If you’re looking for an easy and healthy, meatless dinner, it’s hard to beat Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce. Truly.
I love it as a main course, served with simple greens on the side. While I’m completely satisfied, it doesn’t fill my guys up. So for them, it becomes a side. I most often add meatballs to their dinner, and everyone’s happy.
There are a couple of ways to cook Spaghetti squash. It depends on how much time you have.
My preferred method is to cook the squash in the oven, with a brief spin in the microwave to soften it up.
One of the most asked questions about Spaghetti Squash is… “Does it really taste like spaghetti?” The answer is… “no, not really.” However, once the squash is cooked, it separates into these lovely golden strands that resemble spaghetti or perhaps Angel Hair pasta. I absolutely love the texture of cooked spaghetti squash. It’s a bit chewy, yet tender. And when you top it with marinara sauce, it’s truly delicious.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
The quickest way to cook spaghetti squash is to halve and then cook it cut side down on a baking sheet. However, the squash can be tough to halve. While it can be cooked whole in the oven then sliced and seeds removed, that takes about an hour.
I like to soften the squash in the microwave for a few minutes and then cook it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. To do this, first score the squash lengthwise from stem to tail with a sharp knife. Bake it whole in the microwave for no more than 5 minutes. The object is to soften the skin so that it can be easily halved. Cooking a whole squash in the microwave for more than a few minutes will allow steam to build up in the squash, creating a dangerous situation.
Once the squash is softened in the microwave, slice it along the scored edge and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven.
Ways to Use Spaghetti Squash
Once you’ve cooked your spaghetti squash, here are some delicious ways to use it.
Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce (see below)
If you’re looking for an easy and healthy meatless dinner, it’s hard to beat Spaghetti Squash with Simple Marinara Sauce. Truly.
1 spaghetti squash, 2-3 pounds
Simple Marinara Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F: Preheat the oven while you prep the squash.
Microwave: Use a sharp knife to score the spaghetti squash lengthwise from stem to tail. Place in the microwave and cook for 3-4 minutes. No longer than 5 minutes because steam can build up inside the squash and create a dangerous situation. You are only softening the squash so it can be easily halved.
Slice the Squash in Half: Using a chef’s knife, after the squash is cool enough to handle, cut the squash in half, along the scored line, lengthwise from stem to tail. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy bits of flesh from inside the squash. Discard the seeds.
Roasting the Squash: Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan or baking sheet. Add a little water to the pan, enough to cover the bottom. This allows the squash to steam and become tender. Alternately, covering the dish with foil will also let the squash steam.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Because squash sizes vary, check it at about 30 minutes. The squash is ready when you can easily pierce the squash with a fork from the flesh clear through the peel. It will also easily separate into cooked strands.
Making Spaghetti Strands: Working horizontally, use a fork to gently separate the squash flesh from the peel into strands. Toss the spaghetti squash with a little butter or olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Make Ahead: Spaghetti squash will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and add the garlic. Stir while cooking for about 30 seconds to a minute. The garlic can brown and burn quickly. Add the tomatoes, sugar, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Simmer for about 7 minutes.