The squash family is a mighty one. These veggies come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes and are harvested over several seasons.
You’ve got your summer squash…
- Pattypan Squashes
- Straightneck Squash
And you’ve got your winter squash…
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Spaghetti squash
Sure, they have some funny names. But can you replace spaghetti with spaghetti squash?
Why, yes. Yes, you can.
What is Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash can be a stand-out among your winter squash varieties because it has such a unique texture. When cooked, the flesh scoops out in long, thin, spaghetti-like “noodles.”
Spaghetti squash is a fun vegetable to cook with for winter meals, as it can be used in many creative ways because of its texture.
Can You Really Use it in Place of Spaghetti?
Using spaghetti squash as pasta is just one way to kick up your winter dinners.
You see, spaghetti squash is commonly used as a pasta substitute because of it’s uncanny resemblance to the beloved Italian dish. Spaghetti squash is high in vitamins and minerals, but extremely low in calories and carbs. For those watching their weight – or avoiding wheat – it can be the perfect pasta substitute.
With a subtle flavor like pasta, it can easily be transformed with toppings and sauces. Here are the basics when it comes to comparing pasta and spaghetti squash:
One Cup White Pasta vs. One Cup Spaghetti Squash
|White Pasta||Spaghetti Squash|
Even better – squash is loaded with more vitamins and minerals than pasta!1,2
Intrigued by squash “pasta”?
Here’s a simple recipe that packs a TON of flavor:
Spaghetti Squash “Spaghetti” Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut your spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds.
- Brush each half of the squash with olive oil.
- Cook the spaghetti squash for around 45 minutes, then let cool.
- Scrape the cooled strands out of the shell with a fork.
- Top with your favorite pasta sauce, herbs, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese
Why is Spaghetti Squash So Good For You?
Spaghetti Squash has some substantial nutrients that make it a healthy meal, whether as a side dish or your main meal. They include:
Everyone needs calcium to maintain strong teeth and bones — but did you know that calcium also supports your heart, nerves, muscles, and many other crucial functions?3
One cup of spaghetti squash delivers three times more calcium than pasta.4
2. Vitamin A
Unique to red and yellow colored vegetables, the pigment beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A.5 You see, your body needs vitamin A for optimal immune function, vision, reproduction, and to enable cells to both grow and communicate effectively. This vitamin is also essential for the function of your heart, lungs, and kidneys.6
Spaghetti squash contains around 6 times more vitamin A than pasta.7
3. Vitamin C
An incredible antioxidant, vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron (also found in small amounts in spaghetti squash). It’s also important for the production of collagen in the body – a protein that’s found in the connective tissue of every organ and bone.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C can protect your skin from free radicals that cause cell damage and aging, and promote firmness and elasticity to help prevent wrinkles.8
Pasta doesn’t contain vitamin C, but spaghetti squash does!
Potassium is a great multitasker – it simultaneously takes on the responsibilities of building proteins, breaking down carbs, building muscle, controlling your acid-to-base ratios, and very importantly, controlling the electrical activity of the heart.9
Spaghetti squash contains almost 8 times the potassium of pasta.10
5. Dietary Fiber
Winter squash varieties can be excellent sources of dietary fiber. The flesh is a particularly good source of soluble fiber.11 This means it turns to a gel-like substance in your digestive system, helping to slow the rate at which you digest foods – and keeping your blood sugar stable, and your tummy fuller for longer.12
Looking for More Inspiration?
Try these variations using spaghetti squash:
- Spaghetti squash “hashbrowns”
- Squash with roasted shrimp
- Spinach and spaghetti squash dip
- Spaghetti squash fritters
- Spaghetti squash casserole
- Twice-baked squash
- Squash frittata
- Spaghetti squash pad thai
- Spaghetti squash lasagna bake
- Squash tacos
Or make a squash “bowl” by leaving the cooked strands in the skin and broiling with your favorite toppings.
Anyone for spaghetti squash burrito bowls?
Don’t forget to save those seeds! Just sprinkle your favorite herbs and spices over them and roast them in a little olive oil.
Those tasty seeds are a healthy (and tasty) alternative to snacking on peanuts!
1,2.USDA National Nutrient Database
4.USDA National Nutrient Database
7.USDA National Nutrient Database
10.USDA National Nutrient Database