We might be heading into the end of squash season but if you’re anything like me, you might still have some squash hanging out on your counter that you eye up but aren’t quite sure what to do with it. While the traditional squash varieties have their spin in the spotlight, one of my favorite varieties that can sometimes be overlooked is the humble spaghetti squash.
If you compare the squash varieties to a family, then spaghetti squash would be that crazy uncle that no one really talks about. Where most of the squash varieties have a smoother texture once they’re cooked and pureed, spaghetti squash shines as a replacement for noodles for those looking to lower their carbohydrate intake. Recognized as a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, B-vitamins, manganese, and potassium, 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash boosts a mere 42 calories, 2.2 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of carbohydrates compared to 29 grams in one cup of whole wheat cooked pasta. In comparison with butternut squash, 1 cup of butternut squash contains 21.5 grams of carbohydrates and double the amount of calories.
The stringy texture of spaghetti squash lends itself well as a mild and slightly sweet noodle replacement that can carry bolder flavor profiles such as Mexican, Moroccan, and Italian. While cutting and roasting/preparing the squash can be intimidating, I love using my Instant Pot to speed up the roasting process and/or prepping the spaghetti squash beforehand to speed up the supper process once I get home from work.
One of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes is the buffalo chicken recipe I’m sharing; it stands in as a solid stand-in for those buffalo chicken wing cravings that seem to strike around football season (or really any time of the year!). Give it a try for this week’s Vikings game and let me know what you think!
Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash
- 2 medium spaghetti squash (6-7 inches long)
- 2 cups cooked shredded chicken*
- 1 cup freshly grated cheddar and/or mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- 2 TBSP melted butter
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 jalapeno, diced (seeds, stem, + veins removed)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion (divided)
- salt and pepper to taste
- ranch or blue cheese dressing for drizzling (optional)
- extra grated cheese for topping
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds; place foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet and rub a small amount of olive oil on the cut side of your squash before placing it down on the sheet.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of your squash, and the exterior of the squash will be visibly softened.
- While the squash roast, cook chicken using your favorite method and shred chicken into a medium bowl; combine with cheese (I used cheddar and mozzarella), hot sauce, melted butter, Greek yogurt, jalapeño, green onion, salt, and pepper.
- Using a fork, scrape the spaghetti squash bowls to release the strands of squash and mix with your cheesy buffalo chicken mixture.
- Top each squash with a little extra cheese and place face-up on your baking sheet. Cover the baking dish in foil, leaving a little room at the top (like a tent) so the cheese doesn’t stick.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. For golden bubbly cheese, remove the foil at the end, then change oven setting to broil on high and broil for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped green onion, a drizzle of your favorite dressing, and even extra hot sauce!
NOTE: The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for a few days if you’d like to meal prep and plan ahead for a quicker dinner. You can also meal prep one weekend and pop it in the fridge until about 30 minutes before dinnertime. Leftovers? It reheats well the next day!
Spaghetti Squash has also been a star in one of our Be Well Bites videos! Head over to our Diabetes and Nutrition page to watch the video and take a look at the other simple, healthy snacks as prepared by a Registered Dietitian.
By Amber Hughes, Community Wellness Coordinator