Cooking spaghetti squash will make any dish appear gourmet and its super easy to make. It’s harvested in the early fall and is available in markets throughout the winter and spring. With its oblong shape and pale yellow shell, be sure to choose a firm squash that’s free of soft spots and feels heavy in size. Winter squashes contain more carbohydrates than vegetables like leafy greens, summer squashes or zucchini. That’s why it’s the perfect vegetable to substitute in practically any recipe that calls for spaghetti.
Plus, winter squash is packed with beta- and alpha-carotene, antioxidants thought to help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. “If you’re watching carbs in order to lose weight, there’s no need to avoid eating squash,” Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, told The Globe and Mail. “In fact, if you swap squash for other starchy foods like rice and pasta you’ll save calories and carbs. For instance, if you substitute spaghetti squash for pasta, you’ll save 140 calories and 23 grams of carb per cup – and get double the fiber and six times the potassium.”
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Ready to start cooking spaghetti squash tonight? The most basic recipe you can start with in order to test it out at home first is with Butter and Parmesan Cheese. And kids love it this way. You will need a medium spaghetti squash, half a cup of grated parmesan cheese, half a stick of butter and some salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and use a paring knife to prick the squash all over. Then place in a baking dish and bake it for an hour or until it’s soft. Next, cut the squash in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Using a fork, scrape flesh in strings into a serving bowl and then toss the strings with the parmesan and butter and season to taste. That easy! Once you’ve mastered this, you can make Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto or add meatballs to the squash and serve it with your favorite tomato sauce. As with pasta dishes in general, the possibilities are endless.
If you plan to entertain a vegetarian at home soon, another unique recipe you can try is some Spiced Squash Pancakes with ginger, cumin and coriander. Served with a yogurt and fresh cilantro dip, your pancakes will have them talking for weeks after.
Lastly, there is our person gourmet fish dish favorite, Sautéed Scallops over Spaghetti Squash. The sautéed leeks, shallots and white wine involved add an earthy flavor to those big and buttery scallops sitting on top of your delicious baked spaghetti squash. Not only elegant on the plate, but a showstopper in creativity.
Photos 2 & 3 courtesy of Food Network.com