Is Spaghetti Squash Keto Friendly?

If you’re on the keto diet, then you’re probably on the prowl for the best and tastiest food concoctions that won’t put you over your carb limit nor kick you out of ketosis.

Heard of spaghetti squash?

While the word “spaghetti” certainly comes with carb associations, spaghetti squash is not at all the same.

so fear not!

While this type of squash does contain some carbs, it’s still fairly keto-friendly and healthy for you.

Sit tight, in this article…

We’re going to explore the what spaghetti squash is, what you can do with it, and it’s wealth of health benefits!

So What is It?

Spaghetti squash is a vegetable that is harvested in the fall. It got its name due to the fact that when cooked, the insides can be shredded so that they closely resemble angel hair pasta.

These long and thin strands can be used to in many ways, the most popular amongst keto dieters is to use it in a keto-friendly pasta.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, does it really taste like spaghetti? In short, no.

While it can certainly fool you once topped with some tomato sauce and cheese, spaghetti squash is still squash at the end of the day.

The flavor is more on the bland side and does not even have the same sweet and earthy flavor we associate with butternut squash.

With that said (and before you ditch this article), this very quality actually makes it a great foundation for a variety of dishes and meals, such as curry or ragu. You get that nice spaghetti-like texture and the flavors don’t clash.

Turning it into Spaghetti

If you’re looking to get into the kitchen and whip up some dishes with your spaghetti squash, you’ll need to know cook and prepare your squash first.

The fastest way to get this dish cooking is to cut it in half and put each half face-down on a baking dish before popping it into the over. You can sprinkle a little bit of water onto the pan or cover it up in foil to create steam.

This will help keep your squash from drying out while it’s cooking and will also make it nice and tender.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the it in half (lengthwise).
  3. Grab a spoon and scoop out the seeds inside the squash. You can toss the seeds or even roast them to make for a nice, healthy snack.
  4. Once your oven is preheated, place the two squash pieces face-down onto a pan.
  5. Sprinkle some water on top of the pan to add a little steam which will make your squash more tender. This step is optional.
  6. Cook for 35-50 minutes. You can check if it’s ready with a fork. If the fork goes in smoothly, then it’s probably done.
  7. At this point, the squash should easily separate into thin strands. You can also try a bite. If it’s still too hard or crunchy, cook it longer to soften it up more.
  8. Use a fork to gently scrape out the squash’s spaghetti-like flesh, which should separate into strands.
    *spaghetti squash will keep for up to a week when refrigerated, or up to three months when frozen.

Now that your squash is cooked, what next?

Since it has a nice, mild-bland flavor, you don’t really want to eat it on its own. It’s best paired with sauces and rich seasonings.

Compared to regular spaghetti which has 43 g of total carbs (cooked 1 cup), spaghetti squash only has 7 g. So don’t knock it till you try it!

If you need a little inspiration on what you can do with your spaghetti squash once it’s cooked and ready, here are a few great dishes you can make that are keto-friendly:

Keto-Friendly Dishes

Faux Noodles

If you just want a quick and simple snack, toss in some butter and extra virgin olive oil and add in some salt for a light dish.

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Skillet

This is an easy and low carb dish that you and your family will love. All it requires is ground beef, keto-friendly marinara sauce, stringy mozzarella cheese (whole milk) and your spaghetti squash.

You just mix in your beef with sauce like you would any normal spaghetti recipe and then combine with your cooked squash and cheese.

Cheese and Broccoli Casserole

This is another low carb recipe that will kick your carb cravings to the curb, and it doesn’t take much time to whip up.

All you need is steamed broccoli, some sour cream, shredded cheese, garlic powder, egg, and salt and pepper for your casserole base, and then add in your squash and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Garlic and Parsley Squash

This dish will more closely resemble pasta and is super simple to make once you have your cooked squash prepared.

All you do is add soft butter, minced garlic cloves, and minced parsley to give your bland squash a punch of flavor, and you can even top it off with parmesan cheese for more saltiness.

Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

Now you’re probably wondering…

“Squash is healthy, right?” Right you are!

In addition to making a great base for many food concoctions, spaghetti squash also comes with some nice health benefits you can enjoy.

  • Vitamin A—important for our eyesight and keeping a healthy immune [1]
  • Vitamin C— one of many essential vitamins. Promotes healthy teeth and gums. It also helps our bodies absorb iron and heal wounds.
  • Potassium—one of many minerals essential to the body. It has been linked to many health benefits, such as a reduction in blood pressure and water retention [2]
  • Calcium—Plays a major role in the body’s overall health. A big percentage of the population does not meet their calcium needs in their diet3.

Final Thoughts

Overall, spaghetti squash is considered keto-friendly because it’s relatively low in carbs and can be paired with plenty of other keto foods and ingredients to make great dishes. But the key is moderation.

Remember, one cup of spaghetti squash still has 7 g of total carbs, so you don’t want to overdo it!

With that said, enjoy the variety you can experience with this versatile food and all of it’s wonderful health benefits while also cutting down on those carb cravings.

Related:

Is Peanut Butter Keto Friendly?

Is Almond Milk Keto Friendly? A Healthy Substitute for Milk on a Keto Diet

The Top 3 Best Tasting Keto-Friendly Fat Bomb Recipes

Is Hummus Keto Friendly?

References:
[1] Gilbert C. What is vitamin a and why do we need it? Commun. Eye Health. 2013;26:65.
[2] Aburto NJ, Hanson S, Gutierrez H, Hooper L, Elliott P, Cappuccio FP. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ. 2013.
[3] Balk EM, Adam GP, Langberg VN, Earley A, Clark P, Ebeling PR, Mithal A, Rizzoli R, Zerbini CA, Pierroz DD, Dawson-Hughes B International Osteoporosis Foundation Calcium Steering Committee. Global dietary calcium intake among adults: a systematic review. Osteoporos Int. 2017;28:3315–3324.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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