The Skinny on Spaghetti Squash

I tried spaghetti squash for the first time around 2003 when I was on one of many low-carb diets.

For a pasta lover like me, a pasta substitute it’s not.

However, it was good on its own merit and I liked it. I’d just as soon consider it a vegetable option rather than a substitute for pasta.

If you have considered trying it but wasn’t sure what to do with it or how to fix it, this will be the post for you.

I’ve even included pictures.

However, don’t expect those amazing food photos where the food is artfully arranged on a beautiful platter and the surroundings are blurred to add artistic drama. These are taken with my Samsung phone and you get what you get!

So, here is what the squash looks like.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

The last time I bought spaghetti squash at the Community Market, I paid $1/lb. The last one I bought at Kroger was $2.29/lb. Even if you have to pay full price, you are getting a decent amount of fresh, whole food for your family.

Not knowing there was an easier way, I spent many years battling with a gigantic knife cutting this sucker in half and baking it. This was a turn off for me and many times I bypassed this scrumptious food option simply because I didn’t want to risk life and limb trying to cut this thing in half.

One day I decided to just bake it whole.

Voila! It worked just as well and it was a piece of cake to cut after cooking. Please don’t try to cut this thing in half before baking it unless you are a skilled ninja swordsperson. I can’t believe I didn’t lose a hand.

Here’s what you do.

Turn your oven dial to 350 degrees.

First, you will want to pierce the squash just like you would a potato you bake or microwave. You don’t want this thing to explode all over your oven. (It’s also a great time to take out frustrations from your nagging boss or gossipy coworkers! Just be careful.)

Pierce the squash all over with a knife to allow steam to escape

Pierce (or stab!) the squash all over with a knife to allow steam to escape.

Secondly, wrap the squash in a foil cocoon. It doesn’t have to be airtight; in fact, I leave a little steam spout in the top.

Foil cocoon around squash with a vented top.

Foil cocoon around squash with a vented top.

Put it in a baking pan or on a cookie sheet for added protection from any moisture that might drip and make it easier getting it in and out of the oven.

Bake it for at least 45-50 minutes. If you have a big squash you could leave it in for as much as an hour and a half.

You almost can’t mess it up.

In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I put one in the oven and forgot about it. THREE hours later I pulled it out. It was still edible.

The night I cooked this one in the pictures, I stuck it in a 325-degree oven (in case I was stuck out in the snow and I needed a little cushion for time) and went down to White Hart for a decaf Americano. See how pretty it was when I left?

White Hart after the snow storm on January 17, 2013.

White Hart after the snow storm on January 17, 2013.

Once you’ve cooked it to your satisfaction, carefully remove it from the oven and unwrap the foil. This one ended up baking for about 2 hours on 325.

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If you don’t need the squash for a meal right away, you can let it cool a bit; it will make it much easier to handle.

Cut the stem end off and discard. Then, cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.

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With a spoon, scoop the seeds and the murky, gooey middle stuff that surrounds the seeds and discard.

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Then, take a fork and slide it upside down starting with the cut side pulling down towards the middle and pull the strands of squash away from the shell.

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You should scrape all the way down to the rind, but do it layer by layer. Put the shredded squash in a bowl as you go.

When it comes to fixing it, I like it simple and easy. I add real butter, Himalayan salt, and cracked black pepper. It makes my mouth happy.

Here is my finished product. I served it with homemade chicken croquettes patties (too lazy to make ahead and do the required one-hour chill for a real croquettes form), and sliced up some of the kiwi we got on sale from Food Lion last week for color and variety.

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Depending on the number of people at your table, this should last for two or three meals as a side dish. For my husband and I, we ate on it for three days. There was one day I think I had a little for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Big bonus for those looking to lose weight: It’s only 42 calories for an entire cup (not including the butter). I found this information on its nutritional properties.

Try it and comment here on how you liked (or disliked) it and how you fixed it. I’d love to hear from you.

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About Rachel

I'm a crocheting bookworm who happens to also be a coffee snob. One of many passions is to learn ways to make healthy food choices without breaking the grocery budget and sharing them with Central Virginia readers.
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3 Responses to The Skinny on Spaghetti Squash

  1. Pingback: Kroger healthy food deals for week of January 20, 2013 | Healthy and Frugal in Virginia

  2. April says:

    Oh my ~ how easy. I agree, I often passed them up because they were hard to fix…and didn’t taste like spaghetti. I’ll try again. I don’t remember if there any at the market last Saturday or not, so I’ll check this Saturday. Great pictures too!

    • Rachel says:

      Once I left behind the idea that the squash was to take the place of pasta, I liked it. Once I discovered cooking it whole and didn’t have to cut through a raw squash, I loved it!

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