SPAGHETTI SQUASH – THE MIGHTY WINTER SQUASH!

I recently read an article in bon appetite where the author clearly did not like spaghetti squash – his article entitled “5 Creative Ways to Cook with Spaghetti Squash” involved deep fat frying it and frittering it (also in deep fat fryer).  He even stated that spaghetti squash had a “blah” flavor and that his favorite was acorn squash.  So why did he write the article?

I find spaghetti squash to be a super food that most people seldom, if ever eat!

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Spaghetti squash, a type of winter squash, gets its name from the pale-yellow flesh that can be fluffed into stringy, pasta-like threads. It has a very mild flavor and, unlike other winter squash, does not have much sweetness. So you can use spaghetti squash in both savory and sweet dishes. Consider eating it warm, topped with pasta sauce or tossed with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs, or serve it chilled with sun-dried red peppers, olives and feta cheese.

Calories and Fat

Most varieties of winter squash contain almost twice the calories per serving of spaghetti squash, which has only 42 calories per cup.  It’s also very low in fat, with less than 0.5 grams of fat per cup. (So why would you deep fat fry it?)  Spaghetti squash contains about 92 percent water by weight, which may account for its lack of calories. These qualities make spaghetti squash a good choice for weight-loss or weight-management plans. It will fill you up without adding a lot of calories or fat to your daily total.

Carbohydrates

Spaghetti squash also fits well into a low-carb or diabetes meal plan. It contains only 10 grams of total carbohydrates per cup, whereas most types of winter squash have at least 18 grams. Of the total, 4 grams come from natural sugar in the squash, and 2 grams come from dietary fiber. Eating a diet rich in fiber may regulate digestion, reduce constipation, lower your cholesterol and help you manage your weight.

Vitamins

You’ll get small amounts of almost every essential vitamin from eating spaghetti squash. Vitamin C and vitamin B-6 are the vitamins found in highest concentration in the squash. Vitamin C plays a role in the growth and repair of body proteins, aids in wound healing and supports your immune system. It’s also an antioxidant that helps defend your body against harmful free radicals. Vitamin B-6 is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in your body, including energy metabolism and hemoglobin production.  The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content.

Minerals

Every essential mineral is found in trace amounts in the flesh of spaghetti squash. The mineral potassium plays a part in building muscle, metabolizing carbohydrates and maintaining proper muscle function in your body. It also functions as an electrolyte, helping to regulate fluid balance and the acidity, or pH, of your blood. Replacing electrolytes is essential any time you sweat heavily or lose body fluids. Without enough potassium you may experience weak muscles, an abnormal heart rhythm or an elevated blood pressure. Spaghetti squash also contains the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium.

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Ingredients

Servings: 4

I think I would add some black beans that have been drained and well rinsed!

  • Pierce squash all over with a knife to vent. Place on microwavable plate and cover with waxed paper.  Microwave on high 5 minutes.  Turn squash over and microwave on high about another 5 minutes until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife.
  • Let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh with a fork to remove in long strands. Spread out on paper towels to drain, then transfer to a bowl and chill until cold.
  • Just before serving, whisk lime juice and ranch dressing in a large bowl. Add chilled squash, avocado, cucumber, and chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with basil or parsley leaves.
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