How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

If you’re looking for a low-calorie food that’s packed with vitamins and minerals and high in fiber, consider the spaghetti squash. The easy-to-grow winter squash contains only 42 calories per cup, but has about 2.2 grams of fiber and 5.4 grams of vitamin C. Spaghetti squash is also a good source of manganese and vitamin B6.

Spaghetti squash is an easy food to cook up as a side dish, and it can be used for some pretty creative cuisine. The distinct, yet light, nutty flavor is delicious on its own with a little salt and pepper, but many people choose to add spaghetti sauce and use the squash as a substitute for pasta.

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Here is how you go about cooking a spaghetti squash.

Whole spaghetti squash
Ripe spaghetti squash has a golden yellow color.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare to cut into the spaghetti squash. The outer shell and most of the uncooked flesh of spaghetti squash is hard. You need a large, sharp knife to get through it. A heavy chef’s knife that’s 8″ or longer is recommended.

Once you get the knife partially into the squash, cutting the rest of the way will feel more like trying to split a piece of wood than cutting into food. Carefully push down on the blade from above.

You can also ease the process by scoring the outside and cooking the whole squash in the microwave for 5 minutes to soften it.

Cutting into a spaghetti squash
Remove the stem before trying to cut into the spaghetti squash. This one was stubborn and only let me take half the stem off, but it was enough to let me cut through the middle of the squash.

Once you’ve cut through the spaghetti squash, use a spoon to scoop out the soft middle that contains the seeds. You can discard them, put them aside for roasting, or, if you’ve grown an heirloom variety, save the seeds for growing next year’s harvest of spaghetti squash.

Two halves of an uncooked spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash halves ready to have the seeds scooped out.

Add some salt and ground pepper to the spaghetti squash halves, then either add a pat of butter or drizzle with olive oil.

Spaghetti squash halves prepared with salt, pepper and butter
Uncooked, prepared spaghetti squash with salt, pepper, and butter.

Flip the spaghetti squash halves onto a baking sheet with the cut sides down. Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 40 minutes. The baking time may vary, depending on the size of the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti squash halves cut-side down on a baking sheet

Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, flip the halves over and use a fork to pull the squash strands apart. At this point, you can serve up the squash just as it is or in a bowl, or you can add spaghetti sauce or try a number of different additions to make a truly impressive side dish.

Cooked spaghetti squash with a fork to pull apart the strands
Spaghetti squash that’s ready to eat.

Here are a few recipes that take spaghetti squash to the next level:

Spaghetti squash and acorn squash harvest at Cedar Swamp Homestead farm stand
Abundance of spaghetti squash at our farm stand.

Remember, spaghetti squash doesn’t just come from the grocery store. Check your local farm stands and farmer’s markets in early to late autumn to find spaghetti squash and other delicious winter squash varieties.

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