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SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Active ImageOne of the best things about winter (in my opinion, anyway) is the huge variety of winter squashes available.  From acorn to kachoba to butternut to pumpkin, there are endless possibilities for your palate.  My favourite winter squash, however, is definitely  the spaghetti squash.

Usually pale yellow and oblong (although there are orange and green varieties), spaghetti squash is solid when raw, but when it’s cooked, the flesh falls out in thin ribbons that make a great substitute for pasta. 

Spaghetti squash is extremely low in calories (about 75 calories per 8 oz) and his a great source of beta carotene, folic acid, vitamin A, and potassium.  It can be baked, boiled, microwaved, or steamed, and makes an easy, delicious, and versatile addition to any diet.

DID YOU KNOW:
Spaghetti squash is also known as “Sharkfin Melon” in Chinese, because the spaghetti strands are similar to the strands of a shark’s fin!

HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

Look for a hard squash that seems heavy for its size.  Squashes can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for about a month.  They  also freeze well after cooking—thaw partially, then steam until tender (about 5 minutes or so). 

HOW TO PREPARE A SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

What I normally do is poke the squash all over with a fork.  I then microwave it for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the outside is soft.  I let it cool for a little while, then cut it in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and use a fork to pull out the spaghetti strands. 

You can also:

-Bake the squash at about 375°F (pricked all over with a fork) for about an hour.

-Boil the squash for 20-30 minutes, or until fork-tender.

-Slow cook the squash (pricked all over with a fork) in about 2 cups of water (or more for a bigger squash) for 8-9 hours.

NUTRITION INFO PER 1 CUP OF COOKED SQUASH:

Calories – 42
Fat – 0
Sodium – 0
Potassium – 181mg (5% RDA)
Total Carbohydrate – 10g
Dietary Fiber – 9% RDA
Sugars – 4g
Protein – 1g

%RDA Vitamins & Minerals:

Vitamin A – 3%
Iron – 3%
Vitamin C – 9%
Calcium – 3%
Magnesium – 4%
Zinc – 2%
Copper – 3%
Selenium – 1%
Manganese – 8%

RECIPES:

Spaghetti squash goes great with any pasta topping you like, so for an easy dinner, throw on some tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and eat!

Here are some other ideas for toppings:

HEALTHIER ALFREDO SAUCE

2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, if you like)
One 12.3-ounce container silken tofu
1/2 cup soy, rice, or almond milk (more if needed)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the margarine in a small skillet. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat.

Combine this with the tofu and nondairy milk in a food processor. Process until completely smooth and creamy.  Pour over the squash, mix well, and enjoy!  You can add sun-dried tomatoes, leafy greens and/or broccoli to this if you like.

NON-DAIRY PESTO
1 large bunch fresh basil
3/4 cup pine nuts
5 cloves garlic (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz silken tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast and/or vegan parmesan cheese
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor.Process until semi-smooth.  With processor running, add oil.  Toss with squash.