Spaghetti squash is odd with its thick inner spaghetti-like strands. Ever wonder how to cook it? I’ve got 3 different ways to cook spaghetti squash for you!
My blogger friend inspired this post today.
I was perusing my Instagram a few days back when I saw this post from another Connecticut blogger, Jay from Jay Cool Tips.
(btw, are you all following me yet on Instagram? You should go do that.)
When I saw this post, I had two thoughts.
One, I had a moment of sadness for spaghetti squash mash. I’ve been there before and it’s not the best place to be. It’s perfectly edible but knowing you were just a few minutes late to strand-y goodness can tear any chef’s heart to shreds. (Great positivity though, Jay! :-D)
Two, I began to wonder how many people knew how to cook spaghetti squash. It seems simple enough until you realize that spaghetti squash is like no other squash. It has strands in it that tease apart to make a sort of low-carb and gluten-free noodle. But what do you need to do to make good spaghetti squash?
Optional pre-step: salting your squash
Why? Because science! I’m pretty sure I talked about this in a different post… but I think it had to do with sugar. Same sort of concept.
TL;DR, salt draws the water out of things. And considering that spaghetti squash is surprisingly watery, this is going to come in handy. If we salt our spaghetti squash, we will end up with a crunchy, more intact noodle.
But here’s the catch: salting your spaghetti squash takes a little extra time.
And by a little extra time, I would say between 25-30 minutes. It’s a matter of cutting your squash, salting, and waiting. It’s minimal effort. But sometimes, there isn’t time. That’s okay too! But I would say, if you even have 10 minutes to spare, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. you wouldn’t believe how much water comes out of a spaghetti squash.
Also, when you are done, don’t forget to rinse off your squash! Get that excess salt off of your squash or it will be too salty to eat.
Slow cook spaghetti squash
This is the easiest method, by far. All you do is poke a bunch of holes in your spaghetti squash with a fork and cook it in a slow cooker on low for about 4-6 hours, depending on your cooker. You will know when it is done when a fork easily pierces through the skin and through the flesh inside.
As you can see, you have already reached an issue. There is no way to salt the spaghetti squash! I mean, you should have recognized this. Cooking your spaghetti squash this way is extremely easy, but it is in no way the best way to go about it.
So how do we remedy this situation?
It’s a very simple fix! Instead of just poking holes into the spaghetti squash, cut it in half. If you have a small slow cooker, chances are you will have to do this anyway. Scoop out all the seeds (I suggest using a grapefruit spoon) and generously salt the inside of both halves. Allow the salt to do its job, rinse it out, and then stick it in the slow cooker. When are you are done, cut the spaghetti squash into rings. But why rings?
Roast the spaghetti squash on its own, in rings
So why should cook spaghetti squash in rings instead of cutting it in half? When you cut the spaghetti squash in half, you’re also cutting against the grain and ergo, all of those strands in half. This results in shorter “noodles” and less of a spaghetti effect.
By cutting the spaghetti squash into rounds, we cut with the grain and end up with longer strands.
Also, by cutting the spaghetti squash into rounds, you end up with more surface area for the salt to cover, pulling out more water.
How to do it: cut your spaghetti squash into 3/4″ rings, cutting width-wise. Remove the seeds. Salt the rings on both sides. Allow them to sit for 25-30 minutes, then place on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for about 40 minutes. Peel off the outer skin, or tease out with a fork. (source)
As you can see, this is a bit more time and effort intensive. I will say, however, it is worth it! And as always, you can skip the salting process as well.
But there is one time cutting the spaghetti squash in half is okay, and that’s when you…
Yes, the easiest way to stuff a spaghetti squash is cutting it in half, length-wise. What can you stuff it with? Well, just about anything! I was working on a southwestern stuffed spaghetti squash this week, and here is a little teaser for a recipe to come. 🙂
So how do you cook your spaghetti squash? Let me know in the comments down below!