Friday, December 18, 2009

Something New: Spaghetti Squash

I'd never even heard of spaghetti squash until a few weeks ago when I began my weight-loss journey.  In an effort to try new things, I bought one at the store this week.  I thought I'd share with you some of the new things I try, in case you've never tried them either.  It's a whole lot easier to eat healthier if you have a wider range of healthy things that you like.

If you've never seen spaghetti squash, you'll probably be surprised at how large it is.  It sort of reminds me of an oval honeydew melon in size.  I'll warn you, it takes the strength of Hercules to split one of these things.  I could tell, as I was cutting it, that it was hollow on the inside.  I was really skeptical about whether or not I'd like it once I got it open and saw how much like a pumpkin it looked on the inside, especially the seeds.  I do not like pumpkin.



To bake spaghetti squash, you split it, scrape out all the seeds (again, very much like preparing a pumpkin) and place it, cut side down, in a baking dish (I sprayed the dish with Pam first).  Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes, then, turn the squash over and bake until tender (about 10 more minutes).  



After baking, you simply scrape the "meat" out with a fork.  It comes off in strands that resemble spaghetti noodles, which is where it gets its name.  I then salted  the squash and topped with spaghetti sauce.  Now, if you're expecting it to taste like pasta, you're going to be disappointed, however, I was surprised that I really liked it.  It reminded me a lot of zucchini, because it's a very watery vegetable.  It had a nice flavor, though, and I would gladly eat it in place of pasta -- especially after comparing the two, nutritionally:

Pasta (1 cup): 219.8 calories, 8.1 g protein, 42.8 g carbohydrates, 1.3 g fat

Spaghetti squash (1 cup): 41.8 calories, 1 g protein, 10.0 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g fat

What really surprised me was how much Josh liked it.  He got sick after eating spaghetti several years ago and has refused to eat it since.  He tried the spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and loved it.  He finished off and entire plate and asked for it for lunch the next day.  We've still got some leftover, too, even though we both had it for lunch for two days.  One spaghetti squash would easily feed our family of five.



This is one new food that will definitely be added to our list of regulars.  Have you ever tried spaghetti squash?  How do you serve it?

11 comments:

  1. Mmm, love it! I usually have it with spaghetti sauce too. My grandmother also makes it with cinnamon, sugar, and a little butter. Another yum!

    Question on pumpkin - do you like it in muffins? That is our favorite place for it.

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  2. I have had spaghetti squash and I served it the same way you did. I did not like it at all and I usually love squash/pumpkin! Glad that you guys enjoyed it.

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  3. =X Yeesh. I've had it once and hated it. Although I didn't have sauce with it and that might have factored in to it. (I used to live with some vegans and that was dinner one night, much to my chagrin.)

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  4. Yeah! I need to pick a couple of these up. One friend told me, forget all of the hours of baking, you can quarter these and boil them.

    We use them as a side, instead of pasta or rice. I need to cut the flour sides out, and I think I'll do it. :)

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  5. @ Tristan -- Pumpkin...bleck! In anything. I will not eat it on a boat; I will not eat it with a goat. I do not like (green eggs and ham) pumpkin; I do not like it, Sam I Am. ;-)

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  6. I LOVE spaghetti squash. YUM, one of my favorites. I usually just steam it and have it with a little non-dairy butter and salt, or with sauce. It's so delicious even when simply prepared. How are the kids enjoying the healthier menus?

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  7. @ Cheryl,

    The kids, for the most part, are enjoying most of the healthier items I've fixed. They all love the baked zucchini sticks, Brianna is a huge fan of tilapia, and, as I said, Josh loved the spaghetti squash.

    Their lunches haven't changed much, but after reading the nutrition label on their chicken nuggets today, I've decided that lunches are changing after the first of the year for them, too. There's no excuse for us not to all be healthy.

    I hope to work our way through Nutrition 101, one of the products I got to review this year, starting in January. We really didn't get into it very far during the review period and, honestly, my heart wasn't in it at that time. Now, though, I'm ready to get us all healthy and I think that book will be great for helping the kids understand that eating healthy and taking care of our bodies is about much more than simply losing weight.

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  8. I make spaghetti squash in the crock pot. just wash it, poke a few holes in it and pop it in the crock pot for a few hours (depending on size). then you can EASILY cut it open, scrape out seeds and scrape it to pasta like noodles. I too serve it with spaghetti sauce and really like it.

    a great way to get the veggies in and low in calories like you said...my kids aren't convinced yet though :)

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  9. Deanna,

    I'll have to remember that about the crock pot. I may try that this week. We're having spaghetti for dinner one night and I have another spaghetti squash for whoever is game. I know Josh and I will eat it.

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  10. I usually just have mine with a little butter, salt and pepper. My son liked eating it right out of the cut half. I just fluffed up the strands and handed it to him with the butter and everything stirred in. He liked his cool bowl.

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  11. This was one food I wanted to try this summer but all the squash I planted ended up being deer treats. I'll be looking to get this at the grocery store. It sounds really yummy & I'm not a huge fan of squash. ;-) I also like the idea of getting in to Nutrition 101 again. We didn't get far either. More to think about during this break from school...

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