I am a pretty picky eater when it comes to veggies. I have never really been fond of hardly any vegetables, but when my husband and I have tried different diets in the past including Paleo, I had to expand my horizons. Thank goodness for spaghetti squash, it's just about as good as vegetables get in my opinion! I've tried cooking it several different ways and through trial and error have discovered the easiest (and tasiest) way to cook spaghetti squash.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut your spaghetti squash in half. It's very thick but not horribly hard to cut if you have a good knife, the hardest part is keeping it from rolling while you are cutting it.
Use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds and pulp in the middle of your squash. You will kind of be scraping and scooping at the same time with the spoon.
Drizzle your squash with olive oil and sprinkle it generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Place your squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet or oven safe dish. Cook at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Your squash is ready when it is fork tender and you can easily scrape the spaghetti-like strands out with a fork.
Let your spaghetti squash cool. Use a fork to scrape out all the squash. Place in a pasta strainer and pat dry with a paper towel. Now you can prepare your squash however you like! Here are two of my favorite ways to eat it:
Garlic Butter Sauce with Pine Nuts and Parmesan
1/2 stick of salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
In a saucepan on medium to high heat, melt half a stick of butter. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and 2 cloves of garlic. Stir constantly, cooking the garlic until fragrant. Add your pine nuts and lightly toast them in the pan and sauce. Finally add your cooked spaghetti squash, salt, and pepper and toss thoroughly. Remove from the pan and toss with Parmesan cheese.
Sausage Ragu Sauce (based on this recipe by Emeril Lagasse from Food Network)
1/4 pound pancetta, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 red onion, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 (28-ounce) cans diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pancetta on medium-high heat in a large saucepan until rendered (about 5 minutes). Add the sausage, cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes (until cooked through) and breaking it up with a spoon as you go. Add the remainder of your ingredients: onion, garlic, basil, parsley, tomatoes, red wine, and salt and pepper. Let your sauce simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that all the flavors can combine.
Add either of your sauces to your spaghetti squash and you are good to go! You can even toss the spaghetti squash in with the sauce while it's still on the stove if you like (I like to do this with the garlic butter sauce especially). Spaghetti squash only has a quarter of the carbs or calories of regular spaghetti and is way more filling! When you add one of these sauces you will hardly be able to tell the difference from regular spaghetti.