Spaghetti Squash: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for Our Favorite Quirky Winter Squash
If you’re looking for easy ways to get those spaghetti-like strands of squash onto the plate but aren’t sure about the best way to cook it, you’ve come to the right place.
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Spaghetti squash looks deceptively simple from the outside, yellow and oblong without much to distinguish it. But inside hides a treat: strands of mild-flavored squash that the right recipe can spin into a creative and delicious meal. This winter squash has fans not just for its pasta-like texture but for its versatility as well. It works with paleo, Whole30, keto, low carb, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian diets.
Whether it’s your first time with this veggie or you love spaghetti squash from way back, we have not only recipes but cooking hacks that’ll make cooking spaghetti squash a cinch. Let’s take a look at some great ways to prepare and serve this fun and versatile winter squash!
Microwaving is your friend. Giving the squash a head start in the microwave means it is quicker to roast in the oven if you wish, easier to cut without hacking it (or you) to death, and all around simpler. Here are a few recipes that take full advantage of the microwave:
Cheesy Garlic Spaghetti Squash
Cheesy Garlic Spaghetti Squash by urban foodie kitchen
This recipe starts out by microwaving the squash for just a few minutes before using a chef’s knife to split it lengthwise. From there, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and place squash cut-side down on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper to bake. The result: a delicious, cheesy dish with only 10 minutes of prep time.
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin by Dandy Dishes
This potato-less take on a typically carb-heavy dish starts out with the squash halves cooking in the microwave for about 10 minutes. From there, the squash joins up with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, thyme, red pepper flakes and thinly sliced onion. The whole ensemble bakes until it becomes golden brown and delicious.
Instant Pot or slow cooker
If you have an Instant Pot (or other multi-cooker) or a plain old slow cooker, you can also take advantage of those:
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash by Melanie Cooks
As this recipe says, spaghetti squash can be “the perfect, healthy, paleo, gluten-free, low carb and low calorie alternative to regular pasta.” Add the Instant Pot and you’re one easy step closer. There are two ingredients to this recipe: 1. one spaghetti squash, 2. one cup water. That’s it! You can cook squash halves or the whole squash. The recipe suggests serving the cooked spaghetti squash with meatballs and tomato sauce, but pesto or Parmesan cheese would be good too. Get creative!
Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash by My Modern Cookery
Try this recipe that won’t tie up your oven. Depending on the size of your squash and the heat setting, the cooking time can be from three to eight hours. At the end, the squash noodles are tossed with Parmesan.
If you’ve found in the past that the texture wasn’t to your liking — too mushy, maybe — try cutting the squash into rings and then roasting it on a baking sheet. You'll get longer, more-distinct, more noodle-like strands.
Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese
Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese by BuzzFeed
Bacon and goat cheese add some punch to this dish, but what really sets this BuzzFeed recipe apart is cutting the squash crosswise rather than lengthwise. A splash each of maple syrup and red wine vinegar add a sweet/sour dimension to the dish, while spinach adds a welcome dash of color and another flavor dimension. One key tip from the recipe: “Before you add spinach, make sure you cook the bacon enough to render most of the fat out. The liquid bacon fat is the base for your sauce, so it’s important.”
Low Carb Buffalo Blue Cheese Spaghetti Squash
Low Carb Buffalo Blue Cheese Spaghetti Squash by Taste Abounds
This recipe echoes the BuzzFeed tip for strands of squash that are more like spaghetti noodles: Cut the squash crosswise and roast it cut side up. This gives you al dente, longer strands that are more spaghetti-like. To top it all off, blue cheese crumbles and bacon pack a lot of savory punch.
No matter how you decide to cook it, using it as a spaghetti stand-in is only one way to serve it up. Think beyond “spaghetti” with these recipes:
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna by The Dash Diet
Here the veggie works with a different dish that is traditionally made with pasta: lasagna. Pour the marinara sauce into a baking dish, add cooked spaghetti squash, top with more sauce and add Parmesan and ricotta. The result is a low-carb casserole with a veggie as the star.
Spaghetti Squash Soup
Spaghetti Squash Soup by Kudos Kitchen By Renee
Make this hearty soup with or without sausage for a dish that can please various palates. This flexible dish can also accommodate any number of other variations, depending on the season and your pantry. The author suggests incorporating cooked chicken, leftover turkey, mixed vegetables or mushrooms, among many other options.