Learning how to cook spaghetti squash is so easy that you will wonder how you ever missed putting this right in the oven for a baked side dish that is complimentary to almost every meal you make. Independent to eat on its own or stuffed in a casserole or lasagna, there really is no going wrong with a perfectly seasoned and oven baked squash.
Cooking spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash is both a Pinterest and dinner favorite – it looks beautiful outside and is incredibly unique inside. The delicate strands of spaghetti squash are the perfect compliment to nearly any main dish, and unlike other types of squash that might need hours long roasting sessions to get to the table, you can even whip up spaghetti squash right in the microwave!
If you’ve read about meal planning, you might notice one little squash getting a lot of love. Lately, I just see spaghetti squash everywhere.
As with lots of things, this is for a good reason.
While the health benefits of spaghetti squash and really all squash are remarkable (we’ll get to these in a minute), the true beauty of spaghetti squash is the magical form the interior takes when cooked.
The individual strands break apart into long noodle-like shapes, making it a favorite for those looking to recreate pasta dishes into low carb options.
I love spaghetti squash because I can cook the entire squash in less time than it takes to boil a pot of water and cook regular pasta.
Whether you choose to bake, roast, air fry or cook your squash in the microwave, you’ll get the same lovely golden strands ready for any seasonings and pairings you like. Its also perfect for spaghetti squash lasagna!
How to cook Spaghetti Squash
While I love the microwave for fast spaghetti squash cooking, it just doesn’t give the squash the same flavor as other techniques. When time isn’t as much of a factor (or an intense urgency), my preference is to bake or roast the squash, which is how our recipe is prepped below.
These slower/higher heat options allow the natural sugars in the squash to caramelize, which adds a nutty, warm flavor you just can’t get in the microwave.
That being said, there are days when I just need the side to come to the table. To cook your squash in the microwave, you’ll start just like you would for roasting – cut the squash in half lengthwise.
This can be pretty tricky (and dangerous if you’re not careful!) so take care here.
Some recommend scoring the outside of the squash and then microwaving it for 2 – 3 minutes to soften it up enough for easy cutting.
However, like a baked potato, if left in the microwave for more than say 4 or 5 minutes, there’s a good chance the steam built up inside will cause the entire thing to explode. Even with steam holes, you could blow up your squash.
And no one has time to clean that mess up.
So, once you get the squash cut in half, scoop out all the seeds and discard them. Then take a glass or microwavable safe dish and add about an inch of water to the bottom. Add your squash, flesh side down and microwave until it’s as soft as you’d like – somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.
If you have room, you can microwave both sides at the same time, or alternate.
You’ll notice this cooking technique doesn’t allow you to really add any flavor to the squash while cooking to be sure you take that into account when you season the final dish.
Now onto the real reason you are here, to learn how to make spaghetti squash in the oven!
Baked Spaghetti Squash
This simple recipe is a great way to learn how to make spaghetti squash. It’s as simple as cutting, seasoning and baking! I promise you cannot mess this one up.
- 1 large fresh spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 and add parchment paper to a baking sheet.
Spray cooking spray on the parchment paper. Set aside.
Slice the squash, lengthwise (from top to bottom) with a sharp knife so you have two halves.
Use a spoon to scrap away the seeds and discard.
Drizzle the squash with olive oil and use a pastry brush to spread it on the squash.
Season with salt and pepper.
Repeat with the other half.
Place each half, face down, prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until squash is tender.
Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, before using a fork to scrape the squash out of the cavity.
Discard the shell.
Serve with butter, salt and pepper, or use it in your favorite recipe.
Health benefits of spaghetti squash
The health benefits spaghetti squash offers you are similar to other kinds of squash, but they are so remarkable there is every reason to incorporate squash into your weekly menu.
First, spaghetti squash is low in calories but full of fiber and complex carbohydrates. The fiber both helps regulate your blood sugar, reducing the effect of the carbohydrates, but it also helps you feel fuller while eating less. Fiber is also, as we all know, important for overall digestive health.
The other vitamins and minerals it boasts read something like, well the side of a vitamin bottle – Vitamin A, B, C, E and K. Not to mention potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, selenium, and those vital Omega 3’s and 6’s.
This laundry list works to support cardiovascular health, improve eye health, prevent birth defects, fight inflammation-related diseases like arthritis, and prevent cancer.
Other spaghetti squash recipes
While a little oil and salt and a roast in the oven are perfect for me, don’t stop your experimentation there!
Pair your squash with your other roasted veggie favorites, sautéed mushrooms or even top it with an egg for breakfast.
I love it with olives, fresh mozzarella and a spritz of lemon.
You can also treat it just like pasta – top with your favorite sauce to accompany a pork chop or grilled chicken breast.
You can also bake it into a casserole with spinach, parmesan, and ricotta cheese. This recipe from Rachael Ray makes me literally drool. Coupled with a great main a casserole like this would be perfect to help feed a crowd.
No matter how you do it, a spaghetti squash is certainly a side you should experiment with for your weekly menu!
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