Not everyone knows how to cook a spaghetti squash and because of that fact, they may be hesitant to buy it. Spaghetti squash is a healthier alternative to pasta, white potatoes and rice. Cooking spaghetti squash is not as complicated as one might think. In fact, almost all methods of cooking can be applied to this winter variety.
What is Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash is often referred to as vegetable spaghetti. It is shaped like a watermelon and comes by its name because when the flesh is cooked it separates into what looks like conventional spaghetti. Spaghetti squash strands can be added to casseroles or salads. It can also be served as you would traditional spaghetti.
If you are looking for a spaghetti squash that is ripe and ready to cook, note that the more yellow the rind the riper the squash. Spaghetti squash can be purchased year round but the best time to buy is early autumn through the winter months.
A cousin to the spaghetti squash is orangetti squash. Though it too is shaped like a watermelon, the flesh of this type is pale orange. This variety of squash is usually available from late summer into October.
Nutritional Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
A low calorie, low sodium food, spaghetti squash packs a nutritional punch. With just 45 calories per serving, it is a high fiber food and rich in folic acid. It also contains some vitamin A, potassium and niacin. When looking for healthy alternatives to starchy pasta or potatoes, you can't go wrong with spaghetti squash.
Cooking Methods for Spaghetti Squash
Baking spaghetti squash is an easy method of preparing. Like a potato, take a fork and pierce the squash in several places to prevent bursting when baking in the oven. The ideal temperature is 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are preparing other foods along with the squash in the oven, it can be cooked at the same temperature required for those foods. Baking time for squash is between 45 minutes to an hour. After cooling, cut open and remove the seeds. Take a fork and run it over the flesh making strands until just the shell is left.
Boiling is a quicker method of cooking as it only takes about a half an hour. Place the squash whole in a pot of boiling water and once it is easy to press with your finger it is done. When the squash has cooled a bit, just as with the baking technique, open and use a fork to comb the strands until there is only the shell left. Though quicker, this method is far messier than baking.
Steaming spaghetti squash is an option too. First the squash needs to be halved and seeds removed. Halve again and put the pieces with the fleshy side facing down on a rack for steaming directly over water that is boiling. This technique takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Strands are then pulled from the shell until just a thin layer of skin remains.
It is so easy to learn how to cook a spaghetti squash! If your serious about trying one of these spaghetti squash cooking methods, find a number of good spaghetti squash recipes to make at home.
If you interested in other recipes and methods for cooking nutritious fruits and vegetables, check out other garden recipes and get cooking today!
Allen Burt is a business consultant and entrepreneur with passions and hobbies including cycling, skiing, triathlons, cooking, and travel.