Spaghetti squash, pale yellow and awkwardly sized, is the type of veggie that can be easily overlooked in the fall vegetable bin. Its squash cousins – the flashy orange pumpkin, the chubby green acorn and the curvy butternut – draw more attention.
Spaghetti squash is best known as a low-calorie stand in for spaghetti. The comparison is partially correct: When cooked, the squash separates into bright yellow strands that look like (surprise) spaghetti. And spaghetti squash is indeed low calorie – a whole cup of cooked squash is a mere 40 calories and 10 carbs, while a cup of pasta runs about 200 calories and 40 carbs.
Not a “Diet Spaghetti”
Labeling spaghetti squash as a spaghetti substitute, however, is missing the point. The squash does not taste like spaghetti; the chewy shreds have a high water content and a pleasant, sweet flavor. It is enjoyable in and of itself.
Spaghetti squash serves as an excellent base for traditional meatballs and marinara. The sweetness of the squash serves as a perfect counterpoint to the tangy marinara, and the squash strands don’t get mushy. Freshly grated Parmesan adds another layer of flavor.
Leftover unsauced spaghetti squash makes an offbeat side when served with poultry. Heat the squash, then mix in butter, pepper and Parmesan.
Best Way to Cut Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is notoriously hard to cut; the instructions in the recipe make it easier. Readers who have arthritis: Ask the produce manager at the grocery to halve the squash.
Enjoy some underappreciated spaghetti squash!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
- 1 whole spaghetti squash size will vary
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- To taste salt
- To taste fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment or foil. If using foil, spray foil-lined sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Wash and dry squash. Poke holes in squash with fork. (The holes will be shallow because the squash is so hard.)
- Microwave squash for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove squash from microwave, let cool a few minutes. Then, carefully cut squash in half lengthwise; you will need to wiggle the knife in and out of the squash to cut it completely. Tip: When first side is cut, turn over and cut the rest of the squash until it can be pulled in half. NOTE: do not worry if the halves look raggedy, it doesn’t matter.
- Use large spoon to scoop seeds from squash; discard.
- Brush cut sides of squash with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Place squash halves cut side down in pan, roast about 30-40 minutes, or until knife can easily slide through squash. When done, cut edges of squash will look brown.
- Remove from oven and cool until squash can be handled.
- Using two forks, scoop out strands of squash, fluff. Top with butter/margarine, if desired, fluff again, and serve.