Vegan Cuts

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

cooked-spaghetti-squash-02

Last week, the grocer had spaghetti squash on sale.  I thought that since I’m trying to be a well rounded food blogger and all, I ought to give’em a whirl.  Silly me, a half hour before dinner I started wondering how I was suppose to cook it.  I gave my friends in Twitterland and Facebookville a shout out for directions.  I got back instructions for baking up to an hour.  That wouldn’t do.  I decided to go with the directions on the sticker stuck onto the squash.  Talk about BASIC and FAST.

spaghetti-squash-sticker

HERE’S WHAT I DID

First, I cut the squash open and scooped out the seeds with a melon ball tool.  A melon ball tool is THE BEST tool for this job.  It’s practically effortless.
I saved the seeds and baked them the same way as I did the roasted pumpkin seeds.

cleaning-squash

Next, I found a microwaveable dish that would hold the cut squash and covered the bottom with water.  I nuked the squash for 12 minutes on HIGH power.

cooking-squash-in-microwave

Ever so carefully, I removed the dish from the microwave and allowed it cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.  I still needed an oven mitt when it came time to scrap the squash.  These babies really know how to hold their heat.

Because I cut the squash lengthwise, the strands were actually cut in half and shorter.  I instantly figured out that for a longer strand, I would have to cut across the equator.  I didn’t make that up, I got that term somewhere else.

cooked-spaghetti-squash

All it takes is a fork to scrap perpendicular to the strands and they come out so easily.

I HIGHLY, HIGHLY Recommend transferring the strands to a strainer or sieve before plating.  The strands release water after being removed.  This would probably be a good time to season them with salt & pepper, drizzle with a tasty flavored oil, something.

I had already cooked up what’s becoming my family’s FAY VOR RIGHT homemade tomato sauce.  Poured the sauce over the squash, topped with fresh parmesan cheese and we were chowing down!

spaghetti-squash-with-tomato-sauce

Now, it’s your turn.  You tell me how I could have made this spaghetti squash have more flavor.



Did you see these?

  • http://frantichomecook.com Francie

    Jill,

    I’m with ya on the taste thing. I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried, to really like this stuff but nada, nope, nothing. It’s the bland leading the bland.

    The only way I’ve found to make this stuff good is to hide it in casseroles or cover it with a yummy sauce like you did. Wish things this good for you tasted like chocolate, don’t you?

    Francie

  • http://www.solaisphoto.com Kara

    Jill – I cook with spaghetti squash all the time, not because it has any fantastic unique flavor, but because it’s pretty good at absorbing the flavors of other stuff and I can sub it for pasta on some evenings and get an extra serving of veggies in. I wouldn’t say I adore the stuff, but it has it’s uses. :)

    Definitely strain it after cooking and then toss it with some salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. I also toss it with pesto sometimes. You can also slightly under-cook it and then throw it in a frying pan with some oil, spices and mixed veggies for a sort of all veggie primavera/stir fry. Or try doing the same with curry powder.

    Like I said, I just use it as a base … and it nicely absorbs other flavors, while giving a good crunchy veggie texture.

  • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

    Francie, I think Kara has some great ideas here. I’m totally willing to try spaghetti again under new directions. I haven’t seen any recipes mention stir fry.

    I’m glad we can be honest here, not every food can be the most delicious ever. Right?

    Thank you Kara, for the other ideas. Francie, what recipes should I avoid completely?

  • KCJill

    Maybe I am strange but I LOVE spaghetti squash! I toss the strands with olive oil (or butter), salt, pepper, lots of parmesan cheese, and a dash of nutmeg.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      Good morning KCJill!

      I haven’t known you long enough to agree if you’re strange. ;D
      Give me time.

      What is your favorite way to cook it? I want details here.

    • Sylke

      Guess I’m weird too! I love spagetti squash with butter and a little sea salt. Adding sauces, oils, and other flavorings is just a plus.

      • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

        I have come to love spaghetti squash these days. I really dig it with a chunky vegetable tomato sauce.

  • KCJill

    Started eating this while trying to cut carbs and even my 4 year old loves it but still haven’t sold to my 6 year old on it.

    I halve it and put it cut side down in a pan with 1/2 inch of water and bake in the oven at 350 until soft (about 40 min). Like the flavor better than microwave. Then scrape the strands into a bowl and toss with butter or olive oil, salt/pepper and a good couple handfuls of parmesan cheese and little sprinke of nutmet.

    Great side dish versus rice, pasta or potatoes.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      I need to roast it, to learn the difference.

