Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

If you follow my blog, you know that I started cooking family meals in my teens. When I moved out on my own, I enjoyed exploring different foods and cuisines. After I married, my husband and I enjoyed trying different dishes, including each other’s family recipes. But cooking really got interesting when we chose to eat a healthier diet.

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Weekend Warriors … of a Different Sort

We rarely dined out and were never part of the fast food nation, so I already cooked most meals. Every weekday, we kept things low fat, low carb, and low or no sodium. Weekends we could eat whatever we wanted. It worked well. 

This dietary shift prompted my exploration of new cooking methods and flavors. It’s when I first learned that boiled meats could be tender and tasty. I learned how reducing and eliminating sodium from recipes openened up a world of flavor through other seasonings, herbs and spices. It’s also when I learned that vegetables could substitute for other foods, like pasta.

A Brief History of Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is one such pasta substitute. It originated in the Americas and was first found in China in 1850. It made its way to Japan, and some years later, seeds were marketed. The squash has been found in stir frys and used as a pasta substitute ever since. It’s a low calorie, low sodium, low carb, gluten-free food that has a slightly sweet flavor and a crunchy texture. 

Preparing Spaghetti Squash

When preparing spaghetti squash, it takes more prep time than boiling spaghetti noodles, but the extra work is worth it … and it’s fun! And although it’s a little more work, the work is simple and straightforward.

I boil them, but you can also steam or bake them. Steaming takes longer. Baking requires you to cut the hard squash open. For boiling, you’ll need a pot big enough to cover the squash with water to boil. You boil the squash until a fork easily pierces into its flesh. Remove it and let it cool. 

Cut it in half. It really doesn’t matter which way you cut it open. Remove the seeds and strands in the middle opening of the squash. Once you’ve removed this part, the fun begins—and I love when preparing food feels like playing with food. 

Using a fork, grab the flesh on the edge of the squash and pull it toward the center. It’s like unravelling spaghetti noodles from the sides of the squash. A large squash will yield a good amount of “noodles” to use in lieu of pasta. 

Dining Ideas for Spaghetti Squash

I’ve used this squash as a substitute for pasta with my Spinaci al Formaggio e Pepe and Simple Marinara. I’ve topped it with marinara and a fried egg for breakfast. I think the squash and egg would have been great with sriracha or chorizo as well. It would work with Cherry Red Marinara. Over the years, I’ve used spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute with meatballs and Italian sausage in marinara. I’ve not yet used it in a stir fry, but now that I’ve learned a little more about this fun winter squash, I’m interested in exploring additional uses. 

Spaghetti squash is easy to cultivate, and I’ve gardening on my mind these days. There is something magical about food you’ve grown yourself … taking it from your garden right into your kitchen and preparing a fresh meal. It somehow deepens the love embodied in cooking.

“The explanation is that I consider cooking to be an act of love. I do enjoy the craft of cooking, of course, otherwise I would not have done so much of it, but that is a very small part of the pleasure it brings me. What I love is to cook for someone. To put a freshly made meal on the table, even if it is something very plain and simple as long as it tastes good and is not a ready-to-eat something bought at the store, is a sincere expression of affection, it is an act of binding intimacy directed at whoever has a welcome place in your heart. And while other passions in your life may at some point begine to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do.” 

—Marcella Hazan
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Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is an oval master of disguise. But when unmasked, it reveals the meaning behind its name, as noodle-like strands of flesh emerge from the vegetable with a gentle pull of a fork. Tasty, crunchy, versatile, and fun to cook!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Chinese, Fusion, Italian
Keyword spaghetti squash, squash, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cool 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Author Lisa Kamolnick / Food Passages

Ingredients

  • 1 Large spaghetti squash
  • 8 C Water for boiling water should completely cover squash, so adjust as needed

Instructions

  • Pour water into large stock pot.
  • Rinse squash, place in water and bring to boil.
  • Continue boiling until a fork easily pierces the skin of the squash.
  • Remove from water and cool.
  • Once cooled to the touch, cut the squash in half.
  • Remove seeds and fleshy bits in the center of the squash.
  • Using a fork, gently pull at flesh of the squash from edge to center. Spaghetti-like strands will break loose. Continue until all of the flesh has unravelled.
  • Use in lieu of spaghetti or other noodles.

Notes

Serving Suggestions
Serve with a marinara or Alfredo sauce or in Cacio e Pepe. Use in stir frys.  Season with salt and pepper along with paprika or a hotter ground pepper or with oregano and basil (experiment with flavors!) then drizzle in oil or butter.
Simple Marinara over spaghetti squash topped with fried eggs.