I have never been a big fan of spaghetti squash, because the “noodles” always came out really short and un-spaghetti-like. It seemed like a big sham. But every so often I would feel compelled to try again, and during a recent attempt I made a startling discovery. Here it is. We’ve been cutting spaghetti squash the wrong way.
Left: Strand from squash that was cut lengthwise. Right: Strand from spaghetti squash cut into 1″ rings across the width. Every recipe for spaghetti squash that I’ve ever seen calls for cutting the squash lengthwise. It only makes sense, because most spaghetti squash are longer than they are wide. But this is plain wrong. Why? Because the strands run around the circumference of the squash, not down the length. Is your mind reeling yet? Hang in there, we’ll get through this together.
I stumbled across this revelation thanks to my pressure cooker. I’ll be sharing a lot more about pressure cookers in the future, because they are awesome, and it’s my personal (and humble) opinion that everyone should have one. They save time and energy and in most cases the food turns out better. But I digress. One night, I wanted to cook spaghetti squash, but I didn’t want to wait an hour for it, so I decided to use my pressure cooker and cook it in 15 minutes (yes, this is possible). The problem was, in order to fit it into the pressure cooker I had to cut it across the middle, and at the time I thought that my long spaghetti squash noodle dreams were shattered. Imagine my surprise when I started to separate the strands and realized that they were as long as spaghetti noodles! How could this be? Upon further inspection, I realized that the strands spiraled around the width, not the length. And then I realized why the “noodles” had always been short in previous attempts. They were cut in half the moment the knife sliced through the length of the squash. Let’s take a moment to mourn every spaghetti squash noodle that was ever cut in half needlessly.
I realized I had to test this theory with two different squash, cutting one lengthwise, and one into 1″ rings across the width. Rather than use the pressure cooker again, I baked the squash in the oven to confirm that the cooking method didn’t impact the outcome. Below, half of one squash cut into rings, and half of another squash cut lengthwise. To further test my theory, I cut the shortest squash into the rings.
In summary, if you want your spaghetti squash to actually look like spaghetti, defy convention and cut it across the middle. You will be rewarded with lovely long strands of deliciousness. Pretty cool, huh?
You may be wondering, once you have these nifty noodles, what do you with them? Personally, I love to add them to actual spaghetti. The squash noodles mix in with the pasta nearly seamlessly. Eating the squash alone is low-carb, yes, but it can also be watery and I tend to focus on the fact that I’m not eating pasta. By mixing it in with the pasta, you get a medium-carb option. I am a fan. For a medium-carb recipe, try this Spaghetti Squash Alfredo!
Will you be trying this method? Please let me know if you do!
So many of you have let me know how well this method is working for you, and it makes me do a happy dance! Longer “noodles” for everyone! But, I’ve also had some feedback that these suckers are a bugger to cut. So, I’m working on a quick video to show how I do it, and that will be coming VERY soon. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about the knife that I use to cut the squash (and pretty much everything else I cook). It’s a knife that is commonly used by prep cooks in professional kitchens, so you would think that it has a steep price tag, but surprise! It’s totally fat wallet friendly at less than $40. I use the 10″ model and the size makes it much easier to hack through the squash. If you’re looking for a workhorse of a knife, I highly recommend this one, and you’ll feel oh-so-professional slicing and dicing every vegetable that crosses your cutting board. Also, a few readers have mentioned that you can microwave the squash for about 10 minutes before cutting to make it easier. I haven’t tried that yet because I’m lazy and don’t want to add 10 minutes to the process. 🙂
Are you looking for a yummy sauce to slather upon your spaghetti squash? Look no further. This vegetable bolognese is the perfect way to eat even MORE vegetables on your vegetable noodles. You can thank me later. 🙂
Thanks to reader Tracie, I recently discovered that salting the squash prior to roasting dramatically improves the texture and reduces the “wet” factor. To do this, sprinkle salt liberally on both sides of each ring, and then place on a cooling rack on top of your baking sheet. This will draw out quite a bit of water from the squash. After 20 minutes, wipe away the water and most of the salt, and roast as directed. You’ll end up with “noodles” that are firm, yet tender, but not mushy or wet. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!Print
The best way to cook spaghetti squash to get long noodles that actually look like spaghetti!
- 1 spaghetti squash (the fatter the better)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice squash widthwise into 1-2″ rings. Run a knife around the interior or the rings to remove the seeds. Place rings on an oven-safe cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (see note about salting prior to roasting).
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and separate the strands into long “noodles”.
- Enjoy topped with your favorite sauce or mix 50/50 with regular spaghetti pasta for a “medium-carb” option, such as in this Spaghetti Squash Alfredo.
If you have an extra 20 minutes in your life, salt each squash ring liberally on both sides and place on a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. After 20 minutes, wipe away the water and most of the salt, and roast as directed. The resulting “noodles” will be less wet and a much nicer texture, firm yet tender. Enjoy!