Quick Recipes and Easy

Spaghetti Squash: A Wonderful, Fun, Healthful Alternative to Pasta

I recommend avoiding pasta and other refined carbohydrates if you are diabetic or are trying to lose weight. You’ll find a perfect substitute in in the produce department of your supermarket: spaghetti squash! You can use it with any of your favorite pasta sauces, in salads or soups. Diana tells you how to prepare it and gives you three simple recipes to get you started. Delight in this fun vegetable even if you’re not dieting (kids like it, too.)

How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash
Method 1 (My way):
Puncture the skin of a spaghetti squash with a knife in 3-4 places. Cook it in the microwave for three minutes, or until it is soft enough to cut easily. Allow it to cool so you can handle it comfortably. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and discard them.

Place squash halves cut-side down on a plate and return them to the microwave for another 8-10 minutes, or bake in a conventional oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool. Run a fork over the flesh to separate it into spaghetti-like strands and scoop them out of the shells.

Method 2 (Squash mark instructions):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Puncture the spaghetti squash with a knife in 3-4 places. Place it on a baking sheet and cook for 1 hour. Allow it to cool so you can handle it comfortably. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Run a fork over the flesh to separate it into spaghetti-like strands and scoop them out of the shells.

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Your “spaghetti” is now ready to use. Top it with any spaghetti sauce or use it in place of pasta in salads or soups. Or try it in these favorite recipes:

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
1 spaghetti squash, cooked (follow the instructions above)
1/2 pound shrimp
3 tablespoons fish sauce (optional, see note)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small hot chile, seeded and sliced very thin
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick slivers
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin

1 cup bean sprouts
Chopped fresh basil or cilantro (optional)
2 tablespoons bottled peanut sauce (optional, see note)
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts (optional)

Prepare the spaghetti squash. Meanwhile, steam the shrimp (15 minutes in the steamer or 2 minutes in boiling water.) Rinse in cold water and peel. Combine the fish sauce, vinegar, garlic, brown sugar and hot chile in a small dish and mix well. Stir it into the spaghetti squash and add the other ingredients — steamed shrimp, red pepper, green onions, bean sprouts and basil or cilantro. Stir in the peanut sauce and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

6-8 servings

Note: Fish sauce and peanut sauce can be found in the Asian section of many supermarkets or in any Asian market.

Spaghetti Squash with Ratatouille Sauce
1 spaghetti squash, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bouillon
1 eggplant, cubed
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, undrained, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
pinch cayenne, or to taste
4 small zucchini squash, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
juice of 1 lemon

Prepare the spaghetti squash. Meanwhile, prepare the ratatouille sauce: In a large pot, cook the onion, peppers and garlic in the bouillon to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally and adding more bouillon if necessary. Add the zucchini, basil and lemon juice and simmer another 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender but still bright green.

Place some of the cooked spaghetti squash strands in each serving bowl and top with the ratatouille sauce.

6-8 servings

Confetti Salad
1 spaghetti squash, cooked
1 large green pepper, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For the dressing, mix together:
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon hot Chinese mustard or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
1 tablespoon sugar or equivalent sweetener of your choice (optional)
dash Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, to taste

OR use 1/4 cup low stout honey-mustard dressing

Prepare the spaghetti squash. Combine with the remaining ingredients and toss with dressing. Chill or seerve at room temperature.

4-6 servings

For more spaghetti squash recipes, hundreds of other healthful recipes and weight loss tips, visit drmirkin.com DrMirkin.com

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at drmirkin.com DrMirkin.com

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