It’s been staying relatively cool on the West Coast so I’ve been busy in the kitchen cooking up some amazing pasta recipesover the past month. Now that it looks like warmer weather may be arriving soon, it’s time to switch gears and start cutting a few carbs along the way.

Normally I’d be unhappy about decreasing the amount of pasta in my diet, because as far as comfort food goes, you just can’t go wrong with a pasta recipe. But I like my shorts, and I don’t want to wear a winter jacket in June, so it was time to check out a few pasta substitutions.

Welcome to my life spaghetti squash! Actually, I’ve been creating spaghetti squash recipes for quite some time now. When I discovered how the golden squash will turn into noodlelike strands when you bake it, we were off to the races. It has a light flavor, so it basically blends in well with whatever sauce you’ve picked for it.

What I didn’t realize when I first started preparing spaghetti squash was how many spaghetti squash recipes are out there. If you want to go simple just bake it and add some pasta sauce or Parmesan cheese. For something a little more complex, try these delicious spaghetti squash recipes:

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs  

A classic dish made even more delicious with the addition of spaghetti squash. If you want to really cut calories, substitute the ground beef and ground pork for ground turkey.

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 28 -ounce cans tomato puree
2 large sprigs basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle the cut sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then brush both sides with olive oil. Put the squash, cut-side up, in a baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast 20 minutes, then uncover and continue roasting until the squash is tender, about 35 more minutes.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Pulse the celery, carrot, onion, garlic and parsley in a food processor to make a paste. Transfer half of the vegetable paste to a bowl; add the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, 1 cup parmesan and 1 teaspoon salt and mix with your hands until just combined. Form into about 24 two-inch meatballs; transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm but not cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Make the sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining vegetable paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it looks dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree; rinse each can with 1 cup water and add to the pot. Stir in the basil, oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, then add the meatballs and simmer until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the basil.

Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash flesh into strands; transfer to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan. Season with salt. Divide the squash among bowls and top each with some meatballs, sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan.

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Shrimp

Marth Stewart knows how to cook up a spaghetti squash. The addition of shrimp makes it taste like something you’d find in an exclusive resturant. It’s so good you won’t believe you’re counting carbs.

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds), halved lengthwise

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season squash with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add 3/4-cup water and roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss shrimp with 1-teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Scoop out seeds from squash and discard. With a fork, scrape flesh into a large bowl. Add shrimp and any cooking juices, lemon juice, and 1-tablespoon oil; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, top with parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.

Spaghetti Squash with Herb Butter

From the kitchens of Canadian Living. This recipe is light, easy to make, and works for those dinners when you don’t have a lot of time but you’re absolutely starving.

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, (3 lb/1.5 kg)

1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Herb Butter:

3 tbsp (45 mL) butter

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh sage or fresh basil or fresh parsley

1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

 

Directions

Halve and seed squash. Place, cut side down, on lightly greased baking sheet; bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for about 1 hour or until flesh is easily pierced. (Alternatively, microwave, flesh side up and covered with plastic wrap, at High for 15 minutes or until easily pierced.) Using fork, gently scrape cooked strands from squash; transfer to large bowl.

Herb Butter: Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat; add garlic and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until garlic starts to turn golden. Remove from heat; stir in sage and pepper. Pour over squash; add cheese and toss.


A chef is only as good as his or her tools, so be sure to check out a few of these great kitchen tools I use to create spaghetti squash recipes:

 
It’s easy to cook up spaghetti squash with the Tannex Casserole Dish

 
You might not be eating real pasta but you can trick yourself into thinking you are with the Rosanna Italian Pasta Serving Bowl

 
Steam your spaghetti squash right on your counter with the Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer