tutorial tuesday: spaghetti squash.

by Janetha on September 7, 2011

in how to,recipes

do you like squash?

growing up, i HATED squash. yellow, acorn, butternut and, yep, spaghetti.

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i also hated zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms and mustard.. but that is beside the point.  i always thought spaghetti squash looked so.. so.. stringy. and, well, squashy. no thanks!

as my taste buds matured, i started eating all of the aforementioned foods and i actually grew ridiculously fond of spaghetti squash. the taste and texture combined are like no other food out there.  additionally, it is inexpensive, healthy, low calorie and easy to cook.

i am not ashamed to say that one of the reasons i love spaghetti squash so much is how much of it  i can eat for minimal calories. i am a volume eater, so when i can have 2 cups of spaghetti squash for less than 100 calories rather than a half cup of cooked whole wheat spaghetti (also around 100 calories)—it’s a no brainer for me. more bang for my calorie buck. sheesh, give me four cups of squash! okay, no, that would be a tad too filling, even for me.

i have been asked several times how to cook a spaghetti squash. i have to let you in on my secret: i microwave it. yep. call me lazy, but that’s just the only method i have ever known.

i know that you can boil it, steam it, bake it or roast it.. but i nuke it.  i learned this from momma b.  growing up, there were a few things she always cooked in the microwave: scrambled eggs, hot cocoa, corn on the cob, sweet and sour meatballs and spaghetti squash (am i missing anything, mom?)

today, because it is tuesday and i love alliteration, i am going to give you a step-by-step tutorial of my method to cook spaghetti squash.

first, pick out a squash. it looks like this:

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next, grab a really big knife and your muscles. or your husband’s muscles. whack that bad boy in half!

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long ways or wide ways.. any way will do.

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i usually do it long ways, but that’s because i am a creature of habit. in all honesty, chopping it wide ways (is that even the right term? you know what i mean) is probably easier to do.

moving on.

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you can opt to scrape the seeds out before cooking or after cooking. it’s really up to you. i prefer to scoop them out before cooking because it’s a little easier to do while the squash is hard (TWSS.) this time, i scraped the seeds out of one half before and the other half after just for kicks.

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now, grab your saran wrap.

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lay out a nice long sheet and put one squash inside down on the wrap.

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pull the plastic over the outside of the squash.

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cut your wrap and seal up all the edges.

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repeat with the other half, then place both halves in the microwave.

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the time it will take to cook the squash will depend on the size. i always start with ten minutes and go from there.

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after ten minutes, check the squash by sticking a fork into the edge of the flesh near the skin.  if it is tender, it is done.  this squash was on the large side, so i ended up cooking it for a total of 12 minutes 30 seconds.

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if you choose to eat your squash immediately, you can unwrap each half right away. alternately, you can transfer the squash from the microwave to the fridge to use when you want. right now, one half is still in my fridge in the saran wrap.

i used the other half immediately. careful if you are unwrapping it hot out of the microwave—it will be HOT and STEAMY!

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to remove the flesh from the skin, it’s easiest to use a fork. once the squash is cooked, it easily shreds off the skin.

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shred, shred, shred…

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…until it’s scraped clean.

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just one half of this squash produced three servings—one serving being one cup (or 150 grams).

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tons of squash in less than 15 minutes!

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once you have the squash prepared, you can use it in so many ways! the possibilities are endless and because of the mild flavor, you can really use it as a blank canvas.

here a few of my favorite ways to use spaghetti squash:

  • straight up with salt & pepper
  • mixed with cottage cheese & ranch seasoning
  • to bulk up a casserole
  • instead of spaghetti noodles—topped with marinara or another pasta sauce
  • in my “faux lasagna” as seen here
  • as the noodles in an asian dish with peanut sauce (SO GOOD)
  • in a stir fry—which is what i did tonight!

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i made a clean-out-the-fridge stir fry tonight. it turned out delicious! do you spy the spaghetti squash?

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clean-out-the-fridge stir fry.

serves four, body for life friendly!

