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We love spaghetti squash. But we’ve always had it the same way–smothered in meat sauce because we are carnivores. This time we decided (since there was a chicken in the oven) to make it as a side dish with some southwestern flair. It was very good. And very easy–once the squash was shredded!

Recipe for spaghetti squash

If you look on the internet for how to cook spaghetti squash, you will often see “slice squash in half and remove the seeds”. These are recipes written by people who have not prepared the bricks known as spaghetti squash. Here’s how I do it fast: Stick the whole squash in the microwave for 2.5 minutes. This will soften the skin enough to allow you to pierce the skin with a knife so the steam has room to escape. Otherwise, it will explode in your microwave. Once the skin is pierced, cook it for another 10 minutes and check to see if you can poke a knife all the way in easily. If yes, it’s done. If not, cook for another couple of minutes and check again. 

When it’s done, remove from microwave and holding the squash with a hot pad, shred the insides of the squash with a big fork to make “spaghetti”. Then let it cool a bit while you open some cans.

Turn the oven to 350 and spray a good-sized casserole with Pam. Open tomatoes and drain juice. Open beans and rinse and drain. Dump both of these into your casserole and add garlic and spices and cheese. Stir. Then add your spaghetti squash shreds. By this time the shell of the squash should be cooled enough to handle with a hot pad, so hold it up and scrape out the rest of the spaghetti and then toss the shell in the trash.

Stir all of it together and sprinkle more cheese on top. Stick it in the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. It’s a terrific side dish. We had it with the Parmesan Baked Chicken.

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