Why bother eating spaghetti squash? Well, besides being delicious, one cup of spaghetti squash provides 2.2g fiber, 10g carbs, 1g protein, and significant amounts of Vitamins C, A, several B vitamins, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. And here's a nice surprise: this winter squash is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (121 mg and 73mg, respectively)! All for only 42 calories per cup. This is one vegetable that is definitely worth trying if you never have.
Spaghetti squash tastes, to me, more like a summer squash than a winter squash. It tastes nothing like acorn squash. When cooked properly it is not hard nor mushy, but holds its shape and texture while being soft and tender. Its flavor is just slightly sweet but overall rather neutral, which makes it a great base for sauces and toppings. And since it looks like spaghetti strands, it makes a great substitute for pasta. But how to prepare it? Well, some people like to bake them or steam them, but I prefer the speed and ease of microwaving. They are really hard to cut when raw, and using this method you do not have to do any hard labor.
First, I take my big, raw squash and cut a hole in it with a knife, like so:
The hole is essential or your squash will blow up in the microwave. Not pretty. Next, put it on a plate and microwave it. How long depends on how big your squash is. Mine was BIG, so it took a total of 14 minutes (high power). A smaller squash might take 8 to 10 minutes. Cook it in intervals; I did mine for 4 minutes, then turn it over, then 4 more minutes, rotate it a bit again, 4 more, rotate, then 2 and it was done. For a smaller squash use 3 minute intervals. I turn the squash (using oven mitts) because the bottom cooks faster than the top, so I flip it a couple times. You can tell when it is done by jabbing a fork into it. If it is hard to jab, keep cooking. It should be tender (but not mushy) all over when it is done. Make sure you poke it on all sides to be sure it is all cooked. This is easier than it sounds.
Now, take it out and cut it in half. The cutting should be VERY easy. If it is hard, cook the squash more. It will look like this:
Nice, soft, pretty yellow strands. Mmmmm. Now, just scrape them out with a fork, like this:
Scrape all the way down to the skin. Put the squash in a bowl. You'll have this:
All ready to eat! You can toss this with a bit of butter or olive oil, salt and pepper and Parmesan and eat it like that. Or you can make your favorite pasta sauce and serve it like spaghetti. Tonight for dinner, I made meatballs from lean, grass fed local beef and simmered them in low sugar spaghetti sauce. Here's a picture of my dinner:
It was SO yummy. I had a side salad with Balsamic vinaigrette with it. The kids had Barilla Plus high fiber, high protein spaghetti with the same sauce & meatballs & lean turkey Italian sausage. No complaints!
Other things that I have put on my spaghetti squash:
sloppy joe meat
light Alfredo sauce
Basically, anything you would put over noodles or rice can go over spaghetti squash. It's much lower calories and carbs than most noodles or rice, tastes great, and is so good for you! You can also make it into fritters or make it into a crust for a dinner pie or pizza (check online for recipes, or maybe I will share some another time!) Great stuff, so versatile.
Are you a convert? I really love this stuff. You gotta try it. Now go eat your veggies!