Need ideas for spaghetti squash as a side dish.
September 23, 2013 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I can't find a way to make spaghetti squash side dishes taste good. Please help.

As we try to avoid carbs, we often make spaghetti squash as a side or base to meals. We've been doing this for a year and at this point we pretty much just dutifully choke it down. I cut it in half, boil it for about 45 minutes (it must not be crunchy, ick) and serve with lots of butter and salt and sometimes parmesan cheese. I don't roast it because it takes too damn long to get it properly soft. I think it's around an hour and a half, and the flavor improvement isn't even that striking.

There has to be a better concoction than this. If people eat it, there must be a way to make it taste good! At this point, I don't even care if I have to throw some carbs in it. Thanks for your suggestions.
posted by kitcat to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I made this spaghetti squash and Swiss chard dish for a potluck and got several requests for the recipe. It was yummy!
posted by cecic at 10:50 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Mariana sauce, or a good spaghetti sauce, goes a long way.

By the way, you're probably overcooking it. I cut it in half, steam it in the microwave, covered with a bit of water in a shallow pan, for 10 minutes and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Never crunchy.
posted by blob at 10:51 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: this is one of the tastiest things I have ever made, and it features spaghetti squash. it's possible! Pair with slow-cooked lamb tagine, cous cous and hummus for mad love from all your friends.
posted by idlethink at 10:56 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

This dip is really good...I've had it with pita chips, but I bet veggies dipped in it would be good, too.
posted by stellaluna at 10:59 AM on September 23, 2013

Microwave is the best way to get it soft and it only takes 10 minutes.

After that, you're trying too hard. While you can make spaghetti squash into its own side dish, the best thing to do is to treat it as if it were pasta. Use your favorite pasta sauces - especially alfredo. Chicken alfredo, Spinach/Mushroom Alfredo, etc. Pioneer Woman has a Spinach/Artichoke Alfredo that sounds good (leave out the flour). You can also make Carbonara, Marinara, Bolognese, etc. Add meatballs or sausage and colored bell peppers and use a jar of Ragu. Shoot, you can make macaroni and cheese if you want to - add broccoli, tuna, peas, etc and make a tuna casserole. Just treat it like pasta.
posted by CathyG at 11:04 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just about any strong flavored sauce will be delicious on spaghetti squash. I've done marinara, pesto, various salsas, garlic butter, lemon herb butter, roasted red pepper puree, hoisin, sriracha and others I'm forgetting. Just pick something with plenty of flavor and umami. Spaghetti squash can be on the watery side (especially when boiled), so make sure your sauce is concentrated and plentiful.
posted by annaramma at 11:12 AM on September 23, 2013

Super easy, fancy pantsy 'squash spaghetti'. I use a salad spinner.
posted by gregglind at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: I like mixing it with black beans and avocado/mango/tomato salsa.
posted by something something at 11:25 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you cut it in half first, it only takes about 45 minutes to roast on 400. I cut a crosshatch into each half, drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, salt and pepper generously, and throw a few whole cloves of garlic in each half. It scoops right out and the cross-hatches mean it's basically already chopped.

Add lightly roasted cherry tomatoes (10 minutes), a dash of balsamic, and a good handful of Italian parsley for a dressed up version. Or, the tomatoes and parsley plus some chevre or other soft cheese if you want to be decadent.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:29 AM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: The parmesian is right on track.

Can you nuke the squash instead ? Halve it, scoop seeds, poke holes through w/ knife, and put cut-side-down in a dish w/ water, nuke until done (depends on size of squash etc).

If you can, while it's nuking, dice a pepper, medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic (adjust to size of the squash) and cook in oil in a large pan.

When squash is done, scoop out, separate it (into shreds), put in the pan with onion/pepper/garlic, add a drained can of diced tomatoes, some oregano/basil/thyme or herbs de provance (whichever taste you like) and cook it all together for a few more minutes.

Add parmesian and serve.
posted by k5.user at 11:30 AM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: pesto.
posted by theora55 at 11:32 AM on September 23, 2013

I have to use a strong sauce. The usual pasta suspects, but also it's really good (basically disappears) under stews, chili, or a meaty pan sauce.

But yeah, you're not really getting much flavor into the squash via most cooking methods, so halve and nuke that baby and save yourself an hour. I have a tiny underpowered practically useless microwave, so I use the pressure cooker, which takes about 20m all told.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:40 AM on September 23, 2013

Best answer: I made this Spaghetti Squash with JalapeƱo Cream last night. It has the flavor of jalapeno without the heat. Even my yankee wife likes it.
posted by mds35 at 12:00 PM on September 23, 2013

If you still want to roast it (after all the speedy microwave methods). Shove it in the oven when you have some time and then chuck it into the fridge for reheating (ideally in your pan sauce) in the next day or two.
posted by sarajane at 1:50 PM on September 23, 2013

My grandma used to make what we called spaghetti on the half shell -- spaghetti squash cut in half, scooped out a bit, filled with seasoned ground beef and pasta sauce, covered with cheese, and baked. Only way I'd eat squash when I was a kid. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:00 PM on September 23, 2013

Just checking, but you know there are carbs in Spaghetti squash, right? If you really need to be low carb, I'd avoid winter squashes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and beets.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2013

Actually spaghetti squash is considered a non-starchy squash, unlike most winter squashes like acorn and butternut. A cup of cooked squash will run you about 8 g of carbs (with the fiber subtracted) which is not bad for all but the very strictest low-carb diets!
posted by peacheater at 8:12 PM on September 23, 2013

Oh She Glows has recently done a recipe on Tex Mex spaghetti squash + black bean guac.

(and from the same blog, here's a post on how to roast them.)

I plan to be getting some spaghetti squash next time I'm at the store!
posted by whistle pig at 5:41 PM on September 24, 2013

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