How To Roast Spaghetti Squash and 12 Healthy Squash Recipes
Spaghetti squash is value eating. I can stuff my face for under 100 calories.
There’s only 31 calories per cup of squash and you get a lot of bang for your buck.
In this season of cookies, candy, booze, and treats at every turn, filling up on vegetables and not Red Velvet Cupcakes is how I avoid the Freshman 15. Or the Holiday Season 15.
If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, I won’t say it tastes just like real spaghetti or angel hair pasta. It’s a vegetable and not a processed grain. But it’s close enough for me, and I prefer it.
I’m not a big pasta person because it leaves me feeling heavy and blah, but every now and then I get a craving for something warm and noodley. Naturally gluten-free spaghetti squash to the rescue.
The noodles have some light texture and a bit of soft crunch in some bites.
Not crunchy overall, but bites of texture here and there, which is probably why I prefer them to regular pasta noodles. Textureless foods bore me.
Because of how flavor-neutral I find it, I combine it with so many other foods as a blank canvas, and can take it savory to spicy to sweet. I’ve listed my favorite ways to use it below. But first you’ve got to make it.
Spaghetti squash are the oval, smooth-skinned, yellow squash in the upper lefthand corner below. I took this photo at Whole Foods with my iPhone. I wanted to buy one of everything.
To prepare it, you could hack into a super hard, thick, uncooperative squash, and then add oil so that it doesn’t dry out; or you can do what I do, which is roast it whole.
The squash is its own self-contained steamer unit. Nature is so smart. The flesh steams and stays moist without having to add oil, and when it’s done, slice through it very easily, and scrape out the spaghetti-like flesh with a fork.
I usually roast two medium-large spaghetti squash at a time. They’re about 3 pounds each and I put two on a baking sheet and roast for about 80 to 90 minutes at 375F. If I’m only roasting one, about 45 to 60 minutes. Two does make lots, but as long as I’m roasting, I like to batch-cook. It keeps for about 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge, and I nuke the leftovers.
In addition to spaghetti squash, I make delicata squash, and my current obsession is kabocha squash, below.
Recently I bought 40 pounds of kabocha (11 squash). I bought in bulk because they’re hard to find, and once I sourced these prized possessions, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to run out until June. Not really, but they do keep for about 6 months indoors, and I go through one every three days or so.
The flesh is sweet and bright orange like a sweet potato, but flakier, drier, and probably a bit healthier than sweet potatoes. I love the texture, taste, and you can eat the skin too, which turns crispy and chewy.
I eat kabocha wedges with a drizzle of coconut oil and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and stevia; or sometimes with cinnamon, or a drizzle of Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction or some Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce. I could eat it every day and not get sick of it.
Tis the season for excessive cookie, chocolate, candy, and booze consumption.
It’s nice to have something that’s healthy and comforting that I love (almost) as much as those things.
12 Healthy Recipe Ideas for Spaghetti Squash Noodles – Or use your favorite roasted and cubed squash
1. My favorite way is simply drizzling a bit of coconut oil on squash, sprinkling with nutritional yeast and a pinch of stevia. I’ll toss it with some other steamed veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussel’s sprouts, or whatever I have. The dish has a slightly (vegan) cheezy, nutty flavor from the nutritial yeast, combined with so much texture and flavor from the veggies and noodles, all lightly scented with coconut oil, and there’s a bit of sweetness for a salty-and-sweet profile. I never get sick of it and it’s loaded with nutrition, it’s warm and filling, and it’s value eating at its finest.
Tip: I get my shelf-stable items like coconut oil , nutritional yeast, and stevia from iHerb.com. Code AVE630 at checkout saves you $10 off your order. I love iHerb for everything like probiotics, bulk cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, liquid vanilla stevia drops, bulk white stevia powder, medicinal fancy-grade honey, chia seeds, face cleanser, and more. 40% off retail prices, free shipping on most orders, and orders arrive fast, in like 2 to 3 days, max.
