Spaghetti squash is all the rage right now in the world of culinary nutrition, but let's face it: these rock-hard beasts aren't the easiest vegetable to slice into, and more often than not, you end up with short watery strands that barely resemble "spaghetti".
But before you completely give up on spaghetti squash forever, listen up. Today we are sharing everything you need to know to fall in love with this super affordable, nutrient-dense vegetable including how to make the most perfect, long, spaghetti squash noodles every darn time.
Why is Spaghetti Squash So Awesome?
Before we go any further, let's first talk about why spaghetti squash is so awesome, and why we are completely obsessed.
Spaghetti squash is...
- A natural, whole-food alternative to traditional spaghetti noodles
- Affordable. Typically one 4 lb spaghetti squash will result in about 5 cups of noodles, making enough for about 4 to 5 servings.
- In-season. It's usually harvested in the Fall and keeps for months in a cool, dark place.
- Accessible. It's readily available in most grocery stores in North America year-round.
- Nutrient-dense. It's low-calorie, non-starchy and high in fiber. It contains vitamins like vitamin A and C along with various B-complex vitamins. It's also packed with minerals like zinc, calcium, and phosphorus.
- Zero waste. You can eat the flesh, roast the seeds and compost the skin.
You don't need anymore convincing, right?
A whole spaghetti squash will last for months when stored in a cool, dark place. Because spaghetti squash has such a long shelf-life, it makes the perfect vegetable to add to your meal plan later on in the week, after you have used up the ingredients that tend to spoil more quickly.
Once your spaghetti squash has been cut open or cooked, cover it and store it in the fridge for up to three to five days.
How To Slice & Prepare Spaghetti Squash:
For the longest time, I was cutting my squash incorrectly. I'd slice it in half from the root to the base (from end-to-end) which resulted in watery, short strands and not to mention, the near-loss of a finger! Yikes.
I've since learned that the trick to getting long, spaghetti-like noodles is to slice your spaghetti squash into rings through its belly or waist. This is because the strands of the spaghetti squash do not run from one end of the squash to the other. Instead, the strands run in a circular formation. Cutting the squash across its waist leaves the noodles fully intact. On the other hand, when you slice the spaghetti squash in half from end-to-end, you are essentially cutting the noodles in half, and ain't no one got time for short noodles.
Once you've sliced the squash into rings, you can scoop out the seeds.
You might be wondering why I suggest cutting the squash into rings, instead of simply slicing it in half. While both methods work, slicing it into rings better allows the liquid from within the squash to steam off during the cooking process, so you don't end up with super watery noodles.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash:
Now that you have your squash sliced and prepared, it's time to cook it. You can do this in your oven, Instant Pot, microwave or slow cooker.
My personal favorite is to bake the rings of spaghetti squash in the oven. Simply preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC), place the rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Once the rings are finished cooking, simply use a fork to shred the flesh into noodles.
Yep! You can totally cook spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot. If using this method, you may need to use a smaller sized squash to ensure it fits.
Once you've sliced the squash in half through its belly, scoop out the seeds. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top and place the squash on it. It doesn’t matter if they are facing down or up, or even if they are touching one another – as long as they fit and the lid can close.
Once the squash is in the Instant Pot, close the lid and pressure cook for seven minutes, followed by the quick release method. Open the lid, remove the squash and use a fork to shred the flesh into noodles.
Short on time? Cook your spaghetti squash in the microwave! Simply cut the squash in half through the belly, scoop out the seeds and place in a microwave-safe dish, flesh side down, with about an inch of water. Microwave on high for about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool, and then shred the flesh into noodles.
If you can't be bothered to slice the spaghetti squash at all, cooking it in the slow cooker is the method for you! Simply pierce the spaghetti squash all over with a fork, pour about two cups of water into the bottom of your slow cooker, and place the squash inside. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four to six hours. When you remove the squash, cut it in half through the belly and scoop out the seeds. Then simply shred the flesh with a fork and serve.
Delicious Ways to Eat Spaghetti Squash:
Alright, friends! You've now successfully sliced your spaghetti squash (without slicing off a finger) and you've cooked it up. Congratulations. Now for the fun part - eating it!
There are so many ways to eat and enjoy spaghetti squash. You can serve it as you would spaghetti, as a casserole, in a stir-fry or enjoy it plain with butter or olive oil.
Here are a few recipes from That Clean Life to add to your meal plan to use up all that spaghetti squash.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash & Meat Balls
Click here to add Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs to your client’s That Clean Life meal plan.
Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein
Click here to add Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein to your client’s That Clean Life meal plan.
Spaghetti Squash with Lentils & Veggie Tomato Sauce
Click here to add Spaghetti Squash with Veggie Tomato Sauce to your client’s That Clean Life meal plan.
Creamy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Click here to add Creamy Spaghetti Squash Casserole to your client’s That Clean Life meal plan.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti Squash
Click here to add Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti Squash to your client’s That Clean Life meal plan.
So there you have it! Everything you need to know to fall in love with spaghetti squash, over and over again. We'd love to hear your favorite way to use spaghetti squash. Let us know in the comments below!
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