How to cook spaghetti

How to cut spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash is like any other hard squashes you find in the autumn, like butternut squash, acorn squash or pumpkin. Cutting through it is scary/dangerous and requires concentration. Think cutting a watermelon but 3 times harder to pierce.

  1. Peel a band around the middle of the squash. I don’t mean peel deeply, just peel off the outermost layer. The fear of cutting the squash is of the knife slipping while you’re putting a lot of pressure on the vegetable.
  2. Place your squash into a plush kitchen towel to help anchor it while cutting in half.
  3. After you wash the spaghetti squash be sure to dry it really well. Water is your enemy and will raise the risk of the squash slipping and you injuring yourself.
  4. Use a serrated knife. I use my rock ‘n chop (I know, I know its from an infomercial but I LOVE IT).

how to cut spaghetti squash and how to cook spaghetti squash

What do I season Spaghetti Squash with?

  • Classic: Salt, pepper, oil.
  • Greek: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, dill, oregano, olive oil.
  • Italian: Salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder, olive oil.
  • Steakhouse: Salt, coarse black pepper, thyme, butter.
  • Mexican: Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, oregano, canola oil.
  • Middle Eastern: Salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, oregano, olive oil.

Baked spaghetti squash ready to eat

How long can you keep spaghetti squash:

  • Cooked:  Refrigerate baked spaghetti squash leftovers and use within three-five days.
  • Uncooked: At room temperature, you can keep spaghetti squash for 1-2 months until you see signs of spoilage (look below).
  • Freezing Instructions: You can freeze baked spaghetti squash strands for 4-6 months if you put it in a freezer safe container and remove as much air as possible. I add a bit of oil to the squash to give it a second barrier of protection.

How do you pick a good spaghetti squash:

  • Golden yellow in color.
  • Look for one WITH a stem, that is firm and feels heavy for its size.
  • Avoid ANY cracks in the skin and check for soft spots (this is indicative of a spoiling squash). You want spaghetti squash with a firm, dry rind free of soft spots and cracks.
  • Avoid any that seem moist or don’t have a stem as they may increase the risk of internal spoilage that you may not otherwise feel or see.
  • If the squash is shiny it is likely not ripe yet, so avoid it.
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Baked spaghetti squash may seem like a bit of departure from the most popular recipes on the site. BUT I have some big news brewing that I can’t wait to share with you all about some new recipes you’re going to love me for in the new year when all your dietary resolutions are strongest. We’re up to our eyeballs in development now!

spaghetti squash recipes

A lot of spaghetti squash recipes involve swapping out pasta for baked spaghetti squash because it’s healthier for you, and tastes delicious. You feel satisfied without the heavy carbs. Below are some of my favorite “pasta” spaghetti squash recipes!

If you want to try some stuffed baked spaghetti squash recipes my friend Allyson has a few I love! Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash and Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash are both hits with our whole family.

Tools Used in this How to Cook Spaghetti Squash tutorial:Vegetable Peeler: I’ve been using this peeler for 7 years and it is still as sharp and as easy to peel as EVER. Also, it peels in the thinnest layers so you don’t waste food.Rock ‘n Chop Knife: My favorite kitchen tool (the knife I love is the second from the top) I’ve had it over a dozen years and it is going STRONG.Sheet Pan: A classic, inexpensive sheet pan that is high quality and can hold up to high temperatures in the oven.

Save Recipe

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Course: Main Course, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • 2 spaghetti squash washed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Using a peeler, peel a band around the squash (picture a rubber band that goes over the stem) to remove the shiny outermost layer.
  3. Using a heavy knife, slice the squash in half.
  4. Scoop out the seeds and extra fibers in the center.
  5. Season with the salt, pepper and oil and rub it all over the cut side of the squash.
  6. Place cut side down onto a baking sheet and cook for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, turn over and using an oven mitt to hold it (it will be SUPER hot), scrape out the squash with a fork into spaghetti like strands.
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All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

Save Recipe How To Cut, Cook and Season Spaghetti Squash in the Oven and Microwave EASILY!The easiest foolproof way to cut, prepare, season and cook Spaghetti Squash!

Ingredients

Mmmm Spaghetti Squash Goodness!

  • 1lb. of Grass-fed Ground Beef (my grocery store didn’t have grass-fed, so I went with regular)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 Small Cans of Organic Tomato Paste (check the ingredients – it should only contain organic tomatoes…though look for JARRED tomato paste or make your own.)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (it’s the small part that you’re breaking off a garlic bulb. i’ll explain more later).
  • Pepper…and salt if you want some.
  • Italian Seasoning (it’ll be in the spices aisle – pick the one that’s labeled “ITALIAN SEASONING.”  To be sure, open and smell – if it smells like ITALIAN SEASONING, you’re on the right track.  If you can’t find it at this point, you should probably just sit down and give up).
  • 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash – will make enough for two people.
  • Olive Oil – I like extra virgin olive oil.

Supplies

  • 1 Iron Skillet/Pan
  • 1 Medium Sized Pot
  • 1 Cookie sheet
  • 1 Sharp Knife
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Cutting Board
  • Tin Foil
  • Oven and Stove

If you’re like me (a nerd who generally stays away from the kitchen), half the stuff on the grocery list will be new to you.  I can certainly say I’ve never purchased a spaghetti squash before.  Honestly though, I found it fun to go exploring in new parts of the grocery store and track down these items.  Just keep the ingredient list with you, ask people for help if you need it, and pretend like you’re a contestant on Super Market Sweep (not that I do that…every time I’m in a store….).

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Combining the sauce AND THE SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Now, while your meat is cooking, take your empty pot, open up your two cans of tomato paste, and use a knife to scoop them out and pour in.  Then add your tomatoes.

Put the pot on low heat.  Around now, your meat should be cooked. 

Then dump in the meat, onions, and garlic into the pot and mix it all up.  If your sauce isn’t saucy enough, take your empty tomato paste can and dump in a can-sized amount of water (do one and see how the sauce looks, and then add a second if necessary).  At this point, feel free to add some more Italian seasoning and pepper.

You can leave the pot on really low heat and cover it up, while you’re finishing up everything else. Just stir it every so often so the bottom doesn’t burn.

Putting it all together

Pull your squash out of the oven after the 40 minutes is up, and using a pot holder and a knife/fork, flip the two halves over over.

Having two plates ready, use a fork to pull apart the inside of the squash…it’ll come apart very easily and look like spaghetti. 

Spaghetti Squash

Hollow out one, put it on a plate.  Hollow out the other, put it on the other plate.

This is the point where you say “OHHHH SO THAT’S WHY ITS CALLED SPAGHETTI SQUASH!”

Add your sauce on top, and BAM you have your home cooked, paleo spaghetti meal.  Finish off with a glass of water, red wine (not technically paleo I guess but hey, live a little), or some Drain-O and you’re good to go.

I’m kidding. please don’t drink Drain-O.

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