Spaghetti Squash

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 26. Aug. 2020
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​The pulp of the spaghetti squash looks and eats like noodles, making it an easy, delicious and much more healthy substitute for carb-loaded dishes.

spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash...

  • ...is a great pasta alternative. If you love spaghetti but want to save carbohydrates, you can replace your favorite pasta with squash: The spaghetti squash is called that because when cooked, its flesh breaks down into fine noodles. You can enjoy it as usual with tomato sauce or bolognese.
  • ...stays fresh for a long time. Fresh spaghetti squash keeps for a long time even at room temperature; in the refrigerator it will stay fresh for several weeks.
  • ...is good for your nerves. For the fact that it contains mainly water, spaghetti squash provides an amazing amount of magnesium (11 milligrams per 100 grams). The mineral is good for our muscles and nervous system, and helps to cope with stress in a more relaxed way.
  • ...supports healthy vision. Although spaghetti squash has relatives with significantly more vitamin A, it still contains 120 micrograms and thus supports our eyesight. But the vitamin is also good for the skin and mucous membranes.
  • ...can be mixed well. Unfortunately, the fiber content of spaghetti squash is not remarkable. But you can compensate for this wonderfully if you combine it with a mixed salad, other vegetables or cereals!
  • ...can trigger allergies. As healthy as the spaghetti squash is, if you are allergic to pollen, you may not tolerate it, because cross-reactions are possible.

What You Should Know About Spaghetti Squash

From the outside, the spaghetti squash, with its oval-round, elongated shape and cream-to-yellow skin resembles more a honeydew melon than any other squash variety. It grows up to 25 centimeters long and weighs between 2 to 4 pounds, depending on its size.

The name is in the spaghetti squash program—it owes it to the astonishing fact that its flesh has a fibrous consistency and forms spaghetti-shaped threads, which after cooking fall apart even more clearly into individual "noodles."

Origins

The spaghetti squash originally comes from Japan. A seed merchant discovered spaghetti squash in China and started breeding it in 1930. However, it took decades for this type of squash to make mainstream its many culinary and health benefits: Only since the ’70s has spaghetti squash been known in the US and Europe. 

Seasonality

The season of spaghetti squash starts in September and lasts through November.

Flavor

Spaghetti squash has a very mild flavor, similar to zucchini.


How Healthy Is Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash contains plenty of potassium and around 92 percent water, so it stimulates the function of the kidneys and bladder, and at the same time drains water naturally. Since spaghetti squash also contains hardly any fat and only a few calories, it is ideal for figure-conscious people. 

As far as vitamins A, C and E and fiber are concerned, spaghetti squash is rather stingy. If you prepare its flesh like pasta, and serve it with a mixed salad, it compensates perfectly for the small deficit.

Spaghetti Squash Nutritional Info (100 g)  
Calories 26
Protein 1 g
Fat 0.2 g
Carbohydrates 6 g
Fiber 1 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips for Spaghetti Squash

Shopping

Make sure that the spaghetti squash looks plump and flawless.

Storage

When stored in a dry place, a whole spaghetti squash with an intact stem base will keep for up to three months at 50 to 55 degrees F. A spaghetti squash that has already been cut or cooked can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Preparation

The preparation of spaghetti squash is simple. All you have to do is remove the stem and then boil it in water for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size. Then cut it in half with a sharp, large knife and remove the seeds. The "spaghetti" can then be pulled out of the squash halves with a fork.

The quickest way to cook a spaghetti squash is to make holes all around with a skewer before cooking. Then place it in a sufficiently large pot—the squash should be able to turn while cooking so that it is evenly cooked—and bring it to the boil well covered with water. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, possibly longer. Whether the spaghetti squash is perfect is revealed by pressing the skin with your finger: If it gives way, you can lift out the squash and let it drain.

A great alternative for the impatient: Simply cut the spaghetti squash in half, put it in the microwave with the cut facing upward, and cover it so that the flesh does not dry out. Cook on the highest heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the pulp breaks down into fibers and can be easily removed with a fork.

What To Make With Spaghetti Squash

The low-calorie and low-carbohydrate spaghetti squash can be prepared wonderfully instead of real pasta, for example with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Spaghetti squash also tastes great baked with cheese, in vegetable goulash or as a light side dish with meat, poultry and vegetarian roasts. 

For pasta fans who want to lose weight, the spaghetti squash is ideal, because they can take its flesh after cooking as a substitute for their beloved pasta and combine it with tomato sauce, pine nuts and parmesan, for example. Even those who love low carb or cannot eat conventional pasta due to a gluten intolerance have an advantage with spaghetti squash: Its fruit flesh tastes similar, but compared to real spaghetti (75 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams) with only 5 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, it has far fewer carbohydrates.

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