Squash is a vegetable that certainly seems synonymous with the fall season and many varieties are actually available year round. While many in the squash family offer nutritional benefits, spaghetti squash is one with an incredible talent. It easily transforms into long, stringy spaghetti-like noodles with only the shred of a simple fork – making it a very healthy and easy to prepare comfort food for just about anyone!
Why spaghetti squash?
The benefits of spaghetti squash extend beyond just being fun. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals (such as potassium), is naturally low in carbohydrates and is gluten free. It’s also a good choice for weight management (consisting predominantly of water) and is low in fat, carbohydrates and calories. This squash is also a fun food to cook with children, as shredding the cooked squash into pasta is always a magical and easy task to share!
How do I cook with it?
You can use spaghetti squash as part of a vegetarian or vegan meal or pair it alongside some meat options if you prefer. This lovely but not-too-sweet squash pairs well with everything. It can be a tasty side dish or robust enough to hold up as the main event. While it is commonly stuffed, you can absolutely get creative with how to use it in the kitchen as well! Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate spaghetti squash into your routine.
- Shred it and top with your favorite sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Try a Greek twist using this recipe for Greek Spaghetti Squash Bowls!
- Make a burrito-type bowl using Mexican spices, fresh cilantro, beans, avocado, salsa and a bit of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
- Pair with your favorite homemade chili instead of rice.
- Use the base to build lasagna boats
- Swap out noodles in mac and cheese
- Replace your side of toast and incorporate it into a frittata
- Use the “noodles” for Chow Mein
- Use the “noodles” for Pad Thai
- Shred them really finely and make a “fried rice”
- Enjoy it as a classic combination – butter and salt
Any tips for getting started?
Starting to cook with spaghetti squash can seem daunting, however it really is as simple as picking one up at the store and roasting away! Here are some quick tips for maximizing the potential of your squash:
- Choose a spaghetti squash that is free of cracks, cuts and soft spots
- Aim for one that is heavy for its size
- Avoid those that are pale white or green as they may not be ripe.
- Those with a deeper yellow or more orange color tend to be higher in the healthy antioxidant beta-carotene which may help to prevent some cancers and heart disease
- A friendly reminder: when slicing the squash, be sure to use a strong knife and careful technique as it has a very hard shell!
We encourage you to add a bit of fibre and fun to your dinner meals with spaghetti squash year round. Get creative in your kitchen and enjoy a healthy, tasty comfort food!
Image via Inspired Taste