Oven Baked Spaghetti Squash
Today I am going out of my comfort zone to perform a culinary trick and transforming squash into tender tangles of spaghetti with a FORK! You just need an oven and a 30 minutes of your time. Never Heard of Spaghetti Squash?
You’ve probably seen these big yellow squash at the supermarket on your way to the butternut and acorn squashes and wondered what the big deal was. These squashes naturally grow in such a way that, once cooked, the squashy insides will pull apart in long, spaghetti like strands.
We have had Spaghetti Squash for dinner before. But My daughter-in-law has always been the one to buy it and bake.
Tonight I will!
These long squash strands are definitely noodle like in many ways.
They are tender enough that you can twirl them around your fork.
They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that makes them great for everything from serving with tomato sauce and cheese to tossing into a skillet.
They even look enough like spaghetti to fool the casual observer.
These squash noodles can be used interchangeably with regular noodles in your favorite pasta dishes. Squash noodles are best when used in pasta dishes with a hearty sauce and a good amount of melted cheese, where the crunchy texture is a little less noticeable.
If you’ve never had spaghetti squash before, it’s worth a try. You can even make it in the microwave.
Below are the recipes for both the microwave and oven baked methods.
Cooked spaghetti squash can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Roasting The Squash Whole:
Instead of cutting the squash in half, you can also roast it whole. Roast until a fork can easily pierce through the outer peel and all the way to the interior of the squash, about 1 hour. Slice in half and carefully remove the seeds and stringy flesh, then scrape the flesh as directed above.
A Trick for Cutting the Squash in Half:
If you’re having trouble cutting a squash open, score it with a knife and microwave it for5 minutes. It should cut in half much easier after that. Scoring it helps guide the knife, and poking it a few times with a fork lets steam escape.
To be very clear, here, this step is just to soften the outside slightly and make the squash easier to cut. I do not recommend microwaving the whole squash for longer than a few minutes since this can cause steam to build up inside the squash and create a dangerous situation (even with vent holes poked through the shell).
Oven Baked Spaghetti Squash
- 3 pound 3-4 lb spaghetti squash
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 Dash Salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 1 medium spaghetti squash 4 lb
- Lightly score the squash where you will cut it in half: Use a paring knife and cut into the squash 1/8- to 1/4-inch deep from stem to bottom on both sides. This is the line where you will be cutting the squash in half.
- Poke the squash in a few places with either your paring knife or a dinner fork. This creates vents to allow steam to escape during the initial cooking of the squash.
- Microwave the squash for 5 minutes: Place the squash in the baking dish and microwave for 5 minutes on high. This cooks the squash a little bit and makes it easier to cut in half. Do not microwave the whole squash for longer than 5 minutes since this can cause steam to build up inside the squash and create a dangerous situation (even with vent holes poked through the shell).
- Cut the squash in half: Use oven mitts to remove the baking dish with the squash from the microwave. Place the squash on the cutting board and use a chef's knife to cut all the way through to the middle of the squash — start to one side of the stem, cut through the bottom, and then cut the other side of the squash up to the stem. Use your hands to pull the two halves apart and break the squash at the stem (don't try to cut through the stem). The squash will still be hard when you cut it and you'll need to use force, but less than if the squash was raw.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Season the squash halves (optional):If you like, rub a teaspoon of olive oil into the squash, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is just for flavor if you're serving the squash on its own; you can skip if it if you're planning to use the squash in a recipe or want to season it after cooking.
- Flip the squash halves upside down in the baking dish: You can cook each squash half separately if your baking dish is too small to fit both, or cook both at once. You can also save one half in the fridge to cook later.
- Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water: The exact amount isn't important; you just want the squashes to be partially submerged and to have enough water to create steam in the microwave. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Check the squash: When done, a fork poked through the skin should slide easily into the squash. Continue microwaving on high for another 2 to 5 minutes as needed.
- Scrape the squash strands from the inside: Remove the baking dish using oven mitts and transfer the squash halves to a cutting board. Use a fork to scrape the strands of squash from the inside. You should get 6 to 8 cups of "noodles" from a 3- to 4-pound squash.
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, prep the squash.
- Use a chef's knife to cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise from stem to tail. Spaghetti squash are really tough and hard, so be cautious and work slowly. You can cradle the squash in a balled-up dish cloth to keep it steady as you cut.
- Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits of flesh from inside the squash. Be careful of actually digging into the flesh, though — we want that! The inside should look clean and fairly smooth. Discard the seeds (or save them and roast them for a snack!).
- Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan or 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Pour a little water in the pan, enough to cover the bottom. Your squash will roast just fine without it, but I find that the water helps the squash steam and become more tender. You can also cover the pan with aluminum foil, if you prefer.
- Transfer the squash to the oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes. Smaller squash will cook more quickly than larger squash. Check the squash after 30 minutes to gauge cooking.
- The squash is ready when you can easily pierce a fork through the flesh all the way to the peel. The flesh will also separate easily into spaghetti-like strands. You can also taste it right now — if the noodles are still a bit crunchy for your taste, put the squash back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Flip the squash to be cut-side up. Use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. The strands wrap around the squash horizontally — rake your fork in the same direction as the strands to make the longest "noodles."
- Serve the squash immediately, tossed with a little butter or olive oil if desired.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Conversion Information We get a lot of requests to help with conversions especially between various countries like Canada, the U.K. and Australia. These tables should help you make those conversions. For your convenience we have included a Conversion Chart.
Disclaimer Unless indicated recipes influenced by cookbooks, magazines or family traditions.