Pasta Alternative: Spaghetti Squash

I love pasta. LOVE it. However, like all good things, pasta must be consumed in moderation. You mean eating pasta four times a week instead of six times a week isn’t moderation? You lie!

Fortunately, I have a fantastic pasta alternative to introduce you. You may have even passed it a few times in the produce section without knowing it. It’s hearty, it’s very filling, and it only has 42 calories per cup. It even twirls on your fork like pasta.

It's a pasta impersonator!

It’s spaghetti squash, it looks like this, and it can be found near the onions, garlic, and potatoes in your grocery store. Many stores carry this year-round even though the peak season for squash is fall.

Spaghetti Squash

There are two methods for preparing spaghetti squash. The first is to roast it whole, and the second is to roast it in halves. If you do not have an extremely sharp knife, roast it whole. Spaghetti squash has a tough outer skin and, until it is roasted, the flesh is thick and tough as well. When I say you need an extremely sharp knife to cut it in half, I mean it. I used a cleaver and still struggled slightly.

Whole Roasted Spaghetti Squash – Method 1

The skin looks toasted and the edges turn brown when the squash is done.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a metal skewer or sharp knife, pierce the squash 7 or 8 times so it doesn’t explode when you roast it. Note: I have no idea if the squash will actually explode if you do not pierce it, but the holes help steam the interior of the squash.
  3. Roast on a baking sheet for about an hour. It may take a little longer depending on the size of your squash. You will know it is done when the skin of the squash looks toasted and parts of it start to brown. The squash will also be tender to the touch. Note: When in doubt, roast it another 10-15 minutes. You can’t really over roast the squash unless you leave it in there so long that it starts to burn. 
  4. When you remove the squash from the oven it will be VERY hot so make sure you handle it with oven mitts. Cut the squash in half and let cool for about 10 minutes or until you can touch it without burning your hands.
  5. Using a spoon, scrape out the center portion where the seeds are. Once it is clean, use a fork to scrap out the flesh of the squash. The flesh will be stringy, hence the name spaghetti squash.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash – Method 2

42 calories per cup compared to 174 calories per cup of cooked whole wheat pasta

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using an extremely sharp knife, slice the spaghetti squash in half. It is easier to slice if you cut off the top creating a flat surface.

If you wish, you can save, clean, and toast the seeds.

  1. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds and stringy bits from the center of the squash.

All cleaned out.

  1. Place cut side down in a baking dish. Fill baking dish 1/3 way full of water and cover with tin foil.
  2. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour.
  3. Let squash cool for about 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven until you can handle it. Using a fork, scrape out the flesh of the squash.

Top your spaghetti squash with sauce as you would regular pasta. If you are trying to lose weight or want a gluten-free pasta alternative, you really can’t go wrong with spaghetti squash. Because of the low calorie count, you can get away with toppings you normally may have to omit–like cheese!

The sauce I used is from The Post Punk Kitchen. You can also find it in the post below.

Do you have any favorite pasta alternatives?

3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Pasta Alternative: Spaghetti Squash

  1. [...] For this recipe, I used 1 pound of group beef added to store-bought Marinara sauce and served it over regular pasta for my husband. Since, pasta is on the “No” list when it comes to Paleo eating, I had to change it up a bit for myself. Technically, cheese isn’t Paleo either, but I had to cheat a little bit. Don’t tell. If you do not have a pasta eater in the house, I would suggest making the same amount of sauce and serving the leftovers with spaghetti squash. [...]

  2. [...] love spaghetti squash. I always have one on hand. I usually use it as an alternative to pasta, especially now that I am [...]

  3. [...] fall/holiday food is squash. I love all types of squash–acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, you name it. If it’s a squash, I want to roast it and eat it. I especially want to toast the [...]

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