Spaghetti squash is a unique vegetable and a great choice for winter meals. When cooked, the noodle like strands lend themselves to a variety of sauces and spaghetti squash is significantly lower in calories and carbohydrates and higher in fiber and nutrients than spaghetti pasta.
When selecting spaghetti squash at the market, look for hard, dense vegetables that feel heavy with no soft spots or bruises.
Now that you know that spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta and you’ve lugged one home from the store, what do you do with it?
How To Prepare The Squash:
1 spaghetti squash — 2 ½ – 3 lbs
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Halve the squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of each half.
Arrange the squash in a baking dish, with the cut sides facing down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
Run a fork through the flesh to separate the spaghetti like strands.
At this point the spaghetti squash can be topped with a marinara sauce, zucchini and onions, a mushroom sauce, a sausage ragu, or anything else you can dream up.
Here are two of our family favorites:
Spaghetti Squash With Garlic and Olive Oil
This recipe is excellent as a side dish.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
Cooked spaghetti squash, (instructions above)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the garlic — after about a minute — stir in the squash and parsley and season to taste with crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Toss together over medium heat until the squash is infused with the garlic and oil and heated through, 6 to 8 minutes.
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
This makes a great main dish.
1/3 cup bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, divided
Two 26-28 oz containers Italian crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Snipped fresh basil
Cooked spaghetti squash (instructions above)
For the meatballs:
Place bulgur in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur; let stand about 20 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.
Add egg, ground meat, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. Mix to combine. Shape into 1-inch meatballs.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
(You can also bake the meatballs while the squash is cooking to save energy.)
For the sauce:
Preheat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, the remaining salt and the remaining 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.
Simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Add meatballs and simmer 5 minutes.
Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti squash strands. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.