Meat Free Monday: Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

This low carb Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash is a mashed-up between 2 simple dish. Lemon Butter Spaghetti Squash + Mediterranean Greek Salad. It’s loaded with naturally sweet Spaghetti Squash as pasta replacement and lots of fresh vegetables to make it even filling and satisfying. 

I had been making Spaghetti Squash more often than I used to. I guess one of the perks of working from home (WFH) is being able to eat whatever I feel like for lunch on the spot. It’s freshly cook or bake, and on that aspect, I really like it although I miss sharing my food with my friends. I can even make my foil packets recipe for lunch, how nice is that! Fresh juicy salmon wrapped and steamed in a foil. Anyways, this Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash is one my favorite lunch now a days. A 2 lbs of spaghetti squash makes 2-3 meals for me, plus it is very easy to make especially if I do the microwave method. Lunch in less than 30 minutes. 

How to Make Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

There’s 3 parts in making this so called “pasta” salad and it starts with preparing the Spaghetti Squash. Be sure to follow the tips on how to cut open and cook the Spaghetti Squash, sometimes the simplest tips can make your life easier and safer in the kitchen. You can do the microwave method or the oven method, it’s totally up to you depending on how much time you have on hand. For this recipe, I used the microwave method for a faster quicker way. It took me 7 minutes to get a stage where it is soft enough to slice. I microwaved it at 5 minutes first, cut it open, removed the seeds, scraped the inside, sprinkle oil, salt and pepper and returned it in the microwave for another 2 minutes. Microwave time will vary depending on the size of the Squash, mine was about 950g, an little bit more than 2 lbs. once you have the Spaghetti Squash sliced, cleaned and scraped, you can set it aside. You can even keep it for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

The second part is making the Greek salad. Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl then set aside.

The last part is making the simple salad dressing, lemon herbed dressing. Mix all the ingredients together and stir. The spaghetti squash has a natural sweetness so be generous with the salt and lemon in the dressing, these two are what will carry the taste of the pasta. You can always adjust the taste even after you have poured the dressing.  Pour the dressing onto the Spaghetti Squash then toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add more salt or squeeze more lemon. 

I strongly suggest to let salad rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow the salad to absorb dressing. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor will be. When you are ready to serve. sprinkle a generous amount of crumbled feta cheese on top.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

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. There are 2 ways that you can do it, here are your options of cooking the spaghetti squash

Microwave Method

If you are in a hurry, this is the fastest and easiest way to cut open and cook the spaghetti squash. First, you need to poke holes around the squash to allow the steam to come out, this is very important. Microwave it, start with 5 minutes for medium size squash (about 1 -2 lbs). The length of time depends on how big your squash is, adjust in 2 minutes increments. 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, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and spices of your choice.

Oven Method

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.

Do NOT Over Cook

Important thing to remember, regardless which method you decide to use, do NOT over cook the squash. 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. Make it aldente just like when you cook your pasta, trust me, it makes a huge difference. Making use of spaghetti squash is all about texture, mushy spaghetti squash is a No. No.

Are you ready? Choose which method you want to use and let us make some healthy delicious Caprese Spaghetti Squash. You are going to love this, promise.

How to Cut Spaghetti Squash

Oven Method: How to Cut and Prepare Spaghetti Squash

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Spice it Up: Drizzle olive oil and brush all throughout the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any of your favorite spice.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

How to Use Spaghetti Squash?

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. For this post, I made 4 Cheese and Garlic Spaghetti Squash. Check it out!

Spaghetti Squash Salad Ingredients:

  • Medium Spaghetti Squash (950g) 
  • 1/3 cup Cucumber – cut into bite size pieces
  • 15 pcs cup Cherry Tomato – cut into half
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata Olives – whole or sliced
  • 2 tablespoon Red Onion – thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Feta Cheese – crumbled

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Thyme
  • Juice of 1 Lemon 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard

Instructions:

  • Prepare the Spaghetti Squash. Scrape the “meat” and set aside. See the discussion above on how to cut and prepare Spaghetti Squash.
  • Prepare the Greek Salad: To the spaghetti squash, add cucumber, chery tomato and olives.
  • Make the Salad Dressing: Mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix All: Pour the dressing over the spaghetti squash mixture and toss. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Chill at least 30 minutes to allow the spaghetti squash salad to absorb the dressing.
  • Serve:

Make it Vegan

Alternatively, if you want to keep this vegan, simply use a vegan cheese or skip the cheese entirely. This taste as good even without the cheese.

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Hi, I'm Marilou. Welcome to my website SweetNSpicyLiving. My website is where I share my passion for baking, cooking, photography and traveling. It's a small piece of my Sweet & Spicy Life that I like to share with you.

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