If you’ve never heard of Spaghetti Squash, you may be visualizing a heaping plate of pasta with slices of yellow squash mixed in and sprinkled with a generous portion of parmesan cheese. That would be incorrect although we can all agree it sounds delicious! Spaghetti Squash is a vegetable that grows in noodle form and, therefore, lends itself as an excellent substitute for traditional pasta. It holds its own as a side dish, but fills the pasta substitute role for those limiting carbohydrates or gluten.
So let’s find out more about growing Spaghetti Squash, and how to cook it. Gardeners are a generous bunch, and you might end up with a squash and not know what to do with it.
For vegetable gardeners, squash is popular as an easy and fast-growing crop. The Spaghetti Squash variety is no different.
A squash garden requires 8-10 hours of full sun. Once the danger of frost has passed, the seeds can be planted directly into the soil. Seedlings emerge a mere 15 days later. Deer do not bother squash plants, but insect activity will need to be monitored.
A ripe gourd is yellow and shaped like a small watermelon. Spaghetti Squash gourds are ready for harvest 70-95 days after seed planting. They can be eaten immediately or stored in a cool place for enjoyment through the fall and winter.
It has a naturally buttery taste so excessive seasoning is not required. It’s a good source of Vitamins A, C, Calcium, Iron, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and dietary fiber.
Cooking Spaghetti Squash begins with removing the noodles from the gourd. First, the gourd must be baked or microwaved. Then the noodles are separated from the gourd shell by scraping with a fork. The resulting pile of squash noodles is the starting place for many nutritious recipes.
Of course, there are a few more steps necessary to take a large yellow gourd to a pile of spaghetti, but I couldn’t include everything here. Once your spaghetti noodles are ready, add ingredients like bacon (what doesn’t taste better with bacon?), sausage, cheeses like feta or Parmesan, spinach or onion to make a healthy and tasty dish.
My favorite way of preparing Spaghetti Squash is sautéing in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Soften some diced onions in the oil first; then add the squash. In 10 minutes or so, the dish is ready for the table!
Your family and friends will be very impressed with this wonderful vegetable dish especially if you have grown it yourself.