It’s true: There IS a healthier way to eat your favorite pasta dish — with spaghetti squash instead of empty carb-rich spaghetti. But before you get too excited, know that spaghetti squash doesn’t have the same texture, taste, or general mouth-feel as spaghetti. But! It does taste neutral enough — and act enough like spaghetti — to be a very respectable substitute! Here’s what you need to know.
How to find a good one:
When shopping for spaghetti squash, look for hard fruit that is heavy for its size, about eight to nine inches in length and four to five inches in diameter with a pale even color. Avoid any squash with soft spots or a greenish color. The average four-pound spaghetti squash will yield about five cups of “noodles.”
How to cook one:
There are several methods, but I prefer baking (even though it takes a bit longer).
- Bake it: Preheat your oven to 375. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and place it rind-side up on a baking sheet or dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash is tender and you can easily scrape out the noodles with a fork.
- Boil it: Heat a pot of water large enough to hold the whole squash. When the water is boiling, drop in the squash and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size. When a fork goes easily into the flesh, the squash is done.
- Microwave it: Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place squash cut sides up in a microwave dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover it with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on size of squash. Add more cooking time if necessary. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then scrape out the noodles.
What to serve with one:
Anything you would serve with regular spaghetti/pasta! A few of my faves:
- Spaghetti squash with bolognese sauce
- Squash angel hair with greens, pine nuts, and golden raisins
- Spaghetti squash casserole with ricotta and spinach
But seriously, go nuts with pesto, alfredo, etc. It has such a neutral flavor, you really can’t mess it up! One more incredible idea for the road: Mix the squash noodles with the same proportion of real noodles to boost health but maintain a similar pasta texture.