How to cook spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is almost a staple of the paleo diet and the AIP protocol…  it forms a low-carb, gluten-free, tasty substitute for pasta, and we eat it frequently.  This is a hard-shelled winter squash who’s flesh separates into strands once cooked.

This is how I cook my spaghetti squash:

Take your squash and cut them  in half length-wise.  Scoop out all the seeds (save them to roast as a pumpkin seed substitute if you are not strict AIP – they are a stage 2 reintroduction).  Place the squash, cut-side up on a baking sheet.  I find that 2 large squash will feed the 6 of us, but if they are on the smaller side I need 3 of them…  in this case, these were quite large so I only used 2.

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Some recipes will tell you to put them cut-side down – I prefer to put them cut-side up as I find they stay drier and are less soggy that way.  The cut flesh also tends to caramelize slightly this way as well, which adds more flavour.

Season well with salt and rub with a little coconut oil (or any other fat you prefer) and slide into a pre-heated 190°C/375°F oven and roast for aprox. 1 hour until the flesh is tender and will shred easily with a fork.

Allow the squash to rest for a few minutes until it is a little cooler – this makes it easier to handle.  If you cannot wait, you can hold the squash with a cloth or some oven-mitts however.

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Use the fork to pull the squash flesh into shreds

Place the squash in a bowl and add some extra fat – melted bacon fat or lard tastes wonderful, but you can also use olive oil as it is not being cooked any further.  And if you eat butter, it makes the squash taste wonderful – use it liberally! (Grass-fed butter is an AIP stage 2 reintroduction)

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Season well with salt and serve with the spaghetti sauce of your choice.  If you don’t want to use a sauce, you could simply serve it “as-is” with the fat/butter and seasonings as a side.  Me?  I like to serve it with a sauce….

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In the example above, I served it with a ragu sauce.  Hubby chose to put parmesan over his before taking the picture .

In the picture below, I used 3 small spaghetti squash and I served each of us one half with paleo meatballs in a tomato sauce.  I did not pull the strands of squash out in this case and let everyone shred their own squash as they ate it…  this made life MUCH easier for me as it removed one food-prep stage.

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It made for a very tasty and pretty meal and because it was all contained in the squash shell there was almost no cleanup needed.  EASY PEASY!

Now remember those squash seeds I told you to keep?  What are you going to do with them?

All winter (hard-shell) squash seeds are edible when roasted, so you are going to treat them exactly like you would treat pumpkin seeds.  Roast them in the oven using and you have a tasty, healthy snack.  Just bear in mind that seeds are an AIP stage 2 reintroduction.

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Then again, the ragu sauce and the meatballs in tomato sauce are not 100% AIP either…  Tomatoes and other nightshades are a stage 4 reintroduction.

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