I’d never had spaghetti squash until recently. It’s the first recipe I made out of the book The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien. I’d heard of it’s virtues before, but I have to admit, I was skeptical. Could a vegetable really provide the noodles that had always been my comfort food?
The answer, magically, is yes! And even better, the spaghetti squash was remarkably easy to cook.
Why would someone eat spaghetti squash instead of regular noodles? Well, it’s a great option for those trying to cut back on gluten. It’s also much lower in calories than traditional pasta (there’s a good nutritional analysis of it here). Finally, the squash available at my grocery store was grown locally and cost only 99 cents a pound. That’s cheaper than gluten-free noodles, comparable to many wheat noodles, and much more environmentally friendly.
I bought a spaghetti squash that was about two pounds, and baked it directly on the rack at 400 degress. Yes, that’s it – just plop it in. There’s no cutting, no pans. It needs to bake for about an hour and then will be soft on the outside. Once you take it out, you’ll be amazed by how easy it is to cut it in half.
After my baked squash was in two halves, I ran into my first dissapointment of the night. There are not actually noodle-like things just sitting in the middle. In fact, when you first look at it, it looks like well, squash. Do not fear. Remove the seeds, and then begin scraping the sides with a fork. As you scrape the sides, the flesh will form something that really does look exactly like noodles. To get better noodles, scrape thin portions of the side. Thick scrapes cause your noodles to clump. Once I’d got my “noodles”, I tossed them with the vegetable ragout recipe I’d made from The Gluten-Free Vegan.
However, you could toss your spaghetti squash with whatever traditional spaghetti items you like best. I have some sauce recipes already posted on my blog. It would also be great with pesto, or a friend of mine just tosses it with some olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper (you could add nutritional yeast and even some chili flakes to this).