Also called vegetable spaghetti , this creamy-yellow, watermelon-shaped winter squash was so named because of its flesh, which, when cooked, separates into yellow-gold spaghetti-like strands.
Averaging from 4 to 8 pounds, spaghetti squash are available year-round with a peak season from early fall through winter. Choose squash that are hard and smooth with an even pale yellow color. Avoid greenish squash (a sign of immaturity) and those with bruised or damaged spots.
Store uncut spaghetti squash at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. After the whole squash is cooked, the rather bland-tasting strands can be removed from the shell and served with sauce, like pasta. They can also be served as part of a casserole or cold as a salad ingredient.
The skin is very tough and should generally not be eaten.
Spaghetti squash is easily cooked using an oven, microwave, stove top, or slow cooker.
Quick baked spaghetti squash
Cleaning out the seeds while it's raw keeps them from polluting the rest of it, using a microwave oven to steam the flesh loose speeds up the process, while baking in a conventional oven adds a delicious toasted flavor:
Slice squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and fibers, pierce flesh with fork (taking care not to penetrate shell.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pour 1/4 cup of water into each half and cover tightly with polyethylene plastic wrap, microwave each half separately for 8 minutes on high.
Remove plastic and pour out water (otherwise the squash will be too soggy after baking,) rake flesh from shell into loose strings with a fork and add desired flavorings (butter, maple syrup, etc…)
Place halves onto pan or cookie sheet and bake for about an hour or until some of the strings at the top and the edges of the shell begin to be toasted black and brown. Scoop stringy flesh out of shells and serve.
Bake in Oven
- Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer and place in baking dish
- Cook squash in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for approximately 1 hour or until flesh is tender
- Cut the squash in half, lengthwise
- Remove the seeds
- Place squash with the open side up in a microwave dish using 1/4 cup of water
- Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on size of squash
- Heat a pot of water large enough to hold the whole squash
- When the water is boiling, drop in the squash and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on its size
- When a fork goes easily into the flesh, the squash is done
Slow cooker (Crock pot)
- Place the spaghetti squash in the slow cooker, and add 2 cups of water
- Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer
- Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours
- Stand squash covered for 5 minutes and, using a fork, comb out the strands