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ingredients:

  • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 T minced garlic (or 2-3 cloves.. i used the jarred stuff)
  • 1 large bunch of bok choy, chopped roughly (yield ~2 cups)
  • 10 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1-2 T low sodium soy sauce (to taste)
  • 1 can of sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash
  • red pepper flakes (if you like it hot!)
  • 1 cup cooked long grain brown rice (yield 4 servings—1/2 cup uncooked)

directions:

1. cook you rice according to package directions.

2. meanwhile, spray a wok (or large skillet) with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. add turkey and onion to wok.  brown turkey until cooked through, remove from wok and set aside.

3. return wok or skillet to stovetop and heat over medium-high heat. add sesame oil and garlic to wok and stir continuously for one minute.

4. add bok choy, asparagus and soy sauce to wok. stir fry for 4 or 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften (but you want to keep them a bit crisp).

5. add water chestnuts and spaghetti squash to wok. stir continuously until heated through. add red pepper flakes and more soy sauce if desired.

6. serve a quarter of the stir fry mixture with a quarter cup of cooked rice.

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enjoy!

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nutritional info per serving:

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now you know my spaghetti squash secret! are there any other tutorials you’d like to see?

Qs~

1. do you like spaghetti squash? what is your favorite kind of squash?

2. are there any foods you cook in the microwave? (aside from microwave dinners or popcorn Winking smile )

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dana @ my little celebration September 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

I didn’t know you could do spaghetti squash in the micro! Great idea!

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List September 7, 2011 at 11:51 am

I use my microwave for way too many things. Henry honestly thinks that a grilled cheese is me putting a slice of cheese between two slices of bread, putting it on a plate and gasp..microwaving it!! SAD!

janetha September 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

omg you just took me BACK to my wonder bread years! a slice of wonder topped with cheddar, open face, microwaved.. yummmm

Danielle (Shrinking and Studying) September 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

I can never resist commenting when someone writes a post about spaghetti squash! I adore spag. squash. :)

Cutting it can be a little scary but I discovered that if you just stab a few holes in it and microwave it for like 8 minutes, it softens up and is a breeze to cut! Then (if I’m in a hurry) I just wrap it in saran wrap and microwave it the microwave like you do. If I’m not in a hurry I like to wrap it in foil and bake it in the oven with a couple cloves of garlic in the hollow part. I find it tastes a little different (better, in my opinion), but I like them both ways! :)

I don’t microwave a lot of things, but I also usually microwave my sweet potatoes and my steamed veggies since it is so much faster than using the oven or stovetop.

The Delicate Place September 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

i love spag squash. i cook mine in the microwave too just half squash down in 1/2inch of water in a glass pie dish. you can see a burn forming on the inside of my forearm from the steam: http://thedelicateplace.com/2010/02/24/spaghetti-meatballs/ suffer for blogging haha. i love pumpkin and kabocha as well. i’m turning orange already from consumption :) i cook eggs in the microwave all the time!

Lindsay@ biking before bed September 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I also grew up a spaghetti squash hater. I still don’t cook it that often. And honestly cooking in a microwave scares me more than the oven! I mostly use mine for leftovers and oatmeal!

Colleenzo September 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I’m fairly obsessed with spaghetti squash. I’m intently watching 7 grow in my garden right now, just waiting until they’re ready to be devoured. I split 50/50 on cooking in the oven vs. the microwave. I find they cook more evenly in the oven, but most of the time I’m in a hurry, so the microwave it is! I’m also a volume eater, so it’s perfect for me!

mary @ what's cookin with mary September 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Great tutorial J. I have always micro-ed my spag squash. Once, I used the oven method and the only difference: the time it took. …and the mess. …and the hot kitchen from turning on my oven in the summer. Fail. I have such a hard time cutting them in half whilst raw that I just poke some holes in it with a knife and cook it whole and then cut it after. If I were stronger I wouldn’t do it this way bc cutting a flaming hot squash is not easy. …neither is picking out piping hot seeds! I’ve actually got a a spag squash sitting on my counter waiting to be made into a casserole :)

Jessica @ Healthy Dairyland September 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I have never had spaghetti squash. I think that needs to change this fall! I always cook potatoes and sweet potatoes in the microwave. So much faster than the oven!

