What’s That Veggie? Spaghetti Squash

Written By Jessica Meuleners, MS, RD, LMNT, SNAP-Ed Assistant Extension Educator

Have you ever found yourself staring at the winter squash in the grocery store wondering, “What is that and how do I even cook it or eat it?” If you have, you’re not alone! Winter squash looks very intimidating. They are heavy, awkwardly shaped, and hard to peel and cut. Oddly enough, they are one of the easiest vegetables to make. Spaghetti squash is one of my favorites! It is a fun, kid-friendly vegetable that is low in calories and high in vitamin A which has been shown to have benefits in keeping our hearts healthy. They can also add a new, fun twist to some of your favorite dishes.

So, how do we crack into this thing? It’s easy! All you have to do is slice it down the middle, length-wise.img_0550

Gently scrape out the seeds – much like a pumpkin!img_0557

Go ahead and place the two halves on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 375°F. Let the spaghetti squash cool.img_0566

Here is the fun part – take a fork and scrape away! You will see how easy it is to create long strands that resemble noodles. This is also a fun task for kids to do! If the squash is hard to scrape, place the two halves back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Be careful to not overcook the squash. We don’t want it to turn mushy; rather, it should still have a bit of crunch to it.img_0581img_0578

Once you are finished scraping, add the spaghetti squash strands to your favorite pasta sauce for a dish that is sure to satisfy everyone’s taste buds!img_0588

Not a pasta fan? That’s okay too! Here are some other ideas on how you can use your cooked spaghetti squash halves:

  • Substitute the spaghetti squash for lettuce in a salad
  • Use it in place of noodles in a casserole dish
  • Stuff your halves with your favorite protein and vegetable. Then bake with some cheese sprinkled on top.
  • Create a burrito bowl inside your halves
  • Make it a breakfast food and top the squash “noodles” with an egg
  • Use the “noodles” in your favorite stir-fry dish or taco recipe instead of rice

Photographs by Jessica Meuleners, MS, RD, LMNT

Reviewed by Morgan Hartline, MS, RD, LMNT, SNAP-Ed Assistant Extension Educator

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