Noodles? Or Vegetables? The Mystery and Magnificence of Naturally Gluten-Free Spaghetti Squash

spaghettisquashI didn’t know about the little gem of a vegetable that is spaghetti squash until a few years ago when a friend made it for me. I was probably way more excited than a normal person should be to see “noodles” being magically pulled out of a vegetable with a fork. I introduced it to my family and it’s now a favorite among them as well. Spaghetti squash is a winter squash and is usually best in late autumn, but I’ve found nice spaghetti squashes in the middle of summer (and in fact, I just made it last week). Granted, it’s not exactly like eating spaghetti because of the crunchier texture, but it’s definitely an easy gluten-free alternative to pasta.

Spaghetti squash is simple to make. The raw squash can be difficult to split, but I find that halving it speeds up cooking time and is easier to clean out and shred. People have different techniques, but I usually place the halves rind-side-up in a glass baking dish, cover the bottom of the pan with water, and bake at 375° for 45 minutes to an hour, until the squash is soft. The trickiest part is pulling out the strands while the squash is still hot, so I usually hold the squash still with a fork while shredding it with another fork, then I dump the shreds into a nearby bowl as they accumulate.

What’s so great about spaghetti squash is that, because it’s pretty bland on its own, it can be dressed up with whatever flavors you like. You can eat it plain, with just some butter, salt, and pepper, or cover it in a tomato or alfredo sauce. You can top it with chicken, sausage, meatballs, cheese, mushrooms, olives, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, or anything else that could normally go on spaghetti. I generally just do mine with the classic tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil. You can also check out this post by Sarah that links to a mouthwatering spaghetti squash lasagna recipe.

Spaghetti squash is such a delicious and nutritious naturally gluten-free alternative to pasta – just maybe don’t tell the kids they’re eating a vegetable!

Got any great ideas for dressing up spaghetti squash? Tell us about them!

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