Monday, February 20

How to: Spaghetti Squash

Whether you're going Paleo or simply deciding to pick up more whole, colorful foods every time you shop - your choosing to do that opens up many new windows of opportunity to try new or forgotten foods you probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise. On that note: have you experienced Spaghetti squash?  If not, I think you should give it a try.

Hello sunshine!
It's popular in the diet crowd [sigh] as a substitute for pasta noodles. I don't like to think of it as a "substitute." I want to embrace it for what it is: a unique, delicious vegetable, full of nutrients and beautiful pigment. It happens to resemble a man-made creation (noodles) but squash was here first. So... the real truth is that pasta wants to be spaghetti squash, right?  :)
Another selling point of squash - it is very affordable! I picked up two HUGE spaghetti squashes a couple weeks ago for just $2, because they were down to 20 cents a pound at the produce stand! Score!

Once cooked, the squash strands ("noodles") are moist and soft but have a delightful "crunch" when you're chewing. 

I have tried it several different ways, and they are all winning combinations. So, let's get cooking. First we'll prepare the squash and then try a few serving suggestions...

The fastest way to prepare this is to cook it in the microwave. Rinse and dry your squash(es). Poke holes all over the skin with a strong fork or knife. Pop it (them) in the microwave and cook on full power for at least ten minutes. You can tell it's ready when your fork or knife goes into the skin without much fuss. Use oven mitts to take it out of the microwave, and let it sit to cool for a few minutes. Once cook enough to handle, cut it in half around the "waist." Be careful of steam! Use a spoon to scoop out the stringy innards and seeds. You can save the seeds, clean them up, sprinkle on a baking sheet with chili powder and roast them for a few minutes at 350 for a great snack!

Unedible strands and edible seeds

Once you have two clean halves, you can cut them again the other direction if you need better access to the squash "meat." Take your fork and start to pull at the yellow cooked stuff. Squash "noodles" will start to come off, and you can put them into a bowl. Do this with each piece of squash until they are all clean, and you'll have a bowl of spaghetti squash ready to eat!

You get a lot of "noodles" from one squash! Put it into containers to refrigerate or freeze
A "breakfast option"
Here are a few ways I like to enjoy this squash:

Breakfast - Scoop a bowl of spaghetti squash and top with organic raisins and raw pumpkin seeds (optional to add a drizzle of maple syrup or sprinkle of sucanat)

Sweet Treat - Lay a base of spaghetti squash and top with homemade unsweetened applesauce, a scoop of coconut cream and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Yum!

Hearty Dinner - First, cook up some chicken Italian sausage (I like Isernio's because their products are made here in the Pac NW and have no icky preservatives or questionable ingredients). Lay a base of squash and top it with the cooked sausage, sauteed onions, zucchini and/or bell peppers, and marinara sauce. Ooh!

So are you going to give this great veggie a shot? You really should. Don't be a wimp. ;)
If you already love spaghetti squash, leave a comment sharing your favorite way to enjoy it. Have a wonderful President's Day, friends!