So what exactly is spaghetti squash? On the outside, this nondescript and oval shaped yellow fall staple looks a bit like a melon and can easily be overlooked for the more mainstream squash varieties, like acorn and butternut. But don’t let appearances fool you! Once cooked, the pulp of the spaghetti squash transforms into unique and pasta-like strings with a mild and nutty flavor.
While technically a fruit, this amazingly versatile winter squash will have you rethinking your next meal. Low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and packed full of essential vitamins and minerals (such as potassium and beta-carotene), the possibilities are endless when it comes to serving up spaghetti squash. Not only does is work as a simple side dish topped with salt and pepper, it is also a perfect substitute for pasta when you want to cut back on calories but are not willing to pass up on flavor.
There are lots of ways to prepare spaghetti squash but if you are looking for easy and consistent results then pull our your slow cooker. It will be the easiest thing you will ever make and it is impossible to mess up! Letting the squash slowly cook over an extended period of time brings out the subtle flavor of the squash and guarantees a perfect spaghetti-like finish every time.
Since slow-cookers come in all different shapes and sizes, make sure to find a squash that will fit into your appliance. When picking a spaghetti squash, look for skin that is bright yellow (not green or pale) with no soft spots or bruising.
To start, simply wash and pat dry the outside of the squash. Pierce skin with a fork or small paring knife so that the steam can escape while cooking. If you do not poke the skin, you risk the vegetable exploding and making a huge mess! Place the squash in ceramic bowl of your slow cooker.
Next, add 2 cups of water and one 1 tablespoon of fresh peppercorns to the bowl. Cover and let the squash cook on low setting for 6-7 hours. As tempting as it may be to check on the progress of your spaghetti squash, do not open the lid while cooking! This will let out the heat and prolong the cooking time. Instead, just let the squash slowly steam in the slow cooker.
Once ready, carefully remove the squash from the crock pot using oven mitts or tongs. Be very careful while removing- the squash will be very hot, juicy and soft. Don’t be surprised if the once hard skin has softened so much that it starts to break apart.
To serve, simply slice in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. You will notice that the pulp of the squash will easily pull away from the sides and separate into stringy, spaghetti-like strands. Use a fork to separate and fluff.
Serve as a side with salt and pepper to taste. Spaghetti squash also makes a great substitute for pasta (my favorite is with mixing it with meatballs and tomato sauce).