Spaghetti squash is fun to eat

Try this low calorie pasta alternative.

If you have never tried spaghetti squash before, you are in for a treat. Spaghetti squash is termed “spaghetti” because after it is cooked, you can scrape the squash into spaghetti like strands. Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare and nutritious to eat. Spaghetti squash is low in calories – one cup provides about 35 calories and seven grams of carbohydrates. 

Preparing spaghetti squash is easy. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following procedure for preparing this pasta alternative:

  1. Rinse the squash with cold running water using a vegetable brush to get rid of the dirt from the field or garden.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. It may be easier to cut in half if you cut the stem end off of the squash first. 
  3. Scrape out the seeds with a large spoon.
  4. Place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with pan spray.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the squash is tender when poked with a fork. Spaghetti squash can also be cooked in a microwave oven.

There are many ways to enjoy spaghetti squash. You can easily scrape the spaghetti strands out of the cooked squash and serve as a substitute for pasta. It can also be served on its own as a side dish. My family enjoyed spaghetti squash recently topped with chili. 

There are many recipes available for preparing spaghetti squash dishes. The following recipe is from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “What’s Cooking” recipe database which is a great source of healthy, low-cost recipes. 

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan

Prepares four servings

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil (or 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped)

1 cup cherry tomatoes (thinly sliced)

Salt and pepper (to taste, optional)

Directions:

  1. Place the two cleaned squash halves, cut side down, in glass baking dish. Add about 1/4 cup water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 12 minutes or until soft when pressed. Let stand, covered for three minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk oil, basil, oregano and two tablespoons of parmesan. Stir in tomatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Scrape squash out with a fork, add strands to tomato mixture and toss until combined. Sprinkle with remaining one tablespoon parmesan cheese.

For more information, contact MSU Extension which has over 80 offices located across the state of Michigan. To locate a county office, check the county office listing on the MSU Extension website. 

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