Grain Alternative: Spaghetti Squash (+ 3 Recipes)
Most Americans eat way too many grains in their everyday diets. That means flour, rice, pasta, oats, and bread. If eaten to excess, these grains can lead to weight gain, blood sugar spikes, and raised cholesterol, so it is better to find an alternative that is more nutritious and less detrimental to your health. Today, let’s talk about spaghetti squash. Next time you have a craving for spaghetti and meatballs, why not try using spaghetti squash instead?
Spaghetti squash is a yellow oval squash and, when cooked, the insides come out in spaghetti-like strands. When you cover it with meat sauce or tomato sauce and meatballs, it becomes a delicious and guilt-free treat! Spaghetti squash is low-calorie, but it is high in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, and other powerful antioxidants! It is loaded with beta-carotene that can help protect your cells and DNA from oxidative damage.
Because of the fiber found in the squash, it can help with your digestive health, as well as with weight loss! There are only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates per cup of spaghetti squash, compared to the 200 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrates in one cup of traditional spaghetti.
One of the great things about spaghetti squash is that it is extremely versatile. I use it in so many different ways, the possibilities are nearly endless! Here, I will share with you how to cook the spaghetti squash and three different ways to prepare it. There are many other types of recipes that you can make with spaghetti squash, including casseroles, squash boats, or even fritters and hash browns!
Baking a Spaghetti Squash:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Slice spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard or place on a baking sheet to bake with the squash (they taste similar to baked pumpkin seeds and are very nutritious!)
3. Smooth a thin layer of ghee over the inside of each half of the squash.
4. Place face-down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
5. Poke holes in the skin with a fork for venting.
6. Bake in the oven for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes, until the outside is tender and soft.
7. Scoop out insides with a fork or some tongs! You can either use it right away or put it in a container in the fridge to use a little at a time.
Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash Stir-Fry:
(Serves 3-4 people as a side dish)
4 cups spaghetti squash, pre-cooked
1 tbsp. ghee
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1. Place the ghee in the bottom of a pan. Turn on stove to medium.
2. Place the mushrooms, onions, and garlic in the pan, cooking until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Feel free to add any other veggies you want, such as zucchini or broccoli!
3. Add the already-cooked spaghetti squash and cook until warm (if previously refrigerated) and well-mixed.
Recipe #2: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce:
(Serves 4 people as main dish)
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (I use Nature’s Promise Organic Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce from Giant)
Optional: 1 onion, sliced & ½ cup mushroom, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 spaghetti squash, cooked
1. Sauté ground beef, onions, and mushrooms in a sauce pan. Cook on medium until the beef is brown and fully cooked.
2. Add spaghetti sauce and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Put warm spaghetti squash in a bowl and pour some of the meat sauce on top. Mix together until well combined.
Recipe #3: Asian Breakfast Stir-Fry:
(Serves 1 person as whole breakfast)
1 cup spaghetti squash, pre-cooked
¼ cup onions, diced
¼ cup mushrooms, diced
2 tsp coconut aminos (or to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Put onions and mushrooms in a pan with some ghee, and cook on medium until onions are translucent.
2. Add spaghetti squash and coconut aminos. Cook until warm.
3. While the spaghetti squash is cooking, make two eggs over-easy in another pan.
4. Once cooked, place the spaghetti squash combo in a bowl and put the cooked eggs on top.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top, to taste.