As far as carbs go, spaghetti squash is a keeper: Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and a whole host of healthy minerals, this delicious gluten-free and keto-friendly veggie boasts a mild flavor and pleasing texture—attributes that make it an ideal substitute for its pasta namesake. (Seriously, if you’re craving a tasty red sauce dinner but don’t want to stray from your diet plan, just cook up a bowl of this vegan spaghetti squash with mushroom marinara and both your palate and body will thank you.) Cooking with it couldn’t be easier, and we’ll prove it. Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash—whether you’re roasting the whole thing or baking half—so you can savor one gourd-geous (sorry) and guilt-free dinner that makes you feel good.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash that Tastes as Good as Traditional Pasta (Promise)
How to Roast Spaghetti Squash Whole
Yep, you can put that squash straight in the oven and save the prep work for when the roasting is done and you’ve had a chance to chill, or maybe just to turn your attention to prepping the other components of your meal. (Bonus: It’s much easier to cut a cooked squash in half.) This exceedingly simple method, courtesy of the talented gluten-free chef and Coterie member Phoebe Lapine, promises an extra mild flavor...you know, for spaghetti squash that’s really just a vehicle for yummy sauce. Here’s how you do it.
1. Preheat the Oven to 375 degrees
Every oven is a little different, but 375 degrees F is a reliable temperature for roasting squash. For a more caramelized, slightly more flavorful result, you can turn up the heat to 400 degrees.
2. Pierce the Squash with a Knife
When roasted whole, spaghetti squash is essentially cooked by steaming—but too much steam and your squash could crack open. To avoid this scenario, make small, shallow cuts on all sides of the squash with a knife before sending the veg into the oven.
3. Bake the Squash for 1 hour
Place the preheated squash in the oven and bake it for approximately one hour. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the squash, but you’ll know it’s ready when the skin is easy to pierce with a knife and the flesh is fork-tender.
4. Cool the Squash
Once roasted to tender perfection, remove the squash from the oven and let it rest on the kitchen counter until it’s cool enough to touch.
5. Cut and Scoop
Now that your squash isn’t too hot to handle, it’s time to crack it open and claim the prize. Cut the squash in half (lengthwise for shorter spaghetti strands, crosswise for longer ones.) Then, use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and pulp.
6. Scrape out the “Spaghetti”
Scrape the flesh of the squash with a fork and strands of “spaghetti” will appear like magic—just be sure to separate them as you go, so you don’t end up with a weird wad of squash instead of an elegant pasta-imposter. (Note: Once the strands have been separated, Lapine recommends using a paper towel to squeeze out any excess moisture to ensure you don’t end up with a plate of soggy spaghetti.) From there, it’s ready to be topped with sauce and served!
Bake Halved Spaghetti Squash
The subtle (some might say bland) flavor of spaghetti squash basically begs for seasoning, but you don’t need a pasta sauce to spice things up. By cutting the spaghetti squash in half prior to roasting, you have an opportunity to season the flesh before it cooks—so if you want to experiment with different preparations, this method from food scientist and author Jessica Gavin will be right up your alley.
1. Preheat the Oven to 400 Degrees
The high temperature is helpful if you aren’t serving your veg with spaghetti sauce, since it will caramelize the squash and impart a deeper roasted flavor.
2. Halve the Squash
With a heavy-duty knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Since the skin and flesh is quite firm prior to cooking, it might be helpful to bundle the squash in a dish towel for a firmer grip before you insert the knife and start cutting.
3. Remove the Seeds
Use a large metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and pulp from the both halves of the squash.
4. Rub with Oil and Seasoning
Brush or rub the flesh of the squash with olive oil—any oil with a high smoke point will do, but olive oil gets bonus points for its bigger flavor—and sprinkle with a generous amount of kosher salt and cracked pepper. This is also the point at which to get creative with any additional spices you’d like to add to the mix.
5. Roast for 40 Minutes
Place both halves cut size down on a baking tray and put them in the oven to bake for roughly 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and a knife can cut through the skin like butter.
Just as you would with a whole-roasted spaghetti squash, grab a fork and scrape to loosen the flesh into strands of squash. Plate the squash and dig in—or for an elegant presentation (and fewer dishes), gobble it up straight out of the gourd. No judgment here.