Learning how to bake spaghetti squash in the oven 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.
Ultimate Guide to Tender Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash, with its eye-catching exterior and fascinating interior, has become a staple on both Pinterest boards and dinner tables.
The tender, spaghetti-like strands offer a delightful pairing with almost any main course, providing a healthy and quick alternative to traditional sides.
Baked Spaghetti Squash
- One large, fresh spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
How to cook Spaghetti Squash in Oven
- How long to bake spaghetti squash? Approximately 40 minutes.
Preparation: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Cutting the Squash: Carefully slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise from top to bottom to create two halves.
- If the squash is particularly tough, pierce it with a fork and microwave for 2-3 minutes to soften it slightly, making it easier to cut.
- IF YOU PUT IT IN THE MICROWAVE TO PRESOFTEN, IT CAN GET VERY HOT SO BE CAREFUL WHEN REMOVING.
Scooping Out Seeds: Use a spoon to scrape and discard the seeds from each half.
This step is crucial for preparing the squash to cook evenly.
Seasoning: Drizzle the inside of each squash half lightly with olive oil. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to spread the oil evenly.
Season with salt and pepper, but remember, less is more at this stage to avoid making the squash watery.
Baking: Poke a few holes in the skin of the squash halves with a fork. This can help steam escape and prevent the squash from becoming too soggy. Place the halves, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes. The exact time may vary based on the size of your squash and your oven’s characteristics.
You’re aiming for a tender texture yet still holds some firmness; think “al dente” to avoid mushy and soft strands.
Checking for doneness: Start checking the squash around the 30-minute mark. The squash should be tender enough to pierce with a fork but not so soft that it loses its texture.
- Allow the squash to cool on the pan for a few minutes for easier handling.
- Use a fork to scrape out the squash flesh in strands resembling spaghetti.
- Serve as desired—a simple addition of butter, salt, and pepper works well—or incorporate the squash into your favorite recipes.
Spaghetti Squash in Microwave
- How long to microwave spaghetti squash? Approximately 10 minutes.
The microwave is your go-to method when you need a quick and easy way to cook spaghetti squash. Though it might not offer the same depth of flavor as baking or roasting, it’s perfect as a component in dishes like cream cheese spaghetti squash.
- One spaghetti squash
How to cook Spaghetti Squash in Microwave
Prepare the squash. Begin by scoring the outside of the spaghetti squash. This means making shallow cuts on its surface. Microwave the squash for 2-3 minutes to soften it, making it easier to cut.
Cut and Clean: After the squash is softened, cut it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard all the seeds from each half.
Set Up for Microwaving: Place a glass or microwave-safe dish on the microwave turntable. Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the dish. This will help steam the squash and keep it moist.
Microwave the squash. Place the squash halves in the dish and cut side down (flesh side). Microwave the squash for 5–10 minutes, depending on how soft you like it. The time may vary based on the size of the squash and your microwave’s power.
Check for doneness: Carefully check the squash to see if it’s cooked to your liking. It should be tender, and the strands should separate easily when scraped with a fork.
Serve: Once cooked, let the squash cool slightly before handling. Use a fork to scrape the squash flesh into strands resembling spaghetti.
Microwaving Squash Tips:
- If you’re cooking both halves simultaneously and they don’t fit side by side, you can microwave them one at a time.
- Be cautious when handling the squash after microwaving, as it will be very hot.
This method is a fantastic way to enjoy spaghetti squash without spending much time in the kitchen. Whether incorporating it into a larger recipe or simply enjoying it as a side, microwaved spaghetti squash is a versatile and healthy option.
Tips for Squash Perfection:
- Adjust cooking times based on your texture preferences and squash size. Smaller squashes need less time, while larger ones may need more.
- Experiment with seasoning levels. A lighter touch with the olive oil and seasoning before baking can help maintain the ideal texture and flavor.
- Consider your final dish. If you mix the squash with a sauce or other flavorful components, you might opt for less seasoning during the baking process to balance the overall taste.
Can I make spaghetti squash ahead of time?
Absolutely! Baked spaghetti squash can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven when ready to serve.
What are some excellent toppings for baked spaghetti squash?
Baked spaghetti squash works well with many toppings. Try it with marinara sauce and Parmesan for an Italian flavor, or add some pesto and veggies for a fresh taste.
You can also mix it up with other roasted veggies, mushrooms, or even an egg. Top with olives, mozzarella, and a bit of lemon for a simple twist.
Cook Spaghetti Squash (Oven Baked + Microwave)
- 1 large fresh spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray. Set it aside.
- Prepare the Squash: Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise (from top to bottom) with a sharp knife to create two even halves.
- If the squash is hard to cut, poke it with a fork and microwave for 2-4 minutes, or until it's soft enough to cut. Be careful, as it can get very hot.
- Remove Seeds: Use a spoon to scrape away and discard the seeds from each half of the squash.
- Season: Drizzle olive oil over the cut sides of the squash halves. Use a pastry brush to evenly spread the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake: Place the squash halves face down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Serve: Let the squash cool on the pan for about 5 minutes.Use a fork to scrape the squash flesh out of the shell, creating spaghetti-like strands. Discard the shell.
- Serve the spaghetti squash with a bit of butter, and additional salt and pepper to taste, or use it in your favorite recipe.
- Soften the Squash: Score the squash’s exterior and microwave for 2-3 minutes to make cutting easier.
- Prepare for Cooking: Halve the squash, scoop out seeds, place in a dish with an inch of water, cut side down.
- Microwave: Cook on high for 5-10 minutes, adjusting time based on desired tenderness.
- Check and Serve: Ensure it’s cooked to your liking, let cool slightly, then use a fork to separate the strands and serve.
Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.