butternut squash noodles with spinach and ricotta

If zoodles are summer’s hottest food swap, spaghetti squash is the autumnal version—no spiralizer required! Filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and even a bit of protein, it’s the perfect vessel for creating nutritious and cozy dinners you feel great about eating. Take a trip around the globe with these internationally inspired spaghetti squash dishes.

Italy

Ditch this squash’s namesake and use its stringy innards in place of pasta. “I love to Italianize spaghetti squash. One of my favorite ways to prepare it is to split it in half, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast it in the oven. Then I fluff it up with a fork and finish it in a pan with marinara sauce, meatballs, and grated parmigiana,” says Stratos Georgedakis, chef at Lincoln Square Steak in New York City.

For those who still love good ol’ butter noodles, try roasting spaghetti squash, then coat with butter and cheese and toast it on the grill to achieve a little crispiness, says Sal Scognamillo, chef at Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in New York City.

Middle East

Mimic a pilaf by giving spaghetti squash the Persian treatment. “Roast it, then add a drizzle of saffron water, plenty of lemon juice, and toss with browned onions, toasted walnuts, and sautéed dried fruits like apricots or raisins,” says Naz Deravian, author of Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories. Serve alone or alongside grilled lamb, beef, or chicken.

saffron squash risotto

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France

We thought a steaming, cheese cloaked bowl of French onion soup was decadent … until we learned that spaghetti squash French onion soup casserole was a thing. “The bold flavor you get from the onions and broth and the satisfying bite of cheese mixed with the squash is the absolute perfect combination of flavors,” says Olivier Palazzo, chef at Le Song in New York City. Cut the squash in half and bake both halves face down. After it softens, pull apart strands with a fork, add cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup, beef broth, salt and pepper, caramelized onions, and parsley.

Asia

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Use spaghetti squash in your favorite Asian noodle dishes. Sauté with veggies, a protein, plenty of onions, garlic, and ginger, and a hint of soy sauce for a noodle-free lo mein. Or, do the same thing but serve with a peanut sauce as a nod to pad thai. “Spaghetti squash is really the perfect choice to create healthier versions of traditional Asian dishes,” says Mike Morales, executive
chef at Sunda in Nashville, Tennessee.

You can also whip up your favorite stir fry medley and serve it over a mound of roasted spaghetti squash instead of rice, or use the squash to sop up a big bowl of Thai or Indian curry.

Mexico

“Skip the tortillas—spaghetti squash is fantastic in baked layered enchilada-style dishes,” says Ariel Fox, concept executive chef at Dos Caminos in New York City and on the latest season of Hell’s Kitchen on Fox.

It’s also a great base for a taco bowl. “One of my favorite home meals is spaghetti squash topped with seasoned ground turkey, black beans, shaved serrano chilis, chopped tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and salsa verde,” Fox says.

Greece

Make your own meze plate with spaghetti squash instead of pita as the star. Roast it and lightly season with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then serve alongside things like hummus, tzatziki, falafel, and fresh veggies like tomato and cucumber.

You can also make a Greek-inspired “pasta” by tossing the squash with a garlicky tomato sauce, whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, some feta, and a couple croutons, suggests Brian Riggenbach, partner and executive chef at The Mockingbird in Nashville, Tennessee.

Related Video: How to Make Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi

Header image courtesy of Running To The Kitchen.

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