Spaghetti squash is a winter squash that behaves curiously: Once cooked, it pulls apart in long strands that resemble pasta. Some like to use it just as they would pasta, topping it with any typical pasta sauce. It’s also delicious simply tossed with butter, grated Parmesan, and plenty of salt and pepper. Here are some more creative ways to use it.

rebs cuts a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoops out the seeds and gunk inside, and puts honey, grated fresh ginger, butter, salt, and pepper into the cavities of both halves, then bakes them directly on the oven rack at 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flesh yields easily to a fork. Let the squash rest until the exterior is cool enough to handle, then scoop it all out into a bowl with a fork and toss together; adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve.

foxy fairy makes a casserole from baked spaghetti squash, based on a recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. While the squash bakes, sauté chopped onion, leek, or shallot, 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves, some sliced mushrooms, and some fresh herbs (sage is nice, or basil and parsley). If you like, add a few chopped plum tomatoes and let them cook down so their juices evaporate. Mix the sautéed vegetables with the spaghetti squash strands, 1 cup each of shredded mozzarella and ricotta cheese, and 1/2 to 1 cup breadcrumbs. Spread the mixture in a casserole dish and top with grated Parmesan. Bake at 375°F until heated through and toasty on top, about 35 minutes.

Amy_C makes a cold spaghetti squash salad dressed with green onions and sesame oil: Steam halved and seeded spaghetti squash until a knife inserted still meets a bit of resistance (you don’t want the squash too soft). Scoop the flesh out, keeping the strands as long as possible, and drop it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and crisp it up a little. Break any chunks into individual strands, then take the squash by handfuls and squeeze all the water out. Set it aside in a bowl. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté some chopped green onions in a bit of vegetable oil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the squash, and toss with the oil. Add a pinch or two of sugar, sesame oil, and salt to taste, and toss again. Chill and serve cold.

thursday says that, surprisingly, spaghetti squash makes a good low-fat, low-carb sub for shredded coconut in baked goods. You make an almost complete swap in batter-based recipes, adding a teaspoon or so of coconut extract, and can barely tell the difference because they have similar consistencies, she asserts.

Board Link: What are some ways to cook spaghetti squash? savory or sweet

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