  • http://GreatCooksCommunity.com Charles@GreatCooksCommunity.com

    This made a nice substitute for spaghetti. I would definitely like to have this again. We might need some extra buttery garlic bread to go on the side though, just to keep it balanced :)

  • Gerald

    Let me tell you what I do with them.
    I usually bake the squash lay it out
    fluff it up and dump a large Wendys
    chile over it and whalaa.The chile
    works wonders with the Squash.Quick easy and a hoot.Skip Italy.Think
    Cincinnati.Tell Wendys you want some onions and shredded cheese on the side.

  • http://www.freshrecipe.com Fresh Recipe

    Totally agree about the bland taste / flavor, but this is one vegetable that’s been on my list of things to “make use of”.

    I like your fresh preparation and how well you’ve served it up (dressed very nicely). My recipe is slightly different… in completely different. It’s not even the same dish lol

    I’ve gone with a more exotic approach – bit of an Indian spin, using lots of fresh vegetables as part of the recipe.

    Finely Chopped Onion, simmered in Veg oil, till its almost just a sauce. Drop in some Tumeric powder (half tea spoon), one tea spoon of curry powder and let it simmer a bit more before adding a tea cup of water.

    Drop in cubed pieces of the squash and add either prawns or Red Fish.

    Let it cook for about 20mins to 30 mins. Finally add some fresh coriander and serve with rice.

    That’s a lot of flavor for something so bland! Best I could do. It tastes a lot nicer than it may sound… give it a go.

  • Roxanne

    When Spaghetti squash is microwaved or boiled, it is gross. It is soggy, mushy, and flavorless. That was how my mother cooked it.

    I, however, bought a squash with different directions on it. It said to preheat the oven to 375. You slice the squash in half (long-ways) and spread some olive oil on a baking sheet. Spoon out the seeds (I found a grapefruit knife works wonderfully), and place the squash cut side down on the sheet. Bake for an hour. Remove the stringy tenderness from the shell with a fork. The oil it was baked on, with salt and pepper is enough seasoning for me.

    I found that roasting it like this (without water) is the most flavorful way to cook spaghetti squash. It browns the edges and brings out its natural sweetness. It is SOOO good.

  • http://weight-watchers-points-recipes.blogspot.com/ Gina's WW Recipes

    Jill, I never tried it microwaved, when I bake it in the oven for 1 hour at 400º it's never mushy or watery. As far as taste, it is pretty bland it does soak up the flavor of watever sauce you use. It's low in calories and carbs which is why I love it! If you are on weight watchers it's 0 pts for 1 cup.

  • Randi

    I usually go the acorn squash style sweet route with any squash. I am the only one who eats it, and I can eat one for two meals. With SPaghetti squash the salt pepper and butter route works well also. Sometimes a little parm also. I know I am abusing this healthy food, but I really just use it as a base for whatever bad flavor I am craving.

  • queendiva

    I am cooking Spaghetti Squash for the first time. I boiled it ( I had read this site yet, next time I'll do it the right way to retain as much flavor as possible) and after reading your comments I tasted it and it wasn't too bad. I was going to add ground beef and make a casserole but since we try to eat two all vegetable meals a week, I decided to forego the meat and see how it tastes without it. I am adding sauteed onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic and celery. We are on a low sodium diet so I am using oregano, basil, cayenne and no salt all purpose seasoning. Then I'm going to toss it with some Cheddar Cheese and bake it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  • http://afrogladycreation.blogspot.com Karyn Campbell

    I actually love the spaghetti squash and it tends to take on whatever flavor you infuse it with so spice it up and you have a wonderful lite and flavorful dish!
    Karyn Campbell
    Ohio
    Email Subscriber

  • Karen

    Agreed. Not a lot of flavor, but there are some great benefits! My hubby was 60 when diagosed with diabetes. Then a couple years later other health issues brought to light that he could no longer eat any wheat, barley, or rye (no gluten). So – bring on the meaty, tasty sauce and don’t forget the parmesan!!

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      I need to give spaghetti squash another whirl with a meatier sauce. It certainly needs a substantial partner on the plate.

  • http://gotgraphic.com Mark

    Just googled this page…

    I love Spaghetti Squash. I think it has a slightly sweet flavor (all by it’s self) and a wonderful texture. I’ve never eaten it like pasta. I always eat it baked or microwaved (for about 15 minutes) and with butter and salt and thats it.

    I will also make a brown-sugar dressing (1/3 cup REAL brown sugar and 1/3 stick butter) and pour over the cut up (into cubes) squash and then nuke it for a few more minutes (and then there’s a liquid gravy-sort in the bottom of the dish that you can pour over other foods). It’s fabulous.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      Hi Mark!
      First, thanks for letting me know how you found me, Google is great source.

