[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T[/dropcap]he first time I read about spaghetti squash, I dismissed it as one of those ‘too good to be true’ ideas.
A low carb vegetable that looked like spaghetti?
But the more I saw it around, the more I wanted to try it. At the time there wasn’t anywhere I could buy this magical vegetable so I ordered myself some seeds and had a crack at growing my own.
Long story short, my growing attempts were unsuccessful.
Then about a year ago my local veggie shop started selling them. Experimentation began.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
At first I just roasted it whole until really soft then halved and scooped out the seeds once it was cooked. This was OK but I found separating the seeds from the flesh once it was cooked a challenge.
My current favourite method is to halve crosswise (which results in longer ‘strands’ than halving lengthwise). Scoop out the seeds with a spoon (much easier when the flesh is still hard). Drizzle with oil and roast, cut side up for about 45 minutes at 200C (400F). It’s done when you can easily separate the strands with a fork.
I have seen recipes where you roast cut side down but find this not as good because
(a) you don’t get any lovely browning flavours.
(b) there’s less moisture loss so you end up with more watery flesh.
7 Super-Yum Ideas for Spaghetti Squash
1. A Low Carb Bangers & Mash.
Stir in a heap of salted butter to the warm cooked squash and serve anywhere you’d normally serve potato mash. Or favourite is with good quality butchers sausages.
2. Rosti or Fritters.
Use the roast flesh instead of potatoes in these rosti. I haven’t tried this yet but imagine it would be super delicious.
3. Topping for Shepherds Pie.
Use roast spaghetti squash instead of cooking the cauliflower for this Simple Shepherds Pie. Would also be lovely as a topping for a classic fish pie too.
4. With Your Fave Pasta Sauce.
The knee-jerk reaction is to serve it with a bolognese or ragu. But it pretty much works with any pasta sauce, especially creamy ones like in the boscaiola recipe below.
Use instead of roast butternut in this wonderfully warming soup.
6. Noodle Soup.
Stir into an Asian-style noodle soup instead of the zucchini ‘noodles’.
7. Rice Replacer.
Use a big pile of roast spaghetti squash to serve as a low carb alternative to rice. Brilliant with curries or stir fries.
Are you a spaghetti squash fan?
I’d love to hear about how you cook yours. Let me know in the comments below…
Spaghetti Squash Boscaiola
OK so this recipe is very heavy on the mushrooms and lighter on the squash. Just how I like it. If you’re not a super big mushroom fan, like my Irishman, you might be better following the ‘less mushroomy’ variation below.
While this recipe only calls for half a spaghetti squash, I always roast the whole thing because leftovers keep really well. If you’re stuck for ideas for how to use it, just serve with your favourite pasta sauce on top.
enough for 2-3
takes 60 minutes
1/2 spaghetti squash
4-6 slices bacon, chopped
1kg (2lb) button mushrooms, sliced
6-8 tablespoons cream
2 handfuls grated parmesan + shaved to serve
1 bag salad leaves, to serve (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Scoop out seeds from squash and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes or until flesh is tender and separates into spaghetti-like strands easily with a fork.
2. While the squash is cooking, brown bacon with a little oil in a large frying pan on a medium high heat. Remove bacon from the pan and keep warm.
3. Add more oil to the pan and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring every few minutes until mushies are well browned and tender. Add cream and simmer for a few minutes then remove pan from the heat.
4. When the squash is cooked, use a spoon to scoop out the ‘spaghetti’ strands and add add these to the pan with the mushies. Bring everything back to a simmer then stir through bacon and grated parmesan. Taste and season with salt as needed.
5. Divide between 2-3 plates and top with extra shaved parmesan and salad leaves (if using).
vegetarian – replace bacon with smoked tofu or toss in a handful of roasted almonds at the end. Or just skip it.
dairy-free – try a tomatoey sauce instead. Use a can of tomatoes instead of the cream. And serve with shaved brazil nuts in place of the parmesan.
carb-lovers – toss in some cooked pasta or serve with garlic bread.
less mushroomy – halve the amount of mushrooms and double the amount of spaghetti squash.
herby – toss in some chopped chives or flat leaf parsley at the end.
no spaghetti squash – use 2-3 spiralized zucchini or carrots instead. Just cook them in the pan with the mushies until the zucchini / carrots are warm and no longer crunchy. Or serve the creamy mushroom sauce on baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.