Spaghetti squash is a long, oblong vegetable that measures between 8 and 14 inches in length, weighs 2 to 3 pounds, and has flesh that is a very pale yellow color. Spaghetti squash can be added to a variety of dishes, such as soups and stews, or eaten raw. If you enjoy spaghetti, but are attempting to limit your pasta intake due to calories or carbs, then spaghetti squash may be a great alternative for you.
Spaghetti squash is nutritionally superior to regular pasta, which doesn’t contain any vitamin and has very limited nutritional content. This squash contains about 457 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A and 52 percent of Vitamin C, which can help prevent free radical damage to cells. Spaghetti squash is also rich in the B vitamins, which promote optimal cellular function – this is an ideal food for pregnant women! It is high in its omega-3 and omega-6 fats content, which help with prevention of inflammation, heart disease and arthritis.
Taste like spaghetti
SO what does this all really mean? If you’re a big eater like me who thinks, loves and cares more about food than almost anything else, it translates to: I can have THREE CUPS of spaghetti squash for the same calories as ONE CUP of regular spaghetti. The question that I’m sure many of you have is this: do I really want to have three cups of the fake diet spaghetti that doesn’t reaaaally taste like spaghetti? My answer would be yes.
With the right spices and sauces, you will want all three cups (if not more). Are you going to get the full, buttery, rich, spaghetti experience? Well no of course not – but do you really need clogged up arteries and a self-induced carb-coma? Nope. And if you still feel betrayed by it tasting like a vegetable and not actual spaghetti, think about that one person who has the ideal body of your dreams. Do you think they’re shoving spaghetti in their mouths now? Probably not, my friend.
Now how do we cook this thing? There are different ways to do it, but my favorite requires use of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. While you’re waiting, go ahead and cut the squash in half. This is a bit tricky and will require a really sharp knife so cut carefully. Use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds from the middle of each half. Once its thoroughly de-seeded, spice the flesh the way you like. I usually drizzle some olive oil (don’t go wild with the olive oil – 1 tablespoon per half is enough), put lots of salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and oregano. I also sprinkle some cinnamon because it helps speed up the metabolism. Basically, you can spice it whichever way you want to and to your taste.
Put it in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. [If you keep it in for too long, it will get a little bit too soft and mushy.] Once you take it out, use a fork to scrape out the noodles. It will be really hot at this point so be careful. Add whatever it is that you would usually add to your spaghetti, and garnish it as you wish. If you’re not wanting to eat it as a spaghetti (with tomato sauce or some pesto), you can treat it as a replacement for rice, like a side dish or the side salad to your main dish! For my fettucine alfredo lovers, don’t get carried away with all the butter and cream. Just because the squash is healthy, doesn’t mean you can make up for it with an unhealthy sauce. Get creative with it and experiment with the flavors to find one that works best for you.