Cutting and preparing Spaghetti Squash is not as difficult if you follow these simple tips. You can choose what option works best for you and still end up with a spaghetti squash that you can use in a variety of ways.
The most difficult part of using spaghetti squash is the cutting part because the squash is quite hard. I almost gave up on it, but then with few small tricks, it made the process easier. Let me share it with you. There are 2 ways that you can do it, here are your options
If you are in a hurry, this is the fastest and easiest way to cut open the spaghetti squash. Simply poke holes around the squash to allow the steam to come out (you can use a sharp knife to do this) then microwave it, The length of time depends on how big your squash is. Start at 10 minutes and increase in 5 minutes interval while checking after every 5 minutes. To test if it is done, simply push a sharp knife in the center, if the knife pass through end to end with no effort at all, then it is done. You can start cutting it into half. I have a detailed instruction below on how to cut it.
- Poke holes all over the squash with a fork or a knife, then microwave for 5 – 10 minutes or until soft enough for cutting. Repeat in increments of 5 minutes and check if soft enough for cutting.
- Remove from the microwave and let cool.
- Cut the squash into half. Start by trimming the hard end of the squash. Using a sharp small knife, create a shallow cut along the side (end to end). This will serve as a mark that you can follow later. Using a big sharp knife, cut the squash into half, following the line that you have created earlier.
- Remove the seeds and clean the center. Drizzle olive oil and brush all throughout the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any of your favorite spices.
- Return to microwave (facing down) for another 5 – 10 minutes or until center is soft enough for scraping.
Note: The length of time depends on the size of the squash, adjust as needed.
In this method, you have to cut the Spaghetti Squash in half before roasting it in the oven. Use the microwave to slightly soften the skin for easier cutting. About 4 minutes for medium size Squash. Trim one end so that it can easily stand when you cut it in half. Remove the seeds and sprinkle with olive oil and spices of your choice. Finish the cooking in the oven by baking/roasting it at 350F for about 35 – 40 minutes. Let cool until manageable to handle, then cut into half and scrape the inside. You can now use it in any spaghetti squash recipe, flavor it as desired. Although this takes longer than straight forward microwave only method, I find that roasting the squash produces better flavor. The squash have ample time to absorb the flavor of the oil, seasoning and spices as it roast in the oven. I also like how it gave a slight browning, it brings out the sweetness and the depth of flavor. So I encourage you to roast your spaghetti squash, unless you are in a tight schedule then go ahead and microwave it. Just like the microwave only method, the length of time also depends on the size of the squash. The ideal size for me is about 1 – 3 lbs, often times i stick to 1-2 lbs if it is just for me.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Microwave the Squash: Poke holes all over the squash with a fork or a knife, then microwave for 4minutes. The squash that I used is 2.5 lb, increase the time as needed if your squash is bigger. The idea is not to cook the squash, but to soften the skin of the squash a little bit for easier cutting. Remove from the microwave and let cool.
- Cut the Squash into Half. Start by trimming one of the the hard end of the squash. This will help the squash to be in an upright position while you cut it in half. Using a sharp knife, mark a line on the squash (this is called scoring), this will serve as a mark that you can follow. Cut the squash into half, following the line that you have created. Remove the seeds and clean the center.
- Spice it Up: Drizzle olive oil and brush all throughout the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any of your favorite spice.
- Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. The bigger the squash, the longer baking time you need. Check it 30 minutes mark to see if the center is already soft but not mushy. You don’t want to over bake it as you will end up with a mushy squash and the strand of the squash will be deformed. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle it.
- Remove the Squash “Meat”: Using a fork, gently scrape the squash. If you cook it right, it should come off easily without any effort. Transfer in a bowl and let cool before covering and storing in the refrigerator, otherwise use as per your recipe.
Important thing to remember, regardless which method you decide to use, do NOT over cook. You don’t want a mushy spaghetti squash and you do not want to destroy the trademark of spaghetti squash which is the lovely noodles like strand.
How Do You Use It?
Spaghetti squash can be used in variety of ways. You can used it as a replacement for pasta, I guess that’s the main idea of spaghetti squash. It goes well with white and cream based sauce, or just plain butter and garlic with herbs and spices. You can also use it as side dish to meat like Chicken, Beef, Lamb and even Fish. I have 2 recipe in my website and more coming soon. For the meantime, have a look at this 2 and give it a try to practice any of the methods that I had explained above.
- Meat Free Monday: Small Batch Baked Butternut Squash Spaghetti Casserole
- Meat Free Monday: Enjoy Spaghetti Squash Mushroom Alfredo with Less Guilt
- How to Cut and Prepare Spaghetti Squash
- Meat Free Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Tomato
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