Do you have a “go to” method for cooking spaghetti squash? No? I think I can give you hand with that…
I remember years ago when I first discovered spaghetti squash. It was touted to be the great spaghetti substitute. Low carb, full of vitamins and fiber and a texture that was reminiscent of noodles. Well, at least in looks, right? Anyone who expected to sit down to a bowl of spaghetti squash and experience a carby al dente bite of pasta would have been sorely disappointed.
But that was then, and this is now, and now we are making “noodles” out of all of our veggies. I love it! It’s easy to get in all those nutritious veggies when you make them the star of the meal. We’ve been “vegging out” like crazy since we joined our CSA. Seriously, this weekend I had FIVE veggies as our side dishes to our roast chicken dinner. It brings new meaning to “eat your veggies” at our table. But we are all loving it.
So back when I first discovered spaghetti squash, I tried a number of methods to cook it. I boiled it, I steamed it, I microwaved it, I baked it. I was never perfectly thrilled with any of the methods; they all seemed to deliver a less than ideal texture. (Or, maybe I was really expecting spaghetti. We’ll never know :) When I found this method of roasting that troublesome squash, however, I never turned back. It’s as easy as can be and now, it’s the only way I cook spaghetti squash.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Start with a washed and dried squash. Carefully cut it in half.
Scoop out the seeds. I like to use an ice cream scooper for this, but a sturdy spoon also works well.
Then brush the insides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Flip them cut side down and place them on a lightly sprayed baking sheet. I line the pan with foil for easy clean up.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until tender. I like to roast them until the skin is a little brown around the edges.
Now, here’s the secret…when you take the squash out of the oven, let the halves sit on the pan, still face down, for 5-15 minutes. They’re going to continue to steam a little. I usually go for the full 15 minutes; it gives me extra time to finish the rest of the meal.
When you’re done, just use a fork to release all of that tender stringy goodness.
Sometimes, I bake them longer than you see in these photos and not only let the skin get brown around the edges, but the whole squash starts to get just even a little more toasty. Then, when I scrape out the meat of the squash, I end up with a completely empty shell. On this day, however, there is a little residual squash still clinging to the shell, but not much. Just bake it to your desired tenderness.
This is the goal…tender “noodles” of spaghetti squash. Now it’s ready to eat or use in your favorite recipe. Stick with me…at the end of the week, I have another easy idea for topping this that you’re going to love.
So, I’ll ask you again…Do you have a go to method for cooking spaghetti squash?
Why yes… yes you do :)
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
- One spaghetti squash washed and dried
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet. (I line mine with foil first for easy cleanup.)
Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds. I use my ice cream scooper for this because it has a nice edge, but a sturdy spoon works just as well.
Brush the insides of the squash with olive oil. I probably use about a teaspoon or so in each half but just eye it.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place the halves face down on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes or until tender and the edges are beginning to get golden. You can check it by sticking a fork into the flesh.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and leave the squash, face down on the tray for and additional 5-15 minutes.
Use a fork to separate the fibers and scrape the squash out of the shell.
*Your yield will vary based on the size of your squash. For us, an average sized squash gives us 4-6 servings, more if we are using it as a side dish instead of a main dish.
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