Guilt Free Spaghetti Squash

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If you are like me you are a true pasta lover, but know that all of those carbs aren’t really your friend. When you are craving a big bowl of pasta but want to keep it lighter try cooking up 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 degrees. 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 degrees rind side up. Your choice, either way you choose the finished product will work great in these surprising recipes!

 

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Slice the spaghetti squash in half and then scoop out the seeds in the center.
  2. Place a trivet or steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add a cup of water into the bottom. Arrange the cut squash halves on top of the trivet and secure the lid. Make sure the steam release valve in the lid is turned to the Sealing position.
  3. Use the pressure cook or manual button to set the pressure cooker to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. It will take roughly 8-10 minutes for the pot to build pressure before the cooking cycle begins, so make sure to consider that extra time when planning your meal.
  4. When the timer goes off, carefully turn the steam release valve to Venting, to quickly release any remaining steam pressure. (Make sure your hand isn’t over the vent, so that you don’t get burned by the steam.)
  5. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it’s safe to remove the lid. Use a fork to check the squash to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. I like my squash to be tender, but not mushy. If there is water collected in the center of your squash, drain it before serving.
  6. To serve the squash, use the tines of a fork to separate the cooked strands into spaghetti-like pieces and remove them from the hard shell. Use the cooked squash in your favorite recipe and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Tomato Parmesan Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 can (14 ounce) san Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup basil pesto, homemade or store bought
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, torn
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place the squash on a plate and microwave 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash in a baking dish and rub the cut sides with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place 1 garlic clove in the center of each squash. Transfer to the oven and bake 30-40 minutes, until the squash is tender and the garlic roasted.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted garlic cloves, tomatoes, paprika, oregano, crushed red pepper, and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the basil and pesto.
  3. Spoon the tomato sauce evenly into each spaghetti squash half. Top with mozzarella, bread crumbs, if using, and Parmesan. Return to the oven and roast another 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  4. Let the squash sit 5 minutes, then use a fork to scrape the squash into strands, mixing the cheese with the squash. Serve topped with fresh basil.

Spaghetti Squash Cheesy Breadsticks

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked & chopped spaghetti squash
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 4 tbsp. flour (use almond flour if you want to reduce the carbs)
  • 3 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop cooked spaghetti squash so that pieces are no more than 1 inch long. Measure out 2 cups. Save the rest of your spaghetti squash for another recipe.
  3. Using a tea towel or several sturdy paper towels, work in small batches to wring dry the spaghetti squash. When you are finished, you should have about 1 cup of spaghetti squash remaining.
  4. Add spaghetti squash, egg, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, and flour to a large mixing bowl. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  5. Dump squash mixture onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread out the batter so that it forms an oval that is approximately 9 inches long and ¼ inch thick.
  6. Bake in oven about 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and the surface is dry to the touch. Remove from oven and carefully flip over. Sprinkle ¾ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese across the surface.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 425°F. Bake for about 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to blister. Sprinkle parsley over breadsticks. Slice and serve.


Serves 10. Each serving contains
 Calories 62, Fat 4 g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 101 mg, Cholesterol 24 mg, Carbohydrate 2 g.

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls

(Adapted from Cookie and Kate)

Ingredients

Spaghetti Squash

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds each), halved and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cabbage and Black Beans

  • 2 cups purple cabbage, thinly sliced and roughly chopped into 2-inch long pieces
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions, both green and white parts
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Salsa Verde

  • ¾ cup mild salsa Verde, your favorite brand or homemade
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled feta

Directions

  1. To roast the spaghetti squash: Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. On the baking sheet, drizzle the halved spaghetti squash with olive oil. Rub the olive oil all over each of the halves, adding more if necessary.
  2. Sprinkle the insides of the squash with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Turn them over so the insides are facing down. Roast for 40 to 60 minutes, until the flesh is easily pierced through with a fork.
  3. Cabbage and Black Beans: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, black beans, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Toss to combine and set aside to marinate.
  4. Salsa Verde: In the bowl of a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, salsa Verde, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  5. To assemble, first use a fork to separate and fluff up the flesh of the spaghetti squash. Then divide the slaw into each of the spaghetti squash “bowls,” and add a big dollop of avocado salsa Verde. Finish the bowls with another sprinkle of pepper, cilantro, and optional crumbled feta