2. Brown some butter in a skillet and toss the noodles in. Add salt, pepper, or your favorite seasoning blend. Or you can add the butter with cinnamon-and-sugar (or stevia) for ‘dessert noodles’. Simple buttery noodles remind me of my grandma. She used to serve angel hair pasta like this.
5. Toss noodles with your favorite bite-size frozen or fresh veggies or legumes – corn, peas, diced carrots, edamame, beans like in this Apple Glazed Vegetable & Edamame Stir Fry. Or add your favorite sauce or salad dressing for a vegetable-noodle salad.
6. To a skillet, steam some peapods, bok choy, mushrooms, bean sprouts, baby corn, or similar like in this Caribbean Citrus & Veggie Stir Fry. Add noodles with an Asian-style sweet-and-sour sauce for stir fry noodles.
7. Toss the noodles in instead of, or in addition to the brown rice, in this Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette
8. Or try them in Pumpkin Spiced Brown Rice Tempeh and Cranberry Salad
9. Pair the noodles with your favorite fish or chicken dish like this Pan Seared Caribbean Citrus Mahi Mahi with Brown Rice Noodles
10. Or toss them in with your favorite stir fry like Szechuan Shrimp Stir Fry with Fried Rice
11. Use noodles instead of greens as the base layer for Corn Chip-Crusted Southwestern Salmon Cakes with Creamy Lemon Chili Sauce
12. Pair them with your favorite tofu dish like Hot and Sour Broiled Tofu (vegan, GF)
How To Roast Spaghetti Squash (vegan, gluten-free)
Although it doesn’t taste like exactly like spaghetti or angel hair pasta because it’s a vegetable, it’s close enough for me. It’s value-eating at its finest, packing lots of fiber to leave you satisfied, with minimal calories. I treat it like a blank canvas and pair it with any number of other spices and seasonings, sauces, dressings, butter or oil; and with other vegetables and proteins. So versatile and easy to prepare if you use the whole-roasting method. below. Plus no need to add fat or oil since the squash is it’s own steaming unit. Try any of the 12 sample recipes outlined in the blog post for serving suggestions.
2 medium/large spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds each), washed and patted dry (I like to roast a pair for planned leftovers for the week; roast only 1 if preferred)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Place squash in front of you so the ends are pointing to the left and right. Using a heavy, large knife, hack into the squash in 3 or 4 spots so your knife just pierces the surface by about 1/4-inch deep, and it should leave approximately 2-inch long knife marks. These are places for steam to escape, like you’d pierce a potato before baking. You’re not actually slicing the squash, but just creating steam escapes. I find this is safer than piercing the squash with the tip of my knife. Turn the squash over and repeat, for a total of about 8 slits. Repeat for second squash.
- Place squash on baking sheet (I line my with a Silpat) and bake for about 45 to 60 minutes for 1 squash, or about 80 to 90 minutes for two. When done, squash should have quite a bit of give when pushed on, and slicing through it will be easy. Allow squash to cool on baking tray until it’s cool enough to handle.
- Tip – Wearing a pair of rubber kitchen gloves is a lifesaver here. Using a large serrated knife, slice squash vertically from tip to end.
- Run your knife around the center strip of seeds and filaments to loosen it. Remove it and discard it.
- With a fork, loosen the strands of squash in a raking motion. They will peel up easily. I try to rake up as many noodles as possible, going as far down to the skin as I can. Place noodles in an airtight container. Discard skins.
- Serve as desired, including using some of recipe ideas provided in the blog post. Noodles will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheating 1 serving for about 1 minute in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap is the fastest and easiest method.
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Also check out the 25 Healthy Lightened Up Dinner Recipes – Tis the season for excess, but here are some ideas that are lighter. All are vegetarian, and many are vegan and gluten-free. All are easy, do-able, and satisfying
Have you tried spaghetti squash? Winter squash fan? Fave ways to prepare them?