Easy Spaghetti Squash
Oct 22, 2023, Updated Oct 30, 2023
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Easy spaghetti squash is a delightful culinary treat, bursting with natural sweetness and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. Not only is it delectably nutritious, but its preparation is also effortlessly simple, making it a favorite for both taste and convenience. Perfect substitute for pasta!
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Baked Spaghetti Squash
Easy spaghetti squash is a versatile and nutritious alternative to traditional pasta. This unique vegetable, once cooked, naturally forms spaghetti-like strands that are incredibly satisfying to eat. What makes it even more appealing is how simple it is to prepare.
To make easy spaghetti squash, start by preheating your oven to around 375°F (190°C). While the oven is heating up, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet, and then roast them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and easily separates into strands with a fork.
Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, you have a blank canvas for creating a variety of dishes. You can simply toss it with olive oil, garlic, and herbs for a delightful side dish. Or, you can use it as a base for your favorite pasta sauces, turning it into a low-carb, gluten-free pasta alternative. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor makes it a perfect partner for a range of ingredients, from classic marinara and meatballs to creamy Alfredo or even pesto.
One of the best things about easy spaghetti squash is its nutritional value. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Whether you’re looking to reduce carbs, eat more veggies, or simply enjoy a lighter take on pasta dishes, easy spaghetti squash is a fantastic option that’s not only delicious but also incredibly easy to prepare.
How to Make Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti Squash: The star of the recipe, spaghetti squash is a versatile vegetable that, when cooked, transforms into delicate, spaghetti-like strands. It serves as a low-carb and gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta, providing a slightly sweet and mild flavor.
- Butter (for Baking): The butter used for baking the squash adds richness and a creamy texture to the strands as they cook. It also helps to create a flavorful base for the sautéed portion of the dish.
- Butter (for Sautéing): The additional butter for sautéing the cooked spaghetti squash in a skillet adds even more creaminess and rich flavor. It ensures that the strands are well-coated and deliciously buttery.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is used alongside butter for sautéing the spaghetti squash. It imparts a subtle fruity flavor and helps prevent the butter from burning.
- Garlic Salt: Garlic salt brings a savory and garlicky kick to the dish. It infuses the squash with a delightful garlic flavor while providing essential seasoning.
- Italian Herbs: Italian herbs, which typically include a blend of herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, contribute an aromatic and herbaceous note to the dish. They complement the garlic salt and add depth of flavor.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese (for Topping): Parmesan cheese is the finishing touch that provides a salty, nutty, and umami-rich element. It adds a layer of complexity and enhances the overall taste.
- Red Pepper Flakes (for Garnish): Red pepper flakes are optional but add a burst of heat and spiciness to the dish. Adjust the quantity to your preferred level of spiciness.
- Minced Parsley (for Garnish): Minced parsley is a fresh and vibrant garnish that adds a pop of color and a touch of herbaceousness to the finished dish. It balances the richness and provides a pleasing visual element.
Use This Method
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Prepare the Squash: Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy bits from the center.
- Season and Bake: Place the two halves of the squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each half. Season the squash with 1 teaspoon of garlic salt and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian herbs.
- Bake the Squash: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash is tender. The flesh should easily separate into spaghetti-like strands with a fork.
- Sauté the Squash: While the squash is baking, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, add the cooked spaghetti squash strands. Toss them in the skillet to coat them with the butter and oil. Season with the remaining garlic salt and Italian herbs. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, or until the squash is heated through and has absorbed the flavors.
- Serve: Plate the sautéed spaghetti squash and top it with grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes (adjust to your desired level of spiciness), and a pinch of minced parsley for a pop of freshness.
- Enjoy: Your delicious and buttery spaghetti squash is ready to be enjoyed as a flavorful and low-carb side dish or even as a light main course.
This dish combines the natural sweetness of spaghetti squash with savory seasonings and a hint of heat from the red pepper flakes. It’s a delightful and healthy alternative to traditional pasta.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Easy Spaghetti Squash
Choose the Right Squash: Look for a spaghetti squash that is firm, with a consistent yellow color and no soft spots or blemishes. The stem should be intact and dry.
Slice It Carefully: Cutting a spaghetti squash in half can be challenging due to its tough skin. Use a sharp chef’s knife and be cautious while cutting. If needed, microwave the whole squash for a minute or two to soften it slightly before slicing.
Remove the Seeds and Strings: After slicing the squash in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the center. You want to create a well for the seasonings and butter.
Season Generously: Don’t be shy with the seasonings. Season the inside of the squash generously with butter, garlic salt, and Italian herbs before roasting. This ensures that the flavor permeates the flesh as it cooks.
Roast Cut-Side Down: Place the squash halves cut-side down on a baking sheet before roasting. This allows the steam to build up inside the squash, helping it cook evenly and preventing it from drying out.
