Preparing Spaghetti Squash

by Mary on March 12, 2012

a whole spaghetti squash on a cutting board

a whole spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash. It can live on your counter for a long time and still be good. When you’re ready, here’s how to prep it.

I usually bake winter squash whole, then remove the seeds. That’s the low effort method, but it’s not what I do with spaghetti squash. Most winter squash have strings and seeds in the middle and the rest is solid flesh. Spaghetti squash has seeds and strings in the middle and long strands in the rest, making it hard to tell what to scoop out and what to keep once it’s cooked.  So I cut it in half and scoop the strings and seeds out of the middle before cooking the squash.

But it’s a really big, firm squash with a tough outer shell. So, how? Wait until my strong, black belt husband is home to do it for me? That works, or I could carefully cut it on my own as illustrated below. But I’ve changed to a lower-effort method: microwave the squash a bit to soften it up, then cut it in half. For a 5# squash, I zap it for 5 minutes, rotate it, and zap it again.

If you’d rather just cut it without microwaving, here’s how. Start with a freshly sharpened chopping knife. Put a damp towel on your counter and lay a cutting board on top so the squash won’t slip. Hold the knife with one hand and put your other hand on top of the knife to keep it steady. Cut toward the middle and then rock back out from the middle to the end of the squash.

cutting spaghetti squash with a Shun chopping knife

cutting spaghetti squash

Now take the knife out, turn the squash around, and cut the other end:

cutting the other end of the spaghetti squash with Shun chopping knife

cutting the other end of the spaghetti squash

Done with the hard part, no ER visit required. Now scoop out the seeds like so:

scooping the seeds out of the spaghetti squash with a spoon

scooping the seeds out of the spaghetti squash

And there you have it. Ready to go in the oven.

halved spaghetti squash on cutting board

halved spaghetti squash ready to go in the oven

I brush these with about a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil on each half, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and cook them face down on a baking sheet, one hour at 375 degrees.

After the squash is done let it cool enough to handle. Then use a fork to fluff up and separate the strands.

cooked spaghetti squash on a baking sheet

cooked spaghetti squash ready for the strands to be scooped out

Scoop them out and season them however you like– with green herbs, olive oil and parmesan or simply tossed with tomato sauce. Here are the strands ready to be made into my hot pepper sesame spaghetti squash with scallions and artichoke hearts:

spaghetti squash strands in a measuring cup and other ingredients

spaghetti squash strands and other ingredients



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