Spaghetti Squash

Why squash?

Winter is on the way, which means that winter squashes such as spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and more are coming back in season. We try to eat seasonally as much as possible in our house-eating produce that is in season is not only better for the environment, it’s better for your body! Studies have shown that some crops can have up to three times more nutrients when grown and consumed in season vs. out of season.  If you are craving a big bowl of pasta but want a healthier approach, then spaghetti squash is a must. Not only is it a gluten-free, paleo, low-carb option, squash also contains tons of healthy nutrients and body benefits.


Benefits:

  • Provides vitamin A in the form of the carotenoids (alpha-carotene and beta-carotene), which help to maintain normal vision, keep skin healthy, and prevent damage from free radicals
  • Contains manganese, which aids in the production of healthy bones and tissues, and plays a part in metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, absorption of calcium and the functioning of the nervous system
  • Packed with fiber which aids in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and lowering cholesterol
  • Provides vitamin C which supports the immune system and is a vital part of producing collagen in your tissues.
  • Contains Potassium which aids in sustaining a regular heartbeat and in involved in stimulating muscles and nerves



Now that you have a better idea about WHY you should eat more squash, let’s talk about how to eat it.

Spaghetti Squash How-To:

There are several ways to prepare spaghetti squash, but as a working mom I generally tend to go with the easiest and QUICKEST method possible, and since roasting a spaghetti squash can be a time consuming process, I generally microwave mine.How to do it:

  1. Rinse spaghetti squash and cut length wise in half-this may take some muscle, spaghetti squashes have hard rinds and require a sharp knife.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. You can save the seeds for roasting, they make a great protein packed snack!
  3. Fill each half of your squash which you just scooped out with a few inches of water, enough so that the water is not spilling over but comes to about the top of the squash.
  4. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper, or any other spices you like (cayenne, cumin, etc).
  5. Pop on a plate and microwave for around 20 minutes or so. For a larger squash you may need more time. I tend to microwave each half individually.
  6. Test the readiness of your squash with your fork. It should easily shred into long thin spaghetti-like stands (hence it’s name).  Some of this will be preference-just as some people prefer their pasta al dente, some will like their spaghetti squash trending more towards being raw rather than cooked.
  7. If the squash is still rather tough to the touch or the strands seem uncooked, then add more water and microwave for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  8. Let your squash sit for a few minutes (it’s going to be SUPER hot) and then, using a fork, shred the inside of the squash by simply pulling the strands. You should be able to use all of the flesh inside of the squash, leaving only the shell behind.
  9. Place spaghetti squash in a strainer to drain out the extra water (this isn’t a MUST but I find it helpful).
  10. Serve it up hot! You can add anything from pesto to marinara sauce to meatballs, it’s totally up to you how you dress up your spaghetti squash.  I love mine with fresh pesto and black pepper. Enjoy!



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