There’s a new bad boy (ok, vegetable) in town and its name is spaghetti squash. Although the spaghetti-like squash has been around since the late 1800s, it has become increasingly popular as of late with the rise in popularity of the keto diet (which has also been around awhile).
While the squash doesn’t taste exactly like real pasta (we’ll be honest), it definitely does the trick of satisfying that pasta craving while also providing heaps more essential vitamins and minerals.
Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
One of the more well-known benefits of spaghetti squash is that it’s lower in carbohydrates than traditional pasta. One cup of the squash contains only 7 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of spaghetti clocks in at 43 grams. That’s only part of the appeal, though. It’s also full of fiber and contains other important nutrients, like vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and calcium. And at only 32 calories per cup (compared to spaghetti’s 221), you really can’t go wrong.
Preparing Your Squash
If you’ve never dealt with a spaghetti squash, it can feel intimidating at first; but once you get used to it, preparing and cooking one is actually quite simple. There are two ways you can cook the large squash. The first is to cut it before you cook it. To do this you’ll need a sharp knife and a spoon.
Cut off the top of and then use your knife to slice it in half lengthwise. Be extremely careful with this step. Some squashes can be pretty tough to get through. Once you’ve gotten it open, scoop out the seeds with a spoon (just like you would do to a pumpkin). Lay each half cut side up on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and bake on 375 degrees for about 45 minutes (or until fork tender). Your cooking time will vary based on the size of the squash.
Once your squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape out the insides. You’ll see that the squash pulls away from the skin in strands that resemble spaghetti.
The other way to cook spaghetti squash is to just throw the whole thing in the oven without cutting it. Cook it at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes (or until fork tender). When it’s done cooking, cut it down the middle with a sharp knife, scoop out the seeds, and shred. This way saves you the potential hassle of cutting the tough skin pre-cooking, but be sure to let the squash cool a little bit before you cut into it because it will be hot!
Some Recipes to Get You Started
Spaghetti squash is absolutely delicious on its own with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, but if you’re looking for something a little fancier, there are tons of keto-friendly recipes out there to get you started. We’ve compiled a few of our favorites below. Let us know what you think when you try it!