I go through phases with spaghetti squash.
I so often forget about it (and I don’t eat a lot of pasta, so there isn’t much going on to remind me about it!), then all of a sudden I’ll see the big yellow squash in the produce aisle, or I’ll see someone blog about eating it on What I Ate Wednesday and I get all excited again that I can enjoy spaghetti squash again!
Anyway, the benefits of spaghetti squash over, well, spaghetti are kinda obvious. Here’s the stats:
- Spaghetti squash – 42 cals per cup; spaghetti – 221 cals per cup
- Spaghetti squash – 10g carbs per cup; spaghetti – 42g carbs per cup
- Spaghetti squash provides eight amino acids
- Spaghetti squash is high in fibre
- Spaghetti squash is high in vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium and manganese
These are ALL important benefits, but I particularly like the low carbohydrate count. I’m not a ‘low-carb’ diet advocate, but as a vegetarian I have PLENTY of places I can get carbohydrates from, and pasta tends to form the main bulk of a meal. If I can replace the pasta with something lower in carbs I am balancing my diet far more than if I was to sit down to a whole plate of carbs (of course, if you’re carbo loading for athletic training or a race you NEED those carbs, don’t skimp!).
Anyway, the issue I’ve had in the past with making spaghetti squash? It’s, well, wetter than pasta. Which means, when you add sauce to it, it can just be a big soggy mess.
I have two methods of battling this. First, I roast the squash (I’ve read on some blogs that you can microwave it but I tend to avoid microwaving things when possible), then I either:
- scrape the strands out and saute them
- scrape the strands out and return them to the oven on a baking sheet to lightly roast and crisp them
This helps to make the strands less wet and more appetizing!
Of course, it’s all in the seasoning too – spaghetti squash can be bland if you leave it plain, so I always season mine lightly. With a quick homemade marinara sauce and some fresh feta cheese and basil on top, this is a balanced and healthy meal that is so quick and easy, and completely revamps the idea of basic ‘pasta and tomato sauce’!
PS – this whole meal has 156 calories. I don’t think you’ll find a lower calorie meal! You might want to double the serving if you need more cals, or serve it with a generously dressed salad! Or have it as a light lunch :).
Anna’s Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Marinara Sauce
INGREDIENTS (serves 2):
1 small spaghetti squash
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
4 tbsp lowfat feta cheese
A few fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
1. Halve squash, scoop and roast at 400F, cut side down (sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper). This should take around 35-45 mins.
2. Using a fork, scrape out spaghetti squash strands into a bowl.
3. Spray a frying pan or baking sheet with cooking spray. Add spaghetti squash and spices. If baking, put back in oven at 400F for 5 minutes; turn for another 5. If stirfrying, fry for 4-5 minutes until crispy.
4. For the sauce, heat tomatoes over a low heat. Add spices over top.
5. Serve with 1/3 to 1/2 cup sauce over 1 cup of spaghetti squash strands. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp lowfat feta cheese and some fresh basil.
Nutritional information per serving if serves 2: