Bored with boiled pasta? Looking for a low carb alternative? Look no farther than the fun, tasty, and nutrient rich spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. It is a fair source of niacin, pantothenic acid, and potassium too. And the best part? Spaghetti squash is lower in carbs and calories than pasta.
Spaghetti squash is named because its flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands when separated with a fork after it is cooked. If you enjoy spaghetti, but are limiting your pasta intake due to calories or carbs, then you already have two reasons to choose this vegetable as a low cal, low carb replacement.
How to cook spaghetti squash
When cooking spaghetti squash, you can avoid adding calories to your food by selecting cooking methods that do not require large amounts of added fats or oils. I usually bake or broil a halved squash until it feels tender, then scrape the cooked insides out with a fork, which separates the squash into strands. Super simple!
Once you have the strands, top it with your favorite pasta sauce or butter and Parmesan for a complete meal. However, I get tired of the same old thing and got creative with our last spaghetti squash from the local CSA. I went to Greece instead of Italy for flavor inspiration.
Greek Salad Spaghetti Squash Bowl
1 large spaghetti squash
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Greek seasoning (can’t find in grocery? See below to make your own blend*)
1 large English cucumber (or two smaller cucumbers)
1/4 cup diced red onion (sweet onion works well too)
1/4 cup diced green pepper (red, yellow or orange are good too)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese (or more if you like)
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice (I keep a bottle on hand so I’m never without lemon juice)
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. Greek Seasoning
Fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F/200C. Cut both ends off the squash. Stand it up on the cutting board, and cut into fourths lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and stringy parts around the seeds. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and arrange spaghetti squash cut side up. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the cut surface of each piece of squash, rub the oil around with your fingers, and sprinkle each one with a little Greek seasoning. Roast the squash for 50 minutes, or until it strings apart easily with a fork.
While the squash cooks, peel the cucumber, if not organic, chop to ¾” sized pieces, and put in a bowl. Chop the red onion and green bell pepper into pieces a little smaller than the cucumber and add to the bowl. Cut Kalamata olives and cherry or grape tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Crumble the Feta cheese and set aside.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dried Greek Seasoning, and desired amount of fresh-ground black pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and set dressing aside.
When the squash is done, let it cool enough to handle; then use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash strands away from the skin. Discard the skin and divide the spaghetti squash between four serving bowls. (Or refrigerate some if you’re not eating it all right away.)
Stir the Greek salad ingredients to combine. Then add the dressing and stir until all the ingredients are coated with dressing. (It may seem like too much dressing, but you want enough that it will drip down on the squash.) Gently stir in the crumbled Feta.
Spoon a generous amount of the Greek salad mixture over each bowl of spaghetti squash, making sure you get some of the dressing in each serving. Eat right away.
DIY GREEK SEASONING BLEND
Play around with the amounts and types of herbs to match your own personal tastes. Here’s what I did.
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried marjoram
½ tsp onion powder (dried, minced works too)
¼ tsp garlic powder (dried, minced works too)
Combine all in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 6 months.
This was a hit with my Mr. and we had enough for leftovers. Always a plus for this cook! Let me know how you like it.