Spaghetti squash is an oblong-shaped fruit from the plant family Cucurbita. Don’t let the name deceive you, it is sometimes called vegetable spaghetti. It is a close relation to the pumpkin and some other varieties of squash. Spaghetti squash bears a striking resemblance to pasta, that’s where it got its name from. It is usually used as a substitute for pasta by many chefs and cooks.
If you haven’t had a taste of spaghetti squash, you might be wondering what it tastes like. Despite the name and the physical resemblance to spaghetti pasta, it has a taste that pasta cannot replicate.
What does spaghetti squash taste like? Spaghetti squash tastes like squash. Some people compare the taste of spaghetti squash to that of the yellow winter squash; which is slightly sweet with a crunchy texture. The taste of spaghetti squash is quite neutral, it can be described as slightly sweet, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. It has a nutty flavor and its texture will vary, depending on the variety of the squash. It could be watery or crunchy.
The crunchy texture of spaghetti squash is a telltale sign that makes it different from pasta. The fruit is usually hard and solid when uncooked, but after cooking it, the flesh shreds away from the skin in strips that look like pasta.
Nutritional Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a very healthy substitute for pasta; the taste might be different, but it holds more nutritional benefits. Spaghetti squash has low-calorie content and has been associated with a lot of health benefits. It has a high amount of essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs. It has a significant amount of fiber, potassium, niacin, vitamin C, B5, and B6, and manganese. It also contains trace amounts of iron, folate, magnesium, and calcium.
Spaghetti squash is loaded with antioxidants; these are great for helping the body relieve oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals (rogue molecules in the body). It could lead to cell damage, affect heart health and the overall well-being of the body.
Antioxidants are not only great at promoting heart health and the overall well-being of the body, research has shown that they could protect against cancer and diabetes. It also contains beta-carotene, a compound that plays an important role in protecting our DNA from damage.
We have vitamin C in spaghetti squash, it does a great job of boosting the immune system, but it doubles as an antioxidant and inhibits the formation of free radicals, and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. In a cup of spaghetti squash, you have just about 2 grams of fiber, which is about 9 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI).
Fiber is great for the digestive tract, it moves slowly through the tract, adding bulk to what you have eaten and facilitating bowel movement. It also helps to reduce the occurrence of constipation.
Spaghetti squash could help with weight control or support weight loss. It has a great fiber to calorie ratio, fiber helps you feel full after a meal, empties your stomach, and keeps blood sugar levels at a normal rate. Taking foods that have a high fiber content regularly can help you reduce your appetite in the long run, helping with weight control or weight loss. It can also help treat intestinal ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Culinary Uses of Spaghetti Squash
Cooking spaghetti squash is an easy business, you can roast the fruit in your oven at 400 Fahrenheit for almost an hour. That is after you have removed the seeds, rubbed the skin with olive oil, and seasoned it with salt or any seasoning of your choice. You can remove the seeds by splitting the fruit lengthwise with a knife and scooping them out with a spoon.
This Farm Girl Cooks blog highlights the best techniques on how to cook spaghetti squash whole.
Keep checking the tenderness with a fork and take it out of the oven once it is tender, then use a spoon to scoop out the shredded flesh that looks like pasta. You can find a lot of use for spaghetti squash but whatever you do, don’t drown it in sauce except if that is your style.
The mild flavor of spaghetti squash helps it work well in many recipes, it is not too overbearing, so it takes on the flavor of the recipe. The crunchy texture could also help with contrast in some dishes. You might not be able to enjoy it with sauce and meatballs like pasta, but you will find that it serves as a very great side dish.
You can also make spaghetti squash boats by using it as a stuffing for casseroles, hash browns, or fritters. It can also be used in seasonal salads or stir-fried in a pan with mushrooms, thyme, and Parmesan to create a savory fall dish.
Where Does Spaghetti Squash Grow, and Where Can You Buy it?
You can find spaghetti squash in varying shapes, sizes, and colors. They could be yellow, ivory, or orange. Please note that green spaghetti squash is unripe and unfit for eating. Orange-colored spaghetti squash has the highest amounts of beta-carotene.
Spaghetti squash is easy to cultivate, you can grow it in pots, or your garden. It can also be cross-pollinated with its close cousin, Zucchini. Spaghetti squash is available all year round in grocery stores, there could be shortages during summer, but they are pretty easy to find alongside other squashes.
Is Spaghetti Squash a Starch?
Spaghetti squash is a vegetable, but squashes like acorn, pumpkin squash, and butternut are close to starch due to their calorie count. If you are trying to control your calorie intake, spaghetti squash is a safe bet.
Facts You Don’t Know About Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti squash can be enjoyed with cheese, and it pairs very well with smooth legumes.
- If you don’t want to roast your spaghetti squash, you can boil it in water till it is tender.