As a mum, I always struggle to get my kids to eat any vegetables, but spaghetti is something they love.
Imagine my delight when I found spaghetti squash. A fruit that when its flesh is cooked, comes away as ribbons or strands that look like spaghetti.
This nutritious fruit, packed with loads of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, is a treat that everyone in the family will love.
Due to the neutral flavours, this gluten-free alternative, can be dressed with whatever sauce you fancy. I often make it with this lentil bolognese sauce.
Apart from the added health benefits, spaghetti squash is yummy, easy to make, cheap, and can be made ahead of time or in large quantities.
But if you make it in large quantities or ahead of time can you freeze spaghetti squash? The answer is yes, you can freeze spaghetti squash. The test and quality of the spaghetti when defrosted and reheated will depend on the quality of the fruit that you selected when you cooked it. That is why you want to get something that feels firm, heavy, and hollow, not something that is bruised or has soft spots, cracks, or any parts damaged.
I bet right about now you are wondering, is spaghetti squash the same as butternut squash? How do I make spaghetti squash? How do I reheat it? And will it keep its flavour after it has been reheated? Don’t worry, keep on reading to find out all the answers to your questions.
What Is Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash, also known as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, vegetable marrow, spaghetti marrow, and spaghetti, is a type of winter squash, that is from the same family as acorn, butternut, delicata, and buttercup squash.
The oval, hard, big, and yellow fruit, has a solid skin when uncooked, similar to other squash. However, when cooked, the inside meat of the fruit comes out as ribbons or strands, they look very much like angel hair pasta.
In the center, you will find a number of large seeds. These are delicious and nutritious. So make sure you roast them to create the perfect snack.
Even though we treat spaghetti squash as a vegetable, the fact that it has seeds; botanically this cucurbita is considered a fruit.
Spaghetti squash grows on a vine that creeps around the ground, and it is harvested in the winter, particularly in early fall through to late spring.
Is Spaghetti Squash and Butternut Squash The Same Thing?
Is spaghetti squash and butternut squash the same thing? No, they are two different fruits. Although spaghetti squash and butternut squash are both winter squashes, they feel different, taste different, and are used differently.
Spaghetti squash is oval and has a variety of colours with bright yellow being the most common type. Spaghetti squash has a stringy texture and its flavour is fairly neutral, perfect to add to that delicious homemade spaghetti sauce.
Butternut squash on the other hand is bell-like in shape. Its colors range from yellow to tan, and it tastes rather creamy and sweet. Perfect to use as a side dish.
Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
As a working mum with two young kids. I love making this dish in large quantities and freezing it. This way I know I have a meal prepared for those Friday nights when everyone is exhausted from the busy week.
While you can freeze uncooked spaghetti squash I wouldn’t recommend it. For one it can take a while to defrost. This is largely because you will have to freeze the whole of the squash. If you cut this fruit into cubes - as you would with a pumpkin or butternut squash, you will lose the possibility of getting the strings out of the fruit. Furthermore, the end product will not be the same as the fruit will lose some flavor.
This is why I always prefer to freeze cooked spaghetti squash. This way it is ready and waiting for me when I need it. Just make sure you pat dry the spaghetti before you freeze it. If your strings have high water content before they are frozen, they will have even more water when you defrost it, potentially causing it to become soggy and mushy in the re-heating process.
Also, ensure your spaghetti squash is fully cooled before you freeze it. If you put it into your container even slightly warm, this will create moisture inside the container, which in turn will transfer into your spaghetti, increasing its water content. Not what you want!
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash?
There are four steps to get your delicious spaghetti ready and on the table!
Step 1 - Cut the fruit:
This is one of the most difficult parts when cooking spaghetti squash, as it is very hard and it rolls easily.
There are three options for this:
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise not horizontally.
- Microwave the fruit for a few seconds to soften it. This fruit can be hard to cut unless you have some super sharp knives. If however, your knives are anything like mine, blunt!, the easiest way to cut this fruit is by softening it. If you decide to experiment with this option, pierce the outside of the spaghetti squash with a fork several times, then put it whole in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, and voila your spaghetti squash is now easy to cut. Do not put it for longer or you may end up cooking it.
- Place it in the oven whole. I have spoken to other people that suggest simply putting the whole