The Delicious Spaghetti Squash
By Carmen Martin
Spaghetti Squash has become one of my favorites of the squash family. I remember as a child being fascinated at how this hard ugly squash would turn into noodles after it was baked.
As an adult, I have recently embraced spaghetti squash as a new friend in my journey of good health and vitality. Having been encouraged by my midwife to reduce or eliminate the gluten in my diet for a time, I naturally thought of this humble vegetable as a delicious alternative to pasta.
This winter squash is a wonderful keeper that will last many weeks after picking. This means that whether you choose to grow your own and store your harvest, or to purchase your squash from the grocery store throughout the winter, you can have access to this winner most of the year.
One cup of spaghetti squash has a mere 31 calories (compared to about 175 calories in a cup of whole grain pasta). It also has 0.6 grams of fat, 17 mg of sodium, 109 mg of potassium, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 0.6 grams of protein, and 1.5 grams of fiber.
Perhaps the easiest way to prepare spaghetti squash is this: Cut the squash in half. Pierce it in a couple places. Scoop out the seeds in the middle, and place both halves face down in a pan with a little water in it. The water helps the squash not to dry out, but you don’t want it “soaking” in water while it bakes. You may need to add water as it evaporates while baking. You can put it on tinfoil too for easy clean up. Bake at 350 for an hour or until squash is soft. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Scoop the squash into another dish, and use a fork to separate the spaghetti-like strands. Top with browned butter, and fresh herbs as desired. You could also sauté some garlic in with the butter before topping the squash. Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top is good, too.
Another way I have been making it is to bake the squash as directed above. While it’s baking, sauté finely chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, peppers, or whatever combination of veggies you choose. You can also add shrimp or chicken, or fresh herbs if you like. Stir and cook until the veggies are soft and the meat, if used, is cooked through. Stir in your favorite white Alfredo sauce, and keep warm. When the squash is soft, take it out of the oven. Turn them right side up on a cookie sheet. Using a fork, pull all the squash strands into the center, and carefully pour the sauce into the cavity. Mix gently until well combined. The squash half should be pretty level full. Top with parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese, and broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted. This is our current favorite way to enjoy this vegetable. My husband, who is a pasta lover and squash…um….unlover?? ☺….says this recipe is a keeper!!
Another recipe I found, from Now Foods, sounds delicious. I haven’t tried it yet, but I might the next time I’m looking for something “new” for supper!
You will need:
- 2 T Olive oil
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T bread crumbs,
- 2 T finely chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Also freshly grated Parmesan, and a 3# spaghetti squash.
Bake the squash as directed above. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool until you can handle it, then cut in half lengthwise, and allow to cool some more. Scoop out the flesh from half of the squash, and place in a bowl. Run a fork through the flesh to separate the strands. You should have about 4 cups of squash. (Use some squash from the other half if necessary). Set aside the other half for another dish.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic and bread crumbs. When they begin to sizzle and smell fragrant and the breadcrumbs are crisp — after about a minute — stir in the squash and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss together over medium heat until the squash is infused with the garlic and oil and heated through; 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a warm serving dish, top with freshly grated Parmesan and serve.
© 2014. Recipe used by permission of NOW foods. This recipe can be found at http://www.now-university.com/Library/HealthyRecipes/Entrees/081355.htm