How to Cook Spaghetti Squash: A Delicious Winter Variety
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 autumn and winter staple together. Preparing spaghetti squash 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.
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!
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.
Squash Comes in Many Varieties
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.
Some Recipes for You to Try
- Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti | VegWeb.com, The World's Largest Collection of Vegetarian Recipes
This recipe from vegweb turns spaghetti squash into your favorite pasta dish with a tomato mushroom sauce.
- Garlic Chard Spaghetti Squash
Here's a nifty recipe to use up Swiss chard. Don't have chard? Substitute another leafy green like spinach.
- Spaghetti Squash Salad
A great way to get rid of leftover spaghetti squash. This salad is served cold making it a nice addition for a warm evening or when you don't really feel like 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?
I hope you enjoyed your visit and are thinking about cooking up some spaghetti squash.
© 2011 Melody Lassalle