Katy September 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm

First off, I love your blog!! :-)
I also cook my spaghetti squash in the microwave but I don’t use saran wrap (never thought of it), I place mine cut side down on a plate and cook for about 10 mins. If I’m not using both halves I put one in a freezer bag and put in the frig. I also cook zucchini and asparagus in the microwave. I use a julienne peeler for the zucchini to make noodles and nuke it for about 20-30 secs. For the asparagus I wrap them in a wet paper towel and then nuke for about 1 min depending on how many I’m doing (the other night I did 20 asparagus’ and cooked for 3 mins and it was a little too done for me).
But I love all squashes!
As far as tutorials go, I would love to see the recipe for your “asian dish with peanut sauce” with the spaghetti squash!! :-)

Christina September 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I love spaghetti squash! You might be a creature of habit but I’m a creature of no patience! I nuke it also but really because I never have an extra hour to roast a squash that I’m going to then use to cook my week night dinner. Micro it is! I’ve also used it and added just a bit of pasta so I have a higher ratio of veg to carb :)

RhodeyGirl September 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I am also a volume eater which is the only reason why I would ever eat spaghetti squash. I am not afraid to admit that!

Ali Mc September 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I find eating healthy to be sooooo difficult but your recipes make it so easy :) I just made a spaghetti casserole over on my blog and you know what I think I may try using this squash Idea instead :D

I totally want to tackle your stir fry too!!!!!

Christin September 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I’ve never (gasp!) tried spaghetti squash! You make it look really fun to prepare though, so maybe I should give it a whack!

I sometimes microwave eggs to poach them in a hurry, (and that sometimes results in a small egg explosion), and occasionally i’ll eat pretzel dough hot pockets (i know, terrible right?) but other than that and popcorn, I usually use the stove/oven :)

Oh! This sounds terrible, but if ants ever invade your house and they are covering your dishes and it’s totally pissing you off, it’s very stress relieving to put an ant covered dish in the microwave and watch them pop…not that i’ve tried this ever, i’m just sayin…..mmmokay all done typing now…..

Janetha September 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm

hahahahaha

Lara September 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I adore spaghetti squash and usually microwave mine, too, but usually in a glass dish. I’m going to try your way next time!

marisa September 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I wonder if my girls will plug their noses and drink milk with it like we used to? And it is funny that you remember those things being nuked, because most of them I remember being done on the stovetop or crockpot. But I’m pretty sure I was 15 before we got a microwave. Was that before or after the TV?

melissa@the hungry artist September 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Awesome recipe! I love that you threw it in stir fry. I’ll have to try that. I usually eat it with marinara, or with a bit of butter and cinnamon — SO good. I also usually roast mine in the oven. I love that your way only takes 10 minutes!! It takes almost an hour in the oven, so next time I’ definitely going to try it your way. Thanks for posting!

sarah September 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I LOVE spaghetti squash, yet there’s few recipes that incorporate it! Thanks for the inspiration :) It was actually one of the first few foods I ever made.. the first two being eggs and artichoke. It’s ironic because many people think of those three ingredients as “challenging”, but I grew up watching my mom make them so it came naturally! I do sweet potatoes in the micro for a few minutes to speed up the roasting process, and occassionally rice. Good ol micro Minute rice ;)

Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio September 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Thanks for posting this. I’ve never made spaghetti squash and now I will!

Andie ( @AndieRuns) September 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Thank you! I’ve been looking for a spaghetti squash that fits my totally lazy cooking style! :) I will definitely be trying this one soon.

Jen September 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I steam veggie’s in the microwave…wrong? Oh well. ;) Squash is good with marinara sauce, but I still serve along with chicken and veggies. I find too much of the squash doesn’t “sit” right with me.

Amanda September 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Making some spaghetti squash in the micro now! YUM. It’s a good way for a gluten-free boo to get some pasta sauce and parmesan in. I only eat pasta for the sauce anyway!

