Spaghetti Squash Four Ways

I remember my mom’s excitement when she discovered spaghetti squash. She was on a path of healing that involved eating only meat and vegetable for an indefinite time, guided by a nutritionist. For my fruit- and pasta-loving mom, this was no easy thing. So discovering this pasta-replacement was a wonderful surprise!

Sure, it’s not exactly like “real” spaghetti, but if you can’t have the real stuff, it makes a pretty great substitute.

Even though I can eat regular pasta now, I still love spaghetti squash. It leaves me feeling healthier than after eating normal spaghetti for one thing, and I’d much rather eat this than certain other vegetables! 

There are many methods of cooking a whole spaghetti squash. The easiest is to simply poke it with a fork or knife a few times and stick it in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours. This does make for a softer squash, though, which means if it’s at all overcooked the spaghetti strings may mush a bit. If you want to play up the “spaghetti” part of this dish, definitely go with a roasted method like this one. I chose to go with the best of both worlds and roasted my squash whole.

quick tip: Don’t throw away the seeds! Whether you scoop them out before or after cooking the squash, you can roast them like pumpkin seeds.

Now after it’s cooked, I don't have one single favorite way to serve it, so I’m going to share four ideas with you.

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First, plain old butter and salt. 

Sometimes simple is best, especially with high quality ingredients! Use plain butter (as pictured here) or try herbal infused butter — I shared a recipe not too long ago.

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Second, EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) and herbs.

I went more Italian with this bowl and used EVOO instead of butter, fresh chopped basil*, and dried oregano. A sprinkling of salt and splash of lemon juice rounded out the flavors.

*By the way, the basil came straight off a plant that I received a few weeks ago in the CSA box! Yep, not only do I get bags of fresh herbs, occasionally I get a whole plant!

Third, pesto.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture for this one because I ate my last batch of pesto too quickly, not knowing I had spaghetti squash coming in a future box… But that shouldn't be much of a surprise if you regularly read this blog — I eat pesto on a lot of things!

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Last, but certainly not least, classic tomato meat sauce.

Need I say more?

quick tip: Tomato meat sauce is a great way to hide organ meats like liver and heart. Heart has a wonderful flavor on its own, but can be a bit tough if you aren’t experienced with cooking it. Cutting it up small, browning it, and adding it to tomato sauce is a simple way to serve it for the first time. It’s pretty foolproof! As for liver, I recommend chopping it up into tiny pieces or pureeing it in a blender, then adding a small amount to regular ground beef before browning the beef.  The tomato sauce helps hide the flavor, and the texture is taken care of too!

What is your favorite way to serve spaghetti squash?

Share in the comments below!