Spaghetti squash makes a delicious low-carb alternative to pasta or noodles. Looking for healthy meal ideas? Check out these tasty recipes from registered dietitians
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
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Spaghetti squash is a winter squash that, when cooked, looks just like your favorite noodles. It's a delicious, nutritious way to lighten up your favorite pasta and noodle dishes. One cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains 42 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein, and 9 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. It also gets its yellow color from beta-carotene, which is rich in antioxidant properties. There are many of way to cook spaghetti squash, but here's an easy one to get you started, and it can also work as the base for numerous recipes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut squash in half (you can prick it with a fork and microwave for about 5 minutes to soften the skin if needed) and scoop out seeds.
- Place squash, cut-side down, in baking pan filled with about 1/2 cup water.
- Bake until squash is soft (skin will give when you press on it), about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
- Once cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh using a fork to rake out strands.
- In a rush? Just wash and prick squash and then microwave on HIGH until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes instead of baking.
Now you're ready to add your spaghetti squash to any recipe. Here are some inspiring recipes from registered dietitians to get you started.
Pesto Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
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Spaghetti squash lends itself very well to traditional Italian flavors. Dressed up with pesto and Parmesan, it's a great lower-carb sub for pasta. This dish also happens to be vegetarian, making it a perfect for Meatless Monday.
Get the recipe: Pesto Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
Photo: Amy Gorin Nutrition
Spaghetti Squash with Meat-Free Bolognese Sauce
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This meal will bring vegetarians and carnivores alike to the dinner table. In this recipe, soy crumbles replace traditional beef.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Meat-Free Bolognese Sauce
Photo: Meal Makeover Moms
Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken Marinara
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These creative spaghetti squash boats have all the flavor of spaghetti and meat sauce but for far fewer calories. They're totally kid-friendly—and also great for your inner child. (Check out these other low-carb alternatives to pasta.)
Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken Marinara
Photo: Euphoria Nutrition
Spaghetti Squash with Cannellini Beans
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This colorful vegetarian dish is packed with filling plant protein and fiber thanks to the creamy cannellini beans. The mozzarella on top adds a touch of richness.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Cannellini Beans
Photo: Triad to Wellness
Spaghetti Squash Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Bake
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When you want a gooey, cheesy meal that won't break the calorie bank, this Alfredo-inspired dish delivers. It also provides a balanced mix of veggies and protein with plenty of fiber and flavor to hit all the satisfying comfort food notes.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Bake
Photo: Nutrition to Fit
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmesan
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When served with pasta, chicken parm can be a heavy meal that'll send you right into a food coma. Here, this classic gets lightened and brightened up.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmesan
Photo: Emily Kyle Nutrition
Vegan Pesto Spaghetti Squash
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This flavorful take on pesto pasta features nutritious walnuts and gets its "cheesy" flavor from the nutritional yeast. (Love pesto but looking for more ways to use it? Here, you can find a healthy pesto recipe that doesn't involve pasta.)
Get the recipe: Vegan Pesto Spaghetti Squash
Photo: Nutritious Eats
Veggie Fajita Spaghetti Squash Stir-Fry
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This vegetarian, Mexican-inspired meal makes a great Meatless Monday entrée. This healthy twist on a family favorite lets you enjoy all the classic fajita flavors without the excess carbs from the tortillas.
Get the recipe: Veggie Fajita Spaghetti Squash Stir-Fry
Photo: C It Nutritionally
Crockpot Spaghetti Squash Meatballs
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Let your slow cooker make dinner while you go about your day. This healthy spaghetti squash meatball recipe is sure to become a go-to for busy weeks, and you'll also want to try these other healthy crock pot recipes for winter.
Get the recipe: Crockpot Spaghetti Squash Meatballs
Photo: Snacking in Sneakers
Creamy Enchilada Casserole with Spaghetti Squash
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The spaghetti squash in this enchilada casserole lightens up a classic favorite. Bonus: It's a great way to sneak in extra veggies!
Get the recipe: Creamy Enchilada Casserole with Spaghetti Squash
Photo: Smart Nutrition
Garlicky Baked Spaghetti Squash
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Want to think beyond a side of pasta? This garlicky dish is super easy to make and pairs with all kinds of flavors.
Get the recipe: Garlicky Baked Spaghetti Squash
Photo: My Menu Pal
One-Pot Spaghetti Squash
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Grain-Free Spaghetti Pie
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Spaghetti pie is a classic comfort food. This grain-free, Paleo-friendly version lets you enjoy the rich, creamy flavor of the original without relying on heavy elements that'll weigh you down or processed, hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
Get the recipe: Grain-Free Spaghetti Pie
Photo: The Real Food Dietitians