How to Prep Spaghetti Squash Like a Pro

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Spaghetti squash is the OG veggie noodle. This oblong winter squash has seeds and pulp in the middle, kind of like a pumpkin. When you cook it, the inside separates from the rind in spaghetti-like strings. Hence the name.

Spaghetti squash shines as a simple side dish, plus it's a magical, carb-friendly substitute for pasta and potatoes in all kinds of recipes.

But first, you have to know how to purchase and cook the stuff. We've got you covered.

How to buy spaghetti squash

Pick a squash with a firm, matte rind with no soft spots or cracks and a firm, dry stem. The peak season is between early fall and winter.

How to slice spaghetti squash

You're going to need a cutting board, a muscular arm (or a friend with a muscular arm) and a long, sharp knife. The rind is thick, and trying to hack at it with a dull or small knife could result in a medical emergency. Be especially careful when slicing the portion of the squash with the stem, which is very thick.

How to store spaghetti squash

Keep whole spaghetti squash in a cool, dry place for up to two months. Don't refrigerate for more than a few days, as it will spoil fast in the fridge. Cooked squash will keep in the fridge, well wrapped, for several days.

How to roast whole spaghetti squash

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Prick the squash all over with the tines of a fork.

3. Lay the squash on its side on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, or until soft to the touch. Turn once mid-baking.

4. Remove from the oven. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing carefully (especially if it's still hot!). Slice horizontally and scoop out the seeds and pulp.

5. Separate strands with a fork and serve.

How to roast spaghetti squash wedges

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Slice the squash into quarters, or more pieces if you don't mind short strands. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

3. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever other spices you'd like (cinnamon works nicely).

4. Place the sheet in the preheated oven. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and soft on the inside. Test one piece by seeing if the strands remove with minimal resistance.

5. Separate strands with a fork and serve.

How to boil spaghetti squash

1. Fill a large pot 2/3 full with water. Over high heat, bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium, and place the squash in the water, making sure it doesn't displace the water too much.

If the water doesn't cover the squash, be sure to turn it every 10 minutes or so. Keep the water at a slow simmer; don't let it boil.

2. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Slice horizontally, then scoop out the seeds and pulp.

3. Separate strands with a fork and serve.

How to microwave spaghetti squash

1. Prick the squash all over with the tines of a fork. You can either leave it whole or slice it into quarters. If slicing, go ahead and separate the seeds and pulp from the rind before cooking, and discard the rind.

2. Lightly moisten a paper towel and place on a plate. Place the squash on top, whether whole or in chunks.

3. Microwave on high for 10 minutes (for whole spaghetti squash) or 5 minutes (for pieces) , or until soft to the touch. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing whole squash to let the steam settle.

4. Separate strands with a fork and serve.

Toasted spaghetti squash seeds

Stop right there: don't throw away those seeds! Like pumpkin seeds, they can be toasted and eaten. They're great in trail mix or as a garnish for salads or baked goods

To toast, place the seeds in a single layer on a sheet of parchment paper or foil. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes or until crunchy.

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