Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

One of my absolute favorite vegetables of all-time is spaghetti squash.  It is mild, yet slightly creamy and a little al dente at the same time.  It isn't as strong as a hubbard, butternut or acorn squash (it is more light and nutty) and has the most fascinating fibers that look just like noodles!

My young kids absolutely love this veggie right along with me.  If I put a little butter and "sprinkle cheese" (aka Parmesan cheese) on it, they go nuts - because it tastes like macaroni and cheese to them.

Spaghetti Squash

  • Spaghetti squash is high in Vitamin C and also has Vitamin A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and Vitamin K.  
  • It also contains a fairly high amount of manganese, a mineral that aids in bone and tissue health, metabolism, blood sugar, absorption of calcium and nervous system functions.  It also has calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, iron and selenium, all of which are critical in our diets.
  • Spaghetti squash also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids!  Those fats are good for preventing diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, inflammation, amongst many other things.
  • One cup of cooked spaghetti squash only has 42 calories (if you do not add oil), which makes it a perfect alternative to starchy potatoes or regular pasta.  It has a fair amount of fiber, which helps make you feel fuller longer and let's face it - the texture is pretty darn cool too!

Spaghetti Squash - Ready To Eat!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Yields: About 6-8 cups (depending on the size of the squash)

2 medium-large sized Spaghetti Squash
Olive Oil (not extra-virgin) or Grapeseed Oil, as needed
Sea Salt, to taste
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut each spaghetti squash in half (or quarter them if they are very large).  Be very careful when cutting spaghetti squash as it tends to have a very thick outside skin.  Make sure to use a very sharp knife or a heavy duty serrated bread knife if all else fails.  Scrape seeds out of the squash.  **You may save the seeds and bake later if desired.

Bake at 350 Degrees F
Spaghetti-Like Fibers - Raw
Halved Spaghetti Squash

Line a baking tray with foil.  Place split spaghetti squash on the foil, cut side up.  Drizzle each half with oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper.  You may also add fresh minced garlic or any herb of your choice at this point.

Seal Tightly With Foil
Drizzle with Oil, Salt & Pepper
Cover squash and entire baking tray tightly with foil.  **I buy the large industrial foil rolls at my local wholesale club, as it tends to not rip easily and is large enough to wrap around my baking sheets.

Bake for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the squash.  Check every 30 minutes or so.  Be careful when checking the squash as the steam will be very hot when removing the foil.

The squash will be done when you can run a fork into the flesh and it easily pulls away from the side of the shell.  If it is still hard or your fork does not easily pierce the flesh, cover with foil and continue baking.

Run Fork Through Roasted Flesh
Finished Product
When squash has finished baking, remove from oven, remove foil and let cool slightly.  Using a fork, run the tines down the side of the flesh - creating the spaghetti-like strands.  Serve immediately, refrigerate or portion into bags and freeze.

Alternate Recipes:
  • Once cooked, sprinkle with goat cheese and fresh (or dried) herbs such as dill, thyme or rosemary.  This adds a creamy, earthy note to this fabulous veggie.  
  • Sprinkle with feta cheese, sliced kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil and oregano to make a Mediterranean version of this side dish.
  • Sprinkle with goat cheese, toasted sliced or slivered almonds and dried cranberries (without added sugar). Yum!
  • You may also steam or boil the spaghetti squash, however, I prefer the taste of roasted.  It helps the natural sugars caramelize, leaving a slightly sweeter product.  Boiling will leach out a lot of the nutrients.
  • To help bring out more of a full-flavored roasted taste, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.  This will deepen the color and caramelize the sugars more thoroughly, giving a sweet and nutty roasted taste. 

**Why use sea salt when cooking? Sea salt is all natural, derived from the ocean and does not have any additives.  Table salt can have up to 2.5% chemicals, including aluminum! Aluminum in recent studies has been one of the items found in the brains of patients with Alzheimers. 

**To bake spaghetti squash seeds (or pumpkin seeds):  Rinse thoroughly in cold water.  Let drain.  Sprinkle with sea salt and toss together.  On a pan sprayed, foil-lined baking tray, spread seeds out in one flat layer.  Bake in a 300 degrees F oven for about 45 minutes or until seeds start to lightly brown, feel drier and lighter.

Nutrition Facts:
1 cup roasted spaghetti squash with about 1/2 tsp. oil per serving

Calories: 62   Carbs: 10g   Fat: 2g   Protein: 1g  Sugar: 3g


  1. I absolutely love spaghetti squash. I combine it with fresh homemade spaghetti squash and shrimp. MM!

    The Nautical Owl

    I'm a happy new follower!

    1. Sounds delish Megan! So glad to hear I'm not the only one who loves this veggie! Happy to hear that you are following my new blog! Hope you continue to enjoy - and if you have any suggestions for future post topics, please let me know :)

    2. I found the recipe on Pinterest and am making the squash for dinner tonight and since I'm posting about foods high in nutrition this week on my blog ,I posted some of the nutrition facts and a link to your page for the recipe. Can't waite to eat it.

    3. Thanks 5minutesforme! I really appreciate the share! What is the name of your blog? I'd love to check it out. Hope dinner turns out awesome! Happy cooking! :)

    4. I would recommend placing squash face down in a little water with foil over top. maybe 1 hour cook time. i have never found cooking squash without a bit of water works.

    5. There are tons of ways to cook spaghetti squash - you can boil it, steam it, even wrap in foil and place on the grill- yum! :) This method also works for any type of squash. As long as the foil is tight around your pan, you won't need water (although you can use it if you want), as there is enough water in the squash to steam itself. If the foil has a hole in it or if it isn't tightly wrapped, the steam will escape and will not do its job correctly (the squash will dry out too). You need the steam for the majority of the cooking time to cook the squash through, then the last 15 minutes or so you can remove the foil & deepen the color & caramelize the sugars & roast without foil. That's why I buy the good heavy duty foil in the enormous rolls. I haven't found a better foil that actually seals the moisture in.