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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash: A Delicious Winter Variety

Updated on October 28, 2015
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Spaghetti Squash is delicious and unique!

When I first turned vegan, I thought my food choices would be limited. That was because I was still thinking in a meat and potatoes sort of way. My carnivore diet had been terribly limited. Our idea of a vegetable was carrots, beans, and corn (which is really a grain!). Not much variety there.

As I began to try out recipes, I saw that I was missing out on a whole lot of great tasting produce especially where squash was concerned. Who knew that there was more to squash than zucchini and pumpkins. Heck, I didn't even realize there was winter squash and summer squash.

On one of my adventures to the grocery store I found spaghetti squash. I had read about it in a cookbook and I was dying to see what it tasted like.

Let's check out this spaghetti squash together. Preparing it is easy as you will see!


There's Nothing to Prepare

Some spaghetti squash recipes call for halving the squash then baking it. Don't bother!

Unlike other squash, there really isn't anything to prepare with spaghetti squash. You should rinse the outside prior to cooking to remove any dirt and bacteria. Cut some holes in the skin prior to cooking. And, that's it!

Spaghetti squash is stringy inside. After cooking, cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds. Using a fork, scrap the stringy tendrils into a bowl. It's really easy to work with once cooked. Unless a recipe calls for cutting the squash prior to cooking, bake it whole then add it to whatever recipe you are working with.

Male flower of the spaghetti squash plant
Male flower of the spaghetti squash plant | Source

What is Spaghetti Squash Anyway?

It's not pasta if that's what you're thinking. Not many people have heard about spaghetti squash. Even though it's versatile, people shy away because of the size.

It is one of the many hearty winter squashes. It is shaped like butternut squash and is about the same size. It can have an orange, yellow, or white skin. The fruit is usually a yellowish color. It is a sweet tasting squash like butternut and pumpkin.

The similarity to other squashes ends there. The squash is stringy and looks like spaghetti. Well, maybe more like vermicelli. When cooked, you scrape it out with a fork rather than cutting it up with a knife. It is slightly crunchy when cooked.

It's great mixed with other vegetables, in a salad, and as a side dish. It can take the place of pasta, too. You can mix it into so many dishes. It's versatile, so give it a go!

Microwave Safe Cookware

Pyrex No Leak Lids 3 Cup Rectangle Baking Dish with Plastic Lid
Pyrex No Leak Lids 3 Cup Rectangle Baking Dish with Plastic Lid

When baking in the microwave, you need a sturdy non-metal container. Glass baking dishes are the best for this kind of cooking. They won't melt or get soft like plastic and the food can be stored in the dish it was cooked in.

 
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How to Microwave Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is really easy to cook in the microwave. In fact, this is the easiest method! Use a microwave safe container that is large enough to hold your squash.

You can use plastic pans in the microwave, but glass cooks more thoroughly. It won't break down as easily either.

My preferred method is to cut the squash in half. Place it in your pan with the skin up. Microwave for 10-12 minutes. Let stand for about 15 minutes then scoop out the fruit.

This is an alternative method if you don't have a knife strong enough to cut all the way through. Be aware that you need to stab the squash several times to make air holes. There is a risk of it exploding and it will really make a mess. Put the squash in the microwave and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to complete steaming and to cool down before cutting it and removing the fruit.

This Video Walks You Through Making Spaghetti Squash

How to Bake Spaghetti Squash

One way to cook spaghetti squash is to bake it in the oven. Get an oven safe casserole dish big enough to hold your squash. You'll want a nice, sturdy pan for cooking spaghetti squash in the oven. They can be heavy and this pan is perfect for carrying them in and out.

Put a little bit of water in the bottom so that the squash doesn't stick and burn.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Stab the squash a couple of times with a knife for air holes. This will prevent it from exploding in the oven.

Bake the squash for an hour. After it is done, pull the dish out of the oven and let sit for several minutes. Once it's cooled, cut the squash in half and scoop out the fruit.

Use an Oven Safe Pan

Range Kleen 13-3/8 x 9-1/8 x 1-3/4 Inch Bake and Roast Pan
Range Kleen 13-3/8 x 9-1/8 x 1-3/4 Inch Bake and Roast Pan

Winter squash can be quite large. A roast pan is the perfect size for baking them.

 

Squash Comes in Many Varieties

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If it weren't for zucchini and pumpkin, many people wouldn't even know about squash. Whether it's winter or summer, there are so many varieties that it's hard to have a favorite.

Are You Ready to Make Something?

Now that you've learned a bit about Spaghetti Squash are you ready to cook some? Spaghetti squash fits into vegetarian and vegan diets perfectly. It works in casseroles, salads, as a side dish, and as a pasta alternative. These recipes will help you explore this versatile squash.

There's More to Squash than Zucchini

The Compleat Squash
The Compleat Squash

Lots of people grow their own squash. This guide tells you everything you need to know to have them ready for autumn cooking.

 

Spaghetti Squash is Packed with Nutrients

Winter squash is flavorful and nutritional. A hearty food for those cold days. Spaghetti squash works well on warm and cold days. Toss it in a salad or mixed it in a casserole. It's packed with vitamins and minerals.

1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 45 calories. That serving contains:

17 RE of Vitamin A

33 mg of Calcium

181 mg of Potassium

4 grams of Fiber

It also contains iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C. It's a source of beta carotene. The more orange the squash, the higher the beta carotene content.

What's your favorite squash?

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and are thinking about cooking up some spaghetti squash.

© 2011 Melody Lassalle

Thanks for stopping by!

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image
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      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      There are so many good varieties! Spaghetti Squash is one of my favorites because it's so unusual.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 2 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Love squash of all kinds - good tips for cooking spaghetti type-thanks

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      I love spaghetti squash, especially with a bit of butter and parmesan cheese. There's always a row of them in my veggie garden as it's almost as easy to grow as it is to cook. Yum!

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image
      Author

      Melody Lassalle 4 years ago from California

      @awakeningwellness: I had the same reluctance. But, spaghetti squash turns out to be one of the easiest Winter squashes to cook. You don't have to gut out the seeds to start with. When it's cooked, it is so easy to scrap out the squash.

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 4 years ago

      I love eating spaghetti squash but always thought it was too much trouble to cook, you make it sound really easy, I can hardly wait to try cooking it whole in the microwave!

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image
      Author

      Melody Lassalle 5 years ago from California

      @JoyfulReviewer: Thanks so much! I was busy this week and didn't even realize it. Hope the microwave method works great for you!

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      Hmm... New veggie for me, too! I wonder what it might taste like?

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image
      Author

      Melody Lassalle 5 years ago from California

      @katemiya: These larger squashes can be intimidating. Since you can cook spaghetti squash whole without all that preparation, it makes it a little more enticing.

    • katemiya profile image

      katemiya 5 years ago

      Thanks for educating me more on spaghetti squash. It still scares me a little, but I bet I would like it because I love other squashes, especially zucchini.

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