      Second, I had not considered eating spaghetti squash with a brown sugar syrup over it. That’s how I enjoy my sweet potatoes, or sweet tators, depending on where you come from. Thank you for the idea!

      Does anyone else eat their spaghetti squash this way?

  • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

    Thank you Randi!
    There is nothing wrong with the way you eat spaghetti squash. It seems to be the preferred arrangment. So long as you are enjoying the flavors of real food and you're eating your fruits & veggies, you can't go wrong.

    Have fun today!
    Jill

  • Orphy345

    I’m a newbie to spaghetti squash, but I roasted it in the oven at 400 for about an hour. Scraped it out, drizzled it with some olive oil. Tossed in a little garlic, salt, and pepper. Topped it off with some feta cheese and diced tomatoes. I thought it was delicious! :o)

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      Well Orphy, now you’ve done it. I’m hungry. ;D
      Alright, I’ve read enough to go buy another squash. I’ll roast it in the oven and see what I get. I think I’ll try a thicker sauce loaded with vegetables just for good measure.

  • Mardi

    I really like the taste of spaghetti squash. Besides just putting spaghetti sauce on it, we like it tossed with a bit of butter, garlic and parmesean, or pesto sauce. I’ve used it in a lasagna in place of the noodles and it turned out sooooooooo good. You have to adjust your baking time on that of course, it doesn’t take nearly as long to bake. I use it pretty much like I would use any pasta in a recipe. Because it doesn’t really have much of a taste on it’s own, it’s great to absorb whatever flavors you pair it with. Please, please, try it again!

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      You’re right, I know you’re right. I’ve got to make it again.

  • sherri

    My kids and I love this stuff. We eat it everyday. My daughter is asking for it before we get out of the car, when I pick her up from school.Yes, she’s normal. At work I cook A whole one in the microwave. I eat half and save the other half for the kids( hey we got to save time somewhere. Why not cook half of your dinner at work if you can?)Anyway, we sautee some fresh veggies and herbs, add what ever sauce we have, make a light mixed green salad and tea.SOUP’s on.We are more than satisfied. Once a week we may add a little reduced fat cheese(yummy). My friends love it too. I even made some for my boss’s daughter and I still have a job. Her words:”Delightful and tasty” and I wasn’t trying but lost 10lbs by use this pasta replacement.Which wasn’t what we going for. And yes we eat meat but not much anymore because the squash is sooooooooooo GOOD. LOVE IT.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      Good morning Sherri!
      I get the feeling you’re a high energy gal. ;D And I like the way you think! So efficient, cooking ahead from work. Genius!
      What other tricks do you keep up your sleeves?

  • Ana

    Hello Jill,

    We got inspired in a recipe we found in food&wine. after cutting the squash add some butter and herbs: we tried sage, basil and oregano, all three are great. you can stuck the butter and herbs under the squash “meat”. After cook, add some more butter if needed, salt and pepper, Parmesan (or Pecorino), nuts (specially walnuts) are good too. I think once we added some garlic when baking. And, we used the good and old oven. It definitely taste better.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      I have got to try that! It sounds scrumptious. THANK YOU, Ana!

  • Affenbart

    As far as I am concerned, @Roxanne above nailed it. ROAST or BAKE the squash, no water involved. 30 minutes at 375 or 40 at 350. It comes out tasting like butternut or acorn squash but very mild. You can enhance that similarity with butter/brown sugar, or add savory ingredients like tomato sauce. Be creative. I like to make a sauce using butternut squash soup mixed with some tomato-based spaghetti sauce, keeps a nice light squash flavor going and it’s delicious.

  • http://Google terri

    I have never tried spaghetti squash, so thought I’d Google it. After looking at the responses, this web-site had the most, varied responses on how to cook the squash. Thanks!! Now, onto trying spaghetti squash!

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      You are welcome, Terri!

  • donna

    I just baked one, then fried up some onions and bacon bits in a bit of butter, threw in the squash, salt and pepper and some parmesan and man, that stuff was good. I think I overcooked the squash as it was pretty mushy, so next time I’ll under-bake it a bit before I throw it in with the onions, etc.
    Bacon and cheese…makes everything delicious. :)

  • Aliciea

    I recently discovered spaghetti squash and I LOVE IT! But, I roast mine at 375 degrees for about 45 mins or so until a fork pokes in softly and almost every time, it turns out mushy/watery!! Can anyone please tell me what I am doing wrong?? I cut it in half, scrape out the seeds & guts, then rub a little olive oil on the meat, hit it with sea salt & cracked black pepper and turn it cut side down onto a baking sheet. I also throw a couple of whole cloves of garlic underneath. The edges do sometimes get slightly browned, but the skin is soft and anything except the browned edges are mushy! Any advice is greatly appreciate…..and I’m using it in place of spaghetti and my kids (fussiest in the world!) have not even noticed!

