Spaghetti squash, so named because its inner flesh converts into strands resembling spaghetti when cooked, is also a fantastic low-carb substitute for pasta. The vegetable is exceedingly healthy and very versatile, as well. Here's why this quirky food is so good for you, along with some ways to cook and serve it.
Spaghetti Squash Nutrition
Spaghetti squash may have a curious name, but its health benefits are no joke. An unsalted one-cup serving boasts:
- no fat
- only 42 calories
- just 10 grams carbohydrates
- 1 gram protein
- 3 percent of the day's vitamin A, calcium and iron
- 8 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6
- 9 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Spaghetti Squash Recipes
As mentioned above, spaghetti squash is often used in pasta-like dishes such as this favorite:
Serves 4; prep time, 30 minutes
1 large (4- to 4-1/2-pound) spaghetti squash
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus additional for garnish
2 cans (5 ounces each) white or light tuna in water, drained and flaked
1/4 cup pitted olives, chopped
1 tablespoon drained capers, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
1. Place squash in 9-inch glass pie plate and pierce six times with sharp knife. Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes per pound, about 20 minutes, or until squash is tender when pierced with knife. Cool 10 minutes for easier handling.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix tomatoes, sliced basil leaves, tuna, olives, capers, oil, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until combined.
3. Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. With fork, scrape flesh to separate into strands and place in large bowl; discard shell. Drain squash if necessary. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; toss to combine.
4. Divide squash among four dinner bowls. To serve, top with tomato mixture; garnish with basil leaves and Parmesan.
Recipe courtesy of GoodHousekeeping.com
Here's an amazing recipe to enjoy spaghetti squash simply:
Herbed Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4, Prep time: 1 hour
1 small spaghetti squash (about 2-1/4 pounds)
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed soft herbs, such as basil, chives, chervil, parsley and sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place, cut side down, in a baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2 inch up the sides of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife.
3. Turn squash over and cover with foil again and continue to cook another 15 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool slightly.
4. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Using a fork, gently pull the strands of squash away from the peel and place the squash strands into a mixing bowl.
5. Heat a skillet. Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Serve immediately, or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril LaGasse (foodnetwork.com)
Finally, here is a spaghetti squash dish that is not only adds a twist on some of the more traditional ways of eating the vegetable, but is also a quick, interesting, vegetarian meal:
Spaghetti Squash Tossed with Olive Oil, Avocado, and Parmesan
Serves 2 to 4; prep time: 35 to 45 minutes
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 or 2 avocados
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 fresh basil leaves, sliced
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Lay squash cut side down in a baking dish and add 1/4 inch of water to the pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until tender.
3. When squash is close to done, put olive oil in a pan over low heat and add the smashed clove of garlic. Cook until it sizzles just to flavor the oil. Turn off the heat, and remove the clove.
4. Cut the avocado and squeeze the fresh lemon juice on it to keep it from turning brown. Slice up the fresh basil.
5. Remove the squash from the oven and place cut-side up on a cutting board. Use a fork to separate the spaghetti-like strands. Scoop a serving into a bowl, drizzle with the warm oil, top with chunks of avocado, and add the parmesan, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe courtesy of thekitchn.com