Check for Doneness: The cooking time may vary depending on the size of your squash and your oven. To check for doneness, insert a fork into the flesh. It should easily separate into spaghetti-like strands. If it’s still too firm, continue baking.
Sauté for Flavor: Sautéing the cooked spaghetti squash in a skillet with additional butter and olive oil enhances its flavor and texture. It allows the strands to absorb the richness of the butter and oil while adding a slight crispness.
Adjust Seasonings: Taste the sautéed squash and adjust the seasonings as needed. You can add more garlic salt, Italian herbs, or even a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness.
Garnish Creatively: When serving, don’t forget the finishing touches. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes (for some heat), and a pinch of minced parsley for a visually appealing and flavorful presentation.
Pair with Complementary Dishes: Consider serving your spaghetti squash alongside dishes that complement its flavors, such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or a tomato-based sauce for a complete meal.
Yes, you can microwave spaghetti squash for a faster cooking method. Simply pierce the whole squash with a fork in several places to allow steam to escape, then microwave it on high for 10-12 minutes, rotating it halfway through. Let it cool slightly before slicing and scooping out the strands.
To reduce excess moisture in spaghetti squash, you can sprinkle the cut sides with salt and let it sit for about 10 minutes before roasting. After roasting, use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to gently blot any moisture from the strands.
Yes, you can freeze cooked spaghetti squash. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer the strands to an airtight container or freezer bags. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet or microwave.
Spaghetti squash pairs well with a variety of sauces, including marinara, pesto, Alfredo, or a simple garlic and olive oil sauce. The mild flavor of the squash complements a wide range of flavors.
Store leftover cooked spaghetti squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it in a skillet with a bit of butter or olive oil to refresh the flavor.
Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with your seasonings. You can use herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, or even fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro to customize the flavor of your spaghetti squash.
To enhance the flavor of spaghetti squash, you can experiment with different seasonings, such as adding minced garlic, shallots, or grated Parmesan cheese during the sautéing process. You can also drizzle it with a flavorful sauce or dressing before serving.
Achieving an al dente texture with spaghetti squash is challenging since it naturally has a softer texture. To get it as firm as possible, reduce the roasting time slightly, but keep in mind that it won’t have the exact bite of traditional pasta.
What to Serve With Spaghetti Squash
Protein: Consider adding a source of protein to make your meal more substantial. Grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, or tofu are excellent options. You can season and prepare the protein to complement the flavors of the spaghetti squash.
Sauces: Spaghetti squash is a great canvas for different sauces. Classic marinara sauce, pesto, Alfredo sauce, or a simple garlic and olive oil sauce are all delicious choices.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like asparagus, cherry tomatoes, or bell peppers make a colorful and flavorful side dish. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting.
Salad: A fresh salad adds brightness and freshness to the meal. Consider a simple green salad with a vinaigrette dressing or a Caesar salad for a more substantial option.
Garlic Bread or Rolls: Crusty garlic bread or warm dinner rolls are perfect for soaking up any sauce and completing the meal.
Grated Parmesan Cheese: Offer grated Parmesan cheese as a topping to enhance the flavor of the spaghetti squash.
Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle some fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or chives over the spaghetti squash for a burst of freshness.
Red Pepper Flakes: If you like a bit of heat, red pepper flakes can add a touch of spiciness to your spaghetti squash.
Mixed Nuts: Toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds can provide a pleasant crunch and nutty flavor when sprinkled over the squash.
Grilled Vegetables: Grilled vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or Portobello mushrooms are excellent companions to spaghetti squash.
Feta or Goat Cheese: Crumbled feta or goat cheese can add creaminess and tangy notes to the dish.
Sautéed Spinach: Sautéed spinach with garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice pairs well with spaghetti squash, adding a fresh and nutritious element.
Stir-Fried Veggies: A medley of stir-fried vegetables with ginger and soy sauce can create an Asian-inspired fusion dish.
Avocado: Sliced or mashed avocado can add creaminess and a touch of healthy fats to your meal.
Chopped Nuts: Consider adding chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans for a delightful crunch.
Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipe
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- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons butter (for baking)
- 2 tablespoons butter (for sautéing)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (for garnish, adjust to taste)
- A pinch of minced parsley (for garnish)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy bits from the center.
- Place the two halves of the squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each half. Season the squash with 1 teaspoon of garlic salt and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian herbs.
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash is tender. The flesh should easily separate into spaghetti-like strands with a fork.
- While the squash is baking, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, add the cooked spaghetti squash strands. Toss them in the skillet to coat them with the butter and oil. Season with the remaining garlic salt and Italian herbs. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, or until the squash is heated through and has absorbed the flavors.
- Plate the sautéed spaghetti squash and top it with grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes (adjust to your desired level of spiciness), and a pinch of minced parsley for a pop of freshness.
- Your delicious and buttery spaghetti squash is ready to be enjoyed as a flavorful and low-carb side dish or even as a light main course.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 227Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 36mgSodium 1040mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 4g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.