How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

Look at that. That doesn’t look like squash. It’s not mushy. It’s not orange. It’s not mushy.

…okay, I only know how to describe “typical” squash with two words, it would seem: mushy & orange. hmm.

Spaghetti squash is not like any other squash. I know this, because over the fall, i did a Tour d’Squash in which I bought, cooked, ate, and sculpted opinions around every type of squash I saw at the farmer’s market. Most of them generally had the same subtle, yet earthy, soothing, “squash-like” flavors, which morphed to whatever spices I paired with them. But spaghetti squash, well. I think it’s the coolest of all of the squashes. And not because it tastes like the most amazing thing in the world — I mean. It’s squash. It’s certainly delicious, but spaghetti squash is subtle, crisp, refreshing, and kind of creamy in ways that other squashes that I experienced were not. Also look at it. How is that a squash?! Awesome.

Some people cook spaghetti squash & then use it as a replacement for spaghetti. I don’t understand this, because if your meal is meat sauce over a pile of vegetables (or I guess squash is a fruit…?), you’re going to be hungry again fairly soon (plus, pasta is delicious). I like to eat it right out of the squash bowl, as you’ll see here, or sometimes mix cooked spagsquash in with sauteed mushrooms & onions. It can be very versatile–hmm, I just decided that it would probably be delicious with a fried egg on top…

Let’s get to it. Pre-heat your oven to 400, line your cookie sheet with tin-foil (unless you want to clean your cookie sheet later…), and grab  a spaghetti squash, some olive oil, and some salt and pepper (or other things instead if you want).

Chop it in half, length wise. You might want to use a bigger knife than I did…

After winning the battle against KnifeSquash, scrape out the seeds

And put your squash halves on your baking pan. You can save one half for later in the fridge (just cover it with saran wrap), but I’m cooking both halves right now, for the sake of Science. You can also cook it in the microwave by covering the top with saran wrap, putting it on a plate, and zapping it face up for, ohhhh, 10-13 minutes? it’s done with the sides easily fall in. I don’t think it tastes as delicious when cooked in the microwave.

Pour a little bit of olive oil in each bowl, and spread it around to coat the exposed squash flesh. Then put some salt & pepper on top (or use something else — I just put olive oil, salt, and pepper on pretty much everything that I roast). As I said, I’m doing some Science right now and trying to decide if I like my squashes cooked face up or face down. So. My squash halves are arranged like so:

I put them in the oven, and I checked on them after 40 minutes (I hope you are impressed that I noted cooking time!)

See how the face-down squash walls are sort of sagging?–this means it’s cooked. It makes sense that the face down one cooks faster, because any moisture that the squash gives off creates sort of a vacuum steam room area — the squash is cooking both from the oven temperature and from the steamy inner cavity thing. I definitely could have explained that more clearly, but I think you get it.

See, that’s the steamy inner cavity thing. Yum yum yum. oh, here is me demonstrating that the face-down half is cooked. notice how squashable it is? hah. see what i did there?

Verses the face up counterpart, which is far from squashy –it’s pretty firm, still, and the flesh isn’t easily pulled away from the wall.

So it’s back into the oven for face up squash half, and into my stomach for face down squash half. As I’ve said before, I’m a sophisticated lady, and thus will eat the squash right out of the squash shell, rather than first putting it into a bowl or something. Just use a fork to pull the flesh away from the squash wall. You can add whatever you’d like to the squash, or just eat it as is (it’s already flavored with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper). I like to add this Everyday Seasoning. I forget what’s in it, but it’s good enough to use every day. As you might have guessed! Yum.

Proof of deliciousness. About 30 minutes after I took out the face-down squash half, I decided that I was tired of cooking the face-up squash half, so declared it to be Cooked Sufficiently.It looks sufficiently cooked, don’t you think? The walls are sorta squashy.
And the squash flesh pulls away from the walls sort of easily. At this point, I was so enthusiastic about the Great Success of the Face Down Squash, that I didn’t really care about the face up squash. It’s in the fridge & I’m not even partly excited about eating it, but of course will enjoy it when the time comes.

So overall? Spaghetti squash is easy to cook, interesting, delicious, versatile, and (i think) is most successfully cooked face-down. Plus. Look at it.

I just think it’s totally awesome looking.

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13 Comments to “How To Cook Spaghetti Squash”

  1. I just learned SOO much about squash, squashy-ness, and deliciousness.

  2. Mmmmm, oh, my god, mmmmm.

  3. Sarah, I’ve been interested in the mysterious Spaghetti Squash recently and bam! you blog about it. Thanks for this, it’s next on my shopping list 🙂

  4. Super posting, I truly await messages by you.

  5. Ha! I have recently begun to cook mine face up after always doing face down. Know why? Because I don’t line my cooking sheet (stonewear) and face up doesn’t get the pan as nasty! But I agree on the deliciousness of spaghetti squash, and also on calling bull on subbing it for spaghetti. As much as I love it, it is NOT a spaghetti substitute. (But a great spaghetti complement!)

  6. Sarah,
    After I bought bananas today (re: your FB comment) and felt human again, I decided today is the day to cook spaghetti squash! It is now in the oven, and I have been taking pictures to show you. Question – how do you calculate points for this? Do you agree with the recipe builder, or go 0 points for fruits/veggies?

    • this, like any, is brilliant day for spagsquash. good move.

      the recipe builder is messed up for zero point foods. It adds together the fat/carbs/protein/fiber for everything in the recipe (including zero point foods, which still contain fat/carbs/protein/fiber) and then determines the points for the whole recipe.

      I, and most others who I’ve talked to about this, leave zero point foods out of the recipe builder. So, according to my recipe builder, my chili only has beef, beans, and olive oil in it. Of course it has way more stuff than that.

      Hope the banana(s?) did the trick!

      S

  7. I’ve never cooked it face down, but I will be now!

  8. some of us know pasta is delicious, but can’t eat grain. so now you know why SOME people eat spaghetti squash for pasta.

  9. calling it bull? for using it as spaghetti? i could say most assuredly that the people who do this do it because of food allergies or dietary restrictions. don’t call it bull. i love it with butter and parmesan xx

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