable.
Microwave Method: Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Season each half with salt and pepper. In a microwave safe dish add about 1/2 inch water to the bottom of the container. Add the spaghetti squash halves with flesh facing down. Microwave for 4-5 minutes until the flesh comes out easily with a fork.
Slow Cooker Method: Select a spaghetti squash that will fit in your slow cooker. Poke the squash several times using a fork. Place two cups of water in the slow cooker, then place the spaghetti squash in the cooker. Cook the spaghetti squash on low heat for eight to 10 hours, or until the squash is tender. Allow the squash to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the squash from the slow cooker. Cut the cooked squash in half. Remove the seeds and serve.
Roasting Method: This is my preferred method for seasoning and flavor. You can grab the recipe below.
Boiling Method: Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Place the spaghetti squash in the saucepan with its skin side up. Bring to a boil once again. Bring down the heat to medium heat. Boil 10-15 minutes. You can check the spaghetti squash with a fork to see if the strands are pulling away. If not, keep boiling until you reach your desired results.
How Long Can I Store a Spaghetti Squash?
There is no need to take up any refrigerator space with this squash! I think one of the best parts about the spaghetti squash is that they are relatively inexpensive and can keep for one to two months in a cool dark place, making it a great frugal ingredient to rely upon when times are more lean or the pantry is bare. Stock up on this ingredient when it goes on sale and roast it for an easy main dish for yourself or your whole family The possibilities with this ingredient are truly endless since it can be transformed into a pasta-inspired dish to a simple dessert with a little butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
Refrigerate cooked spaghetti squash or other types of winter squash in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap for up to 3 to 5 days. The squash should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth and spoilage.
Can I Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
The best part about this vegetable is that you can prepare it in large batches, if desired, and freeze it for your future meals. Freeze batches of spaghetti squash in airtight freezer containers or in freezer bags, making sure all of the air is out of them. Once your spaghetti squash is frozen it will last for several months. When you are ready to use it pull it out of the freezer and take it out of the container. You can heat it up in a microwave or in a pan of water, then simply use it for your recipes.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Olive Oil
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Be sure to exercise caution and use a sharpened chef's knife for the task since this vegetable is a tough one to slice.
- Scoop out and discard the seeds from the squash.
- Brush the flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Invert your squash on the cooking sheet, flesh side down.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Pull the squash out and carefully flip your squash so that the flesh is now upright. Bake again for ten more minutes.
- Pull the squash out and let it rest for 10-20 minutes. The resting is very important so that the strings of flesh pull out and look like noodles.
- Taking a fork gently glide it inside the flesh of the squash and pull the fork down lengthwise, separating the flesh from the skin.
- Top the spaghetti squash strands with your favorite pasta toppings or incorporate it in your recipes. See notes above for freezer storage.
If you like this cooking tutorial, be sure to visit my tutorial on How to Cook A Butternut Squash With the Skin On, How to Make Quinoa in the Rice Cooker, & grab my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pecans for a delicious weeknight meal!