When undertaking a low carbohydrate diet, that is a diet that promotes ketosis, you will find that the types of vegetables you can choose from is much reduced. The spaghetti squash is a great vegetable that makes a reasonable substitution for pasta. It is a strange vegetable as once cooked the flesh comes out in spaghetti like strands. Keep an eye out for spaghetti squash in the supermarket, in the UK they are available but infrequently, however I understand in the USA they are freely available.
Nutrition of Spaghetti Squash
Boiled 1 cup or 155 grams contains 10 grams of carbohydrate and 42 calories. Other spaghetti squash nutrients include folic acid, beta carotene and potassium.
Methods of Cooking Spaghetti Squash
The spaghetti squash can be cooked in many different ways, boiling, baking , microwaving and in a slow cooker. Also there is a rapid cook method and a slower cooking method. The fast method involves chopping the squash up into quarters for rapid cooking the slower method involves cooking the squash whole. You should note that the squash has a very thick skin and takes some effort to cut when fresh this is the reason I always cook the squash using the whole method. Also with the quick method you have to sacrifice the long strands of “spaghetti” you get with the whole cooking method.
Rapid method of cooking
If you need to cook the spaghetti squash rapidly then you first need to chop the squash into half and then chop the halves into quarters, this is when you can remove the seeds. You will need a hefty knife or cleaver for this as the outer skin is extremely tough. Leave in large chucks so you have will be left with some of the “spaghetti” strands.
Oven Baking the Spaghetti Squash in Quarters
To oven bake, place the quarters on a baking tray with the rind side down dribble with a little olive oil and season. Turn the pieces over so the rind is on top and bake at 375F or 190C for around 40 minutes. The squash can be tested for tenderness by piercing the flesh with a sharp knife, also when tender the spaghetti strands come away easily.
Boiling and Microwaving the Spaghetti Squash Chunks
If you decide to boil the squash, place in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes reducing the water to a simmer. For the microwave method place the squash quarters in a microwave dish and cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes, check for tenderness, if not tender continue to cook in 1 minute intervals checking for tenderness until cooked. Once cooked the “spaghetti” strands are separated by taking a fork and gently teasing out the strands.
Slow method – Cooking a spaghetti squash whole.
This is my favorite method, as you are not expending energy in chopping up the squash which has a very thick skin. Cooking the spaghetti squash whole will, of course, take a lot longer. For all methods of cooking whole squash, the squash skin must be pierced. This should prevent a nasty squash explosion. This step is vital if you are microwaving the squash. Oven bake at 375F/190C for 45-50 minutes, check at this point if the squash is tender, if not tender then cook for while longer.
Cooking in the microwave – cook on high for 10 minutes then test for tenderness, if necessary microwave again in short bursts of minute intervals until done. Leave the squash to steam for about 5 minutes before cutting in half. To boil the squash place in a large pan of simmering water and simmer the squash for about 1/2 hour, taste for tenderness continue to cook if necessary.
You can also cook the squash whole in a slow cooker or crock pot. Place the squash in the pot and add about 1 inch of water to the base. Cook in the crockpot/slow cooker for about 8 hours on low. Once the squash is cooked, cut around the squash from top to bottom, then scrape out the seeds and pulp carefully as the squash will be really hot and steamy. Separate the spaghetti strands gently with a fork.
Top 5 Spaghetti Squash Recipes from Around the Web
1. Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce
2. Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese
3. Roast Spaghetti Squash with Kale
4. Roast Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Kale
5. Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro Sauce
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash Tutorial
How to Store Spaghetti Squash
To store, whole uncooked spaghetti squashes can be stored at 10 – 15C and 50 – 60 F stored this way they can last for up to six months. The spaghetti squash will also keep a room temperature for up to a month.