Surprise Them With Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is without a doubt one of the most unique foods you’ll ever cook. The melon-shaped winter squash is named for its flesh, which separates into spaghetti-like strands after it’s cooked. It is a great vegetable to involve the kids in cooking, as it almost seems like magic!
What’s even more magical is that most varieties of winter squash contain almost twice the calories per serving of spaghetti squash, which has only 42 calories per cup. It’s also very low in fat, with less than 0.5 grams of fat per cup. Spaghetti squash contains about 92 percent water by weight, which may account for its lack of calories. These qualities make spaghetti squash a good choice for weight-loss or weight-management plans. It will fill you up without adding a lot of calories or fat to your daily total.
You may have heard spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta but you haven’t ventured out to give one a try. They are super simple to cook; however like most squash they can be a bear to cut into! Just about any way you can think of to apply heat can be used to cook spaghetti squash. The big question is: to cut or not to cut before cooking? Well, I have tried both and see very little difference in the finished product.
To cook the spaghetti squash whole, just pierce the squash a few times with a sharp knife and bake for about an hour at 375°F. Once done slice in half and be sure to scrape out the seeds like you would clean any other squash. Then comes the surprise, scrape your fork across the outer flesh and you will have spaghetti like strands. Very cool!
To cook cut spaghetti squash, just cut in half and scrape out the seeds. You can drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like. Bake for about 40 minutes at 375°F rind side up. Your choice, either way you choose the finished product will work great in these surprising recipes!
Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash
(I am a huge Buffalo chicken fan so this one is a favorite!)
- 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 2 chicken breasts, cubed and thawed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- ¾ cup Franks Hot Sauce (more or less to taste)
- Blue cheese crumbles (more or less to taste)
- Heat a large saucepan with olive oil. Sauté garlic and green onions until golden. Add chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- While chicken is cooking, cook spaghetti squash in the microwave in a covered dish for about 6 minutes. Once the squash is cool scoop out the insides and seeds. Using a fork, gently scrape the rest of the spaghetti squash out. Fluff with the fork to get the strands loose.
- Add spaghetti squash to the saucepan and toss together with carrots and chopped cabbage.
- Stir in desired amount of Frank’s Hot Sauce. Garnish with blue cheese and green onions. Serve!
Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Mushrooms and Spinach
- 1 (3½ pound) spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 2 slices center-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 poblano pepper
- 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
- 1¼ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
- ½ cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- Preheat broiler. Cut poblano in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 5 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel and chop.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash halves cut side down in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add water to measure ½-inch deep. Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes. Turn squash over; bake an additional 15 minutes or until tender; cool. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove strands to measure 6 cups. Keep warm.
- Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Cool and crumble. Increase heat to medium-high; sprinkle chicken evenly with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to drippings in pan and cook 4 minutes; remove from pan.
- Heat remaining 1½ teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook 3 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently. Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, reserved bacon, poblano, garlic and Italian seasoning to pan; cook 1 minute.
- Stir in mushrooms and cook 4 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add wine to pan and cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Add reserved chicken, chicken broth, tomatoes, and spinach to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly; stir in ¼ cup cheese.
- Place about 1 cup squash on each of 6 plates; top each serving with about 1 cup chicken mixture and 2 teaspoons remaining cheese.
Serves 6. Each serving contains: 296 calories, 9.3 g fat, 31.2 g protein, 241 mg calcium, 707 mg sodium, 67 mg cholesterol, 2.4 g fiber, 23.8 g carbohydrate.
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 8-10 medium shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup white wine
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon olive oil may need a tad more
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic on a skillet until garlic is soft and starts to brown. Add wine and lemon and let simmer for a minute. Add shrimp and basil and simmer about 3 minutes, until shrimp starts to turn pink. Add the tomatoes and simmer until they’re warm and soft.
- Add to your spaghetti squash and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Spaghetti Squash Crust Pizza
- 4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (2 small)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella (partly skim)
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1 teaspoon parsley, dried
- Salt & pepper
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- ¼ onion, diced
- ¼ cup pizza sauce
- 1 cup fresh spinach, torn
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line pizza pan with parchment paper. DO NOT skip the parchment paper! Set aside.
- Press your spaghetti squash in a strainer to get out any excess moisture (or use cheesecloth).
- In a large bowl, combine spaghetti squash, mozzarella cheese, egg and egg whites, garlic, and spices. Mix together until well combined.
- Let sit for a few minutes – if you notice a lot of liquid gathering in the bottom of the bowl then drain it off. Press the squash mixture evenly into the prepared pizza pan. Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, until crust appears dry.
- While the crust is baking – sauté the mushrooms and onion in a fry pan until mushrooms are soft and onions are translucent. Remove from heat.
- Remove pizza crust from oven. Spread the pizza sauce over the crust. Spread your onion and mushrooms and spinach over the sauce. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
- Return to 400°F oven and bake another 10-15 minutes or so – until cheese is bubbly and edges of crust are browned. You can place under the broiler for a minute or two if you really want to brown things up.
- Let sit for about 5 minutes before cutting. You can use the parchment paper to slide it off the pan to make it easier to cut. (Just run a butter knife around the edge to loosen from the sides of the pan).
One quarter of this pizza contains: 212 calories, 10 g fat, 14 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein.