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The Very Surprising Spaghetti Squash!
If you’re a big pasta fan, it might be time to try a different type of spaghetti: spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is a yellow-orange vegetable harvested in early fall. When cooked, the inside of the squash can be shredded into long, thin strands similar to angel hair noodles, and can be used in comparable ways.
While a cup of spaghetti pasta has around 200 calories, a cup of spaghetti squash has around 30 calories, what a big difference!! While spaghetti squash doesn’t necessarily taste like pasta, once covered when covered in tomato sauce, it makes a super healthy substitute. It has a delicate, texture and a milder flavor than most squash, it takes on the flavor of sauces and seasonings very easily. To produce the inner noodles, spaghetti squash must be cooked until tender. There are a few ways to go about this. Kids love to watch this veggie transformation.
Cooking Spaghetti Squash
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the squash in 2 halves, scrape out the seeds and the fiber out of each half. Spray oil over the cut sides of the squash. Spray the baking sheet with oil and place the squash on the baking sheet cut side down.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Remove it from the oven when it’s cooked through and soft, and let it cool. Flip the squash so that cut side faces up – that will speed up the cooling. After squash cools, scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands and transfer to a bowl. Let it cool.
- Wring out or dry the spaghetti squash by wrapping portions of it in paper towels and squeezing hard with your hands over the sink. Try to get rid of as much liquid as you can.
Cooked spaghetti squash can be refrigerated for 5 days. It tends to cook better for fritters if you refrigerate for a day or two, allowing the spaghetti squash to drain the liquid out and get dryer, which is preferable for fritters. Give these easy yummy makeovers a try!!
Shrimp Scampi Makeover
- 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 ½ teaspoons seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
- Salt and Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chopped green onion
- 3 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
For the spaghetti (squash);
- 1 (2-3 pounds) spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or spray with a non-stick spray.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise from stem to tail and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place squash cut side down, onto the baking dish. Place into oven and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Using a fork, scrape the cooked squash into long strands.
- Season shrimp with seafood seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, garlic, and green onion. Cook stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside and keep warm.
- Add squash and spinach to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is heated through and the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in basil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately, topped with shrimp and garnished with additional Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 201, Fat 20g, Carbohydrates 10g, Fiber 2g, Protein 26g, Sodium 1544mg.
Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, or hoisin if you prefer
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, thin sliced
- 1 cup sugar snap peas
- 1 large carrot julienned
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Sriracha, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F, oil a sheet pan or spray with a non-stick spray.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and seed strands. Place cut side down on the prepared sheet pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash becomes tender. Scrape the strands from each half. Set aside.
- For the sauce; In a medium bowl combine soy sauce, vinegar, and oyster sauce. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, cook until soft.
- Add the red bell pepper, snow peas, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes.
- Add the spaghetti squash strands and the sauce. Stir until everything in the pan is coated. Cook about an additional minutes until everything is hot. Do not overcook or the squash will become mushy.
- Serve with additional salt, and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, serve with hot sauce.
Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 181, Fat 8g, Carbohydrates 25g, Fiber 5g, Protein 3g, Sodium 455mg.
Cajun Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bake
- 2 medium spaghetti squash
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into small cubes
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut each spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Rub ½ tablespoon of olive oil on each half and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Place in the oven, flesh side up, and roast for 30 minutes. Let the squash cool.
- Cook the chicken: While the squash is roasting, toss the chicken breast cubes in 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning until evenly coated. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a very large sauté pan or skillet (preferably oven safe) over medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the chicken and sauté for 5-7 minutes, flipping the pieces once to brown on all sides. It’s best to brown the chicken in 2 batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Cook the veggies: To the same pan, add the onion and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté the onions for about 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the bell peppers, 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened. Then, add in the diced tomatoes and cream cheese. Stir gently until combined. Take the mixture off the heat and set aside.
- Add in spaghetti squash: When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the spaghetti strands out of each half. Add the spaghetti squash and the chicken to the sauté pan and toss to combine. If using an oven-safe pan, place the skillet in the oven. Or, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
- Bake and serve: Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes until the edges are slightly crispy. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese before serving.
Each 1 ½ cup serving contains: Calories 259, Fat 10.7g, Carb 22g, Fiber 5.4g, Protein 21.3g, Sugar 10.6g, Sodium 997mg.
Broccoli Stuffed Lasagna
- 2 small spaghetti squash (about 1 lb. 10 oz. each)
- 1 c. no-salt-added small-curd cottage cheese
- 1/4 c. grated Romano cheese
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 8 oz. frozen broccoli florets, thawed, squeezed of excess moisture and chopped
- 3/4 c. low-sodium marinara or tomato sauce
- 3 oz. part-skim mozzarella, grated
- Using a large serrated knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out and discard the seeds.
- Place all 4 squash halves, cut side down, on a large piece of parchment paper in the microwave. Cook on high power until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the broiler and lower the rack to the middle position of the oven. In a bowl, combine the cottage cheese, Romano, and tsp pepper; fold in the broccoli.
- Season the squash halves with tsp each salt and pepper, then use a fork to scrape up most of the squash strands, leaving them in the squash. Divide the cheese mixture among the squash and top with the sauce, then the mozzarella. Broil until the filling is heated through and the top is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with a green salad, if desired.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 217, Fat 8.5g.