Spaghetti squash is a summer squash that resembles the popular pasta when cooked, with the inner flesh coming out in strings that look like noodles. It's a good alternative to pasta, particularly if you're cutting back on refined grains. The squash is low-calorie, with 35 calories in a one-cup serving and less than a gram of fat. Spaghetti squash has a mild, slightly sweet taste, that manages to stand up even to strong meats, and complements a variety of flavors.
Spaghetti squash with meat sauce is an obvious substitute for the dish made with pasta. Ground beef makes a good base for a quick meat sauce with canned tomato sauce or a homemade bolognese that simmers for an hour or two. Serve over the squash exactly as you would with regular pasta noodles. A thick ragu made with minced beef also works well served over the squash. For something different, top the squash with a thick and hearty beef stew.
You can easily substitute lamb for ground beef in a meat sauce or ragu recipe and serve it over spaghetti squash. The slightly sweet squash complements the rich flavor of lamb well. If you want something a little more traditional, serve the squash as a side dish next to a cut of lamb that stands on its own. The magazine "Real Simple" recommends adding scallions and fresh mint leaves to the squash rather than using a mint sauce for lamb chops. Try tossing the squash with a simple dressing of olive oil and herbs and serving next to a roast leg of lamb, which will be the star of the show.
Both pork and spaghetti squash take well to sauces, so set your imagination free when pairing the two. Top a plate of spaghetti squash with sliced medallions of pork loin and spoon on a fruit-based sauce, such as blackberry or cranberry. Try a mushroom sauce for pork chops and a side of squash. For an Asian flavored dish, stir-fry cubes of pork with scallions, peppers, carrots and spaghetti squash in place of noodles. Season with ginger, garlic and your favorite Asian sauce.
Chicken stir-fry is a natural for pairing with spaghetti squash. If you microwave the squash to cook it, and use skinless, boneless chicken for the stir-fry, it's also a quick meal to make when you're in a hurry. Chicken takes to a wide variety of flavors, so try cooking with Italian herbs and tomatoes or with peas and curry spices. Toss the cooked squash with the stir-fry for the last few minutes. For a richer dish, top spaghetti squash with slices of roast duck.
- University of Illinois Extension: Spaghetti Squash
- Taste of Home: Spaghetti With Meat Sauce Recipe
- Real Simple; Lamb Chops With Minted Spaghetti Squash; Kate Merker; October 2009
- Eating Well; Spaghetti Squash & Pork Stir-Fry; September/October 2007
- University of New Hampshire Health Services: Chicken Spaghetti Squash