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The oblong, pale yellow winter squash that you may have seen at the grocery store or farmers market is known as spaghetti squash. It acquired its name for a reason. Once cooked, the flesh is scraped out with a fork into long thin strands that resemble spaghetti noodles. And because spaghetti squash is not as sweet as its winter squash companions, such as acorn or butternut, it actually tastes similar to pasta.

To get those “spaghetti-like” strands, cut the squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and place it cut side down in a glass dish filled with ¼-½ inch of water. Bake the squash in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or cover and microwave on high for 12 to 15 minutes. Squash can also be boiled in a large pot of water that covers the squash for 20 to 30 minutes or put in the slow cooker with 2 cups of water and cooked on low for eight to nine hours.

Why use spaghetti squash rather than spaghetti? Consider this: 1 cup spaghetti noodles has 197 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate, while 1 cup spaghetti squash has only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrate! Plus, spaghetti squash is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fiber and potassium. Try spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti noodles in any dish, and you’ll feel good about your low-carb choice.


Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Place cut-side down in microwave-safe dish; add ¼ cup water. Microwave, covered, on High for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and scrape out flesh with a fork. Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic; season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add cooked squash and toss with tongs to coat thoroughly. Remove from the heat and add the cheese and parsley.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving: 130 calories, 6 grams fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium, 17 grams total carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams protein