Great Spaghetti Squash Recipe — It’s Not Just a Pasta Substitute!

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by Nindo Mom on November 12, 2011

 

I recently tried spaghetti squash, and was surprised at what I found. Although it tasted pretty much like acorn squash, it had a fascinating texture–one that lent itself well to a variety of recipes. I experimented some with different ingredients, and came up with some awesome ways to make it stand out from the pack–and not all of them involved simply substituting the spaghetti squash for pasta, as so many other recipes out there seem to do.  (I actually PREFERRED the recipes that didn’t incorporate tomato sauce or beef because these concoctions often masked, rather than accentuated, the beautiful flavor of the squash.)

Before You Begin: Cook the Spaghetti Squash

Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash should be cooked and removed from the rind before using in a receipe–and there are numerous ways to do this. It can cooked by:

  • baking in a standard oven
  • cooking in a microwave oven
  • boiling on the stovetop
  • stewing in a slow cooker

Cooking Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

  1. As with any cooking method, rinse surface of squash well before proceeding.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Spray bottom of large oven-safe baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Carefully cut squash in half and remove seeds. (Seeds may be reserved for later roasting, if desired.)
  5. Place squash halves, cut side downward, in baking dish.
  6. Pour enough water into dish so that it reaches 1/2 inch up the sides
  7. Cover loosely with aluminum foil
  8. Bake for about 60 minutes (for a 5 lb squash) until squash can be easily pierced by a fork
  9. Remove to a cool dish and allow to cool for about 20 minutes
  10. Pull a regular dinner fork through the interior to free the “spaghetti strands”
  11. Remove squash strands to another dish; squash can now be eaten, or used in a recipe

Cooking Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave:

  1. Wash exterior of squash in the sink
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds.
  3. Place squash cut sides up in a microwave dish with 1/4 cup water.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on how big your particular squash is, adding more cooking time in 30 second intervals, if necessary.
  5. Allow to cool for several minutes before slicing squash in half. (Be careful when slicing squash–interior may be very hot even when exterior is cool.)
  6. Pull a regular dinner fork through the interior to free the “spaghetti strands”
  7. Remove squash strands to another dish; squash can now be eaten, or used in a recipe

Cooking Spaghetti Squash by Boiling:

  1. Place squash in a large pot and fill with enough water so that the squash floats freely.
  2. Cook for about 20 minutes per side. (Hint: when I tried cooking my squash, the uncooked side didn’t seem to want to stay submerged, and kept floating to the top. You can solve this problem by using a fork to rotate the squash until it’s top side is down, then brace the fork handle on the side of the pot to hold the squash in place. It sounds strange, but it works.)
  3. Allow to cool before slicing squash in half.
  4. Pull a regular dinner fork through the interior to free the strands
  5. Place squash strands in a dish until ready for use.

Cooking Spaghetti Squash Using a Slow Cooker

  1. Place whole spaghetti squash in slow cooker with enough water to allow the squash to float freely.
  2. Cook on low temperature 8-10 hours, or until squash can be pierced easily with a fork.
  3. Allow exterior to cool about 20 minutes.
  4. Pull a fork through the inside of the squash to create the “spaghetti strands”
  5. Remove squash strands to another dish until ready for use.

Once the Spaghetti Squash is Done–the Rest of the Recipe! What to do next….

Most of the time, when I find recipes out on the Internet for spaghetti squash, they involve using the delicate little squash strands as a straight substitute for spaghetti noodles–even Ruby Tuesday’s serves their spaghetti squash this way. Substituting spaghetti squash for regular spaghetti noodles is probably my LEAST FAVORITE way to eat spaghetti squash!

Tomato sauce–especially with ground meat in it–has a lot of overpowering flavors. So many that they largely override the flavor of the spaghetti squash, itself.

A Great Recipe for Spaghetti Squash

Category: Entree

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Method: Braising

Serving Size: about 1 cup

Yeild: about 6 servings

Calories (per serving): about 319
Protein: 29 grams

Spaghetti squash should be warmed, but not cooked, in the oil--along with the rest of the ingredients.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces raw, sliced mushrooms
  • 6 T fresh pressed olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 6 T lemon juice
  • 2 T fresh chopped dill or 2 tsp dried dill herb
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp fresh ground tri-colored pepper
  • 3 cooked, cubed chicken breasts

Recipe Instructions:

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, warm olive oil, butter, and red pepper flakes on medium heat.
  2. Add sliced mushrooms and cook about 6 minutes, or until mushrooms are full cooked.
  3. Add cooked spaghetti squash and cubed chicken breast to oil and toss until well coated.
  4. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until chicken and spaghetti squash are completely warmed; turn off heat and toss with lemon juice.
  5. Serve immediately; makes 3 big servings. (YUM!)

Nutrition Information for Plain Spaghetti Squash

Technically, a serving of spaghetti squash is 1/2 cup–although many people will prefer to eat  a cup or two at a time, if they really love it!  Ingredients per serving are:.

  • 42 calories
  • 0 grams fat
  • 28 mg sodium
  • 10 grams carbs: 2 grams fiber, 4 grams sugars
  • 1 gram protein

So with barely 40 calories per half cup, you can have 2 cups–about as much spaghetti noodles as most people consume in a sitting–for only about 160 calories! Believe me, this makes a nice-sized pile of food on your plate, and it’s all veggies!

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