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How to Cook and Prepare a Spaghetti Squash

Updated on April 15, 2016
firm, mild, golden strands of spaghetti squash
firm, mild, golden strands of spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash Doesn't Taste Like a Squash

I admit that, when I first heard about substituting a squash for pasta, I was skeptical. I thought it would turn to mush when I tried to eat it and would taste ... squashy.

The first time I tried it, I was really surprised. The strands were not mushy at all. They have a texture that is a little crisper than regular cooked spaghetti, but not at all tough. The flavor is so mild that, when you put marinara sauce on it, you can't even taste the squash. It is the perfect spaghetti stand-in and an easy way to work veggies into your diet.

It does take a little longer to prepare than regular spaghetti, but the process is not difficult.

A spaghetti squash this size will feed one or two people as a main dish.
A spaghetti squash this size will feed one or two people as a main dish.

First, Catch Your Squash

You can see in the picture what spaghetti squash look like. They are available in the grocery store. Nice clear label on the sticker.

I try to cook only as much as I'm going to eat in a sitting. Cooked spaghetti squash keeps for a day or two in the fridge, but no longer.

Whole, raw spaghetti squash, on the other hand, can keep for a few weeks in a cool, dark place, so you can stock up.

Cut the squash in half.
Cut the squash in half.
It should look like this when the seeds are cleaned out.
It should look like this when the seeds are cleaned out.

Prepare Your Spaghetti Squash

Preheat your oven to 375 F, or 400 if you are in a hurry.

Rinse the outside of the squash. Using a large knife, carefully cut the squash in half. This is similar to cutting a pumpkin on Halloween. You will see strings and seeds inside. Use a large spoon to scrape them out (stop when the flesh starts peeling out with them).

Put the squash halves face down on a baking sheet.
Put the squash halves face down on a baking sheet.

Cook Your Spaghetti Squash

Put the two halves of the squash face-down on a baking sheet as shown. As you can see, I have used a layer of aluminum foil so the sheet is easier to clean.

That's it. You don't even have to prick holes in the squash as you would for a potato.

Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes to one hour, or at 400 F for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. When it is done, it will feel soft if you put on an oven mitt and gently squeeze it.

Scrape the cooked flesh out of the squash with a fork.
Scrape the cooked flesh out of the squash with a fork.

And Now the Magic Happens

Now for the fun step. Grasp a squash half in one hand, being sure to use an oven mitt. With the other hand, use a fork to scrape the flesh out of the spaghetti squash and into a serving dish.

It will automatically come out in spaghetti-shaped strings. Their length will be a bit shorter than spaghetti noodles, however.

Repeat with the other half.

Drizzle your favorite oil on the squash and toss with a fork.
Drizzle your favorite oil on the squash and toss with a fork.

Serve

You may want to drain the squash strands in a strainer if they are a little watery.

Return to the serving bowl. Drizzle on your favorite oil and toss with a fork, just as you would do with spaghetti. Now you can serve the squash just as you would serve spaghetti. It's that simple.

Spaghetti sauce doesn't usually photograph that well, but here's what it looked like on my plate.

Spaghetti squash goes well with marinara sauce.
Spaghetti squash goes well with marinara sauce.

Let's Review

  1. Preheat oven 375 F.
  2. Wash the spaghetti squash, cut it in half, and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Bake at 375 F for about an hour.
  4. Scrape out the flesh with a fork.
  5. That's all there is to it. Add a little oil and serve!

Cook Time for Spaghetti Squash

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: Main-dish spaghetti squash for two people

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 13 months ago from the short journey

      Spaghetti squash is such an amazing food. For a first-timer its curious, but once it's tried, there's no turning back! Thanks for the cooking lesson.

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 9 months ago

      Surprise! Hey, Jennifer,

      I gotcha good. You and I have been sharing comments on the names for babies hub I wrote so I landed on this hub which I love.

      This is ironic. This past evening I had some delish Winter Squash for dinner and was it good.

      I am on a strict Fresh Diet given to me by my cardio guy and I can eat this along with greens, beans and meat as long as it is baked.

      GREAT job on this work. Loved the photos.

      Keep up the fine work.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Mugrage 9 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Hey Kenneth! Glad this was useful to you. It will change your life, I swear.

      Thanks for the visit.

    • Spanish Food profile image

      Lena Durante 13 days ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      So easy! It just takes a little more planning ahead. Leftovers are great in frittata or veggie cakes, too.

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