I microwave almost nothing. Now I think i should!

Naomi(onefitfoodie) September 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm

whoa whoa whoa…momma B made corn on the corb and sweet and sour meatballs in the microwave?! I gotta see this! do a guest post :)

umm i love your tutorial…I have cooked one in the microwave before and it came out quite tasty! somteimes I start it in the microwave then transfer it to the over to crisp up a bit, but either way i LOVE the stuff and so figure friendly (as my gal, rachel ray would say)

I always steam up veggies in the microwave, make hot cocoa, just heat up food really lol

xoxo

BroccoliHut September 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Ooh! I had no idea you could make spaghetti squash in the m-wave! I always fire up the oven, but this looks much more convenient.
I love spaghetti squash–so good with broccoli, tomato sauce, and maybe some tempeh bacon :) I like acorn squash too though–makes great soup!
I cook corn on the cob in the microwave sometimes. It’s just such a hassle to make it in a pot when you’re just boiling one or two ears.

Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats September 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I am a squash lover. I remember my grandma used to roast acorn squash and slather it in butter for me. lol. What a way to get started.

I have learned so many spaghetti sqash tricks from you! I love it. Do you know when it is considered “in season”?

Janetha September 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I have no idea. I think right now, though!

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli September 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

LOVE spaghetti squash! Well, any squash really…but my favorite is kabocha. Perfectly roasted, sweet, kabocha! Mmmm! I like the idea of using the SS in a stir fry. I’ve done the Asian thing with it before, but just used it as a noodle base. I really like doing 1/2 SS and 1/2 pasta for spaghetti too!

I went about 6 months without a microwave when mine broke last Thanksgiving (yeah, THAT was a pain) so I learned to live without it pretty quickly. Then, I FINALLY get a working microwave and rarely ever use it! That is until I realized with a little tweaking, I actually kinda like microwaved oats as opposed to stovetop!

LG September 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

I do my spaghetti sqash in the microwave too! Except I put it cut-side down in a casserole dish with a 1/2 inch of water in it. Seems to work ok but your method looks easy for immediate storage after…

Sara @ Baking & Biking September 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

Loved this post! I also love alliterations (hence my blog name- Baking & Biking), and I’ve seen spaghetti squash in stores and at the farmers market and been too scared to buy it. Now I could buy it and actually know how to cook it. Thanks!

Allie September 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I love the microwaving with saran wrap idea – much easier and much faster! I’m sold, that’s how I will be preparing my spaghetti squash from now on.

And the idea of using spaghetti squash as noodles in an asian dish with peanut sauce? That just sounds like all sorts of yum.

Ali September 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm

You should never ever put wax paper in the oven or microwave. It is not designed to be heated. The “wax” coating is not heat proof and it extremely flammable. Parchment paper however, is safe to heat and the coating is foodgrade plastic. Saran wrap is safe as long as is states that it is microwave safe. Some cheap stuff is not, it should say.

mary @ what's cookin with mary September 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Amy September 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Catching up on your posts and I must thank you for this. I have been dying to try spaghetti squash but haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it. Thanks!

Christin@purplebirdblog September 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I totally just re-looked up your tutorial so I can microwave spaghetti squash for the first time! :)

Alta October 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I totally microwave spaghetti squash too! Only I am even lazier than you are. I just take a big knife and poke a few holes in it (deep enough to get through the outer skin) and lay it on a plate or paper towels in the microwave. Yup, whole. And I nuke it until when I press/squeeze it, it gives. (Gingerly, cause it’s HOT!) Then I let it cool for a bit, and proceed with the whacking in half, seed scooping, and spaghetti squash flesh removal. You can also microwave pumpkins the same way, if you want to use them for pumpkin puree. I love winter squash. Yay fall!

Patti November 1, 2015 at 5:14 pm

i wash it then stab a couple of times then cook it whole, if a knife goes in easy, it’s done. Take out carefully, cut it in half and then take out seeds and use fork for the rest. You can eat like this or put in a cassarole dish add cinnamon or brown sugar. Can use microwave or oven. So easy

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