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What is a good way to eat spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways. It has a mild flavor and when cooked, the flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands which can be served as a lower-carb replacement for pasta. Figuring out the best way to cook spaghetti squash and how to incorporate it into recipes can seem daunting for beginners. This article will provide tips on how to select, prepare, cook, and eat spaghetti squash in tasty and nutritious ways.

Selecting Spaghetti Squash

When selecting spaghetti squash at the grocery store or farmers market, look for squashes that feel heavy for their size and have an even yellow or light tan color. Avoid squashes with large soft spots or that seem lightweight, as this indicates the squash is becoming old and the flavor will not be as good. Selecting a spaghetti squash that is approximately 2-3 pounds will give you enough for 2-4 servings. Squash within this size range is easier to cut and prepare than extremely large squashes.

Preparing Spaghetti Squash

Once you have selected your spaghetti squash, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. Here are some tips for prepping spaghetti squash:

  • Rinse the squash under cool running water and use a vegetable brush to scrub off any dirt or debris.
  • Trim off the stem end of the squash using a sharp chef’s knife.
  • Place the squash standing upright on a cutting board. Carefully cut it in half lengthwise starting at the trimmed stem end.
  • Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp from the center cavity of each half.
  • Rub the inside of each half with olive oil or cooking spray. This helps enhance flavor and prevents the squash from drying out while cooking.

Once prepped, the spaghetti squash halves are ready to be cooked.

Cooking Methods

There are a few different effective methods for cooking spaghetti squash. The cooking method you choose will depend on the time you have available and desired texture of the final “noodles.” Here are some common cooking methods:

Oven Roasting

Oven roasting is one of the easiest hands-off methods for cooking spaghetti squash. Here is a simple oven roasting method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place spaghetti squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 45-60 minutes until tender and strands separate easily with a fork.

Roasting brings out the squash’s natural sweetness. You can enhance flavor during roasting by adding seasonings like olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, or Italian seasoning to the squash before cooking.


Microwaving is a super quick method that makes spaghetti squash ready in under 15 minutes. To microwave:

  1. Prep the squash and remove seeds.
  2. Place each half cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish. Add 2 tablespoons water.
  3. Microwave for 10-12 minutes until tender, checking frequently.
  4. Allow to sit 2 minutes before removing from microwave.

Microwaving leads to softer noodles that don’t hold their shape quite as well as other methods. But it’s great when you’re short on time!


Though not as common, boiling also can be used to prepare spaghetti squash effectively. To boil:

  1. Cut the squash into smaller 2-inch chunks instead of halves.
  2. Place chunks in a large pot and add water to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until fork tender.
  4. Drain and allow chunks to cool slightly before separating noodles.

Boiling can lead to water-logged noodles, so be careful not overcook. Boiling does help infuse more flavor if you add seasonings to the pot.

Stovetop Steam Roasting

Steam roasting on the stovetop is an easy method that yields great results. To steam roast:

  1. Heat 1 cup water in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat.
  2. Once simmering, add prepared squash halves cut-side down.
  3. Cover and steam for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  4. Remove lid and allow to sit in pan 2-3 minutes to further dry out noodles.

This method steams and roasts at the same time, resulting in tender noodles with a slightly caramelized flavor.

Using Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Once cooked, spaghetti squash can be used in a variety of delicious ways. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your spaghetti squash:

  • Fluff noodles with a fork: Use a fork to gently scrape out noodle strands into a bowl. Be careful not to break too many noodles.
  • Drain excess moisture: Let noodles drain in a colander to remove excess water that can dilute flavors.
  • Pat dry: Blot cooked noodles with a paper towel to soak up more moisture.
  • Season: Toss cooked noodles with salt, pepper, olive oil or sauce to add flavor.
  • Keep warm: Store cooked noodles in an oven-safe dish covered in foil and held in a warm oven until ready to use.

The separated noodle strands can now be incorporated into a variety of delicious recipes. Here are some of the most popular ways to use spaghetti squash noodles:

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

1. Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce

This simple preparation turns spaghetti squash into a flavorful, low-carb pasta alternative.


  • 2 halves cooked spaghetti squash, shredded into noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant. Pour in crushed tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked spaghetti squash noodles and basil. Gently toss to coat noodles in sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide noodles between plates and top with grated parmesan cheese.

2. Chicken Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash noodles make a great base for creamy alfredo sauce in this classic comfort food dish.


  • 2 halves cooked spaghetti squash noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant.
  2. Slowly pour in heavy cream and whisk continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Slowly add Parmesan and Italian seasoning, stirring until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add cooked spaghetti squash noodles and shredded chicken. Toss to coat.
  5. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley before serving.

3. Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

This lighter take on carbonara uses spaghetti squash noodles instead of pasta.


  • 2 halves cooked spaghetti squash
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon bits but reserve bacon fat.
  2. Cook onions in bacon fat for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant.
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs, Parmesan, and black pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add spaghetti squash noodles and egg mixture, tossing quickly to coat.
  5. Remove from heat. Mix in crispy bacon bits and chopped parsley.
  6. Enjoy immediately while noodles are still warm.

4. Spaghetti Squash Greek Salad

All the flavors of a Greek salad in a fun, low-carb spaghetti squash dish.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 halves cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, combine spaghetti squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, olives and feta cheese.
  3. Drizzle dressing over top and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

5. Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

Enjoy a hearty meat sauce over low-carb spaghetti squash noodles.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 halves cooked spaghetti squash, shredded into noodles


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook ground meat breaking it apart until no longer pink.
  2. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant.
  4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Simmer 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens.
  5. Season meat sauce with salt and pepper.
  6. Add cooked spaghetti squash noodles and toss to coat in sauce.

Storing and Freezing Spaghetti Squash

It can be tricky to use up a whole spaghetti squash by yourself before it goes bad. Here are some tips for storing leftovers:

  • Place cooked noodles in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 4 days.
  • Portion noodles into freezer bags and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
  • Cook squash halves ahead of time. Refrigerate unseparated halves 4-5 days or freeze whole for later use.

Storing or freezing allows you to enjoy tasty spaghetti squash noodles without worry of waste.

Nutrition Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

In addition to being delicious, spaghetti squash provides many nutrients and health benefits:

Low in Calories and Carbs

Spaghetti squash has only about 40 calories per cup of cooked noodles compared to 200+ calories for wheat pasta. It gets its name from the noodle-like strands that form naturally when cooked, but is lower in carbohydrates than traditional pasta.

High in Fiber

A 1 cup serving provides 2-3 grams of dietary fiber from the squash’s complex carbs. This promotes healthy digestion.

Packed with Vitamins

Spaghetti squash provides a wide array of important vitamins and minerals including:

  • Vitamin A – Immune functioning and eye health
  • Vitamin C – Antioxidant for immunity
  • B Vitamins – Energy production
  • Potassium – Heart health
  • Magnesium – Bone health

Water Content

With a high water content, spaghetti squash helps you stay hydrated.


From oven roasting to boiling or microwaving, there are lots of simple ways to cook up delicious and nutritious spaghetti squash noodles. Spaghetti squash can be substituted for pasta in many recipes for lower carb options the whole family will love. Store leftovers properly for hassle-free use all week long. With its stellar nutrition and endless possibilities for use in recipes, spaghetti squash makes a great addition to any healthy diet.