    • Cecee

      I believe the salt may be drawing water out of the squash. So, maybe
      holding the salt until after cooking will help with the consistency.

  • Sassix

    I either under cook it slightly and prepare it as coleslaw with an oil-vinegar-dry mustard-splenda dressing, or you can google any of the Asian rice noodle sweet desserts and make substitutions there.

    I often just toss it with oil-cumin-dill-salt-pepper. I expect you could add any pre-packaged powder flavours too. Like Greek or Tex Mex.
    Very versatile food.

  • Stacy

    I stumbled across this discussion on spaghetti squash and thought, “Hey, why not? I’ll give it a try.” For my personal tastes, I think Roxanne’s suggestion to roast the squash in olive oil is simply amazing (1 hour @ 375). This was my first time dealing with spaghetti squash and it turned out deliciously! The edges of the squash were browned and sweet and the insides had sort of a soft crunch – definitely not soggy! We topped it with a homemade spaghetti sauce. Even my kids (all under 3) ate it with no complaints.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      AWESOME, Stacy!
      I’m with you. Nowadays, I roast my spaghetti squash in the oven and slip a handful of garlic cloves under the flesh side down squash. Then, I smash the roasted garlic into soften butter and spread it on French bread. While that oven is still hot, I toast up the garlic bread until it’s lightly golden around the edges.
      So Good!

  • JaneG

    Googled this page as I was preparing my spaghetti squash – best comments on preparation that I found. Thanks to all you wonderful people who took time to share your experiences. I microwaved for 3 minutes to soften the squash to make cutting easier, then I put half in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes and half in the microwave for 7 minutes. The oven-baked half is definitely tastier and drier than the microwaved half, so the oven method will be my method of choice from now on. Think I’ll add the garlic cloves underneath next time – great idea. Years ago I did it in the oven with water in the pan, and I think I cooked it too long and it got mushy. So no water in the pan, maybe a little olive oil spray, and shorter cooking time made it turn out just right! Thanks for your help :-)

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      I love that you tested both methods, JaneG! What a smart woman!

  • Lynsey

    My favorite way…cut in half, seed, spread butter around inside cavity and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and if you like garlic, crush up a clove or two and rub into butter. Wrap each half in foil and place on Barbeque, the time will depend on the size, open foil and check with a fork. Enjoy!! So delicious!!

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      ON THE GRILL! That’s a great idea, Lynsey! I have to try that with the next squash I buy. Some time back, I started roasting the squash in the oven, cut side down. However, I tucked several cloves of garlic in the hollow squash cave while it cooked. I smash half of the garlic into whatever sauce I’m using and use the other cloves for spreading on home baked bread or wheat crackers.

      I’m thinking I could fill each squash cavity with garlic, wrap them in foil, then use your grilling technique to roast them up right.

      Oh my word, my mouth just started watering.

  • Andy

    I have always cooked spaghetti squash via baking in the oven. I just cooked it this evening with a spaghetti sauce with 97% lean beef that I slow cooked.

    I have always set the timer for 1hr @ 400deg and it has up until tonight come out nice and fluffy with long strands. Tonight I got mush and I am perplexed as to what might have happened.

    If any of you an chime in, I would be greatly appreciative.

    ~Andy

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      My first thought, Andy, is that the squash wasn’t a good one.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      Ha! I agree, Patty! I have to get my best chef’s knife out to cut them open.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      I’ll tell ya, Annette, I wasn’t completely sold on spaghetti squash the first time I ate it. After trying it several times, I learned what type of sauces went best with it. THEN I loved it. ;D

  • Mel Firestone

    I love spaghetti squash, and all other squash, plain. No added butter, salt or pepper, or anything else to alter the flavor of it. I have always been a little weird in the way that I love the natural flavors of fruits and veggies.
    I also love spaghetti squash soup.
    The only limits to this soup is the imagination.
    1/2 cooked spaghetti squash
    1/2 cooked acorn squash
    1/4 c. butter
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 small onion diced/minced
    2 c. milk
    1/2 c. sour cream
    salt and pepper to taste.

    Saute the onions in butter in a medium or large pot. Add all other ingredients and cook on low, stirring often, until the squash is creamy.

    Other family members add cooked sausage, peppers, tomatoes, butternut squash, corn, peas, green beans, or whatever else sounds good at the time.

    • http://www.simpledailyrecipes.com Jill

      Thank you for sharing this recipe, Mel!

  • funky_man

    Steam it in MWO then stir fry it in a wok like noodles. It should be a mainstream vegetable. Buy/grow some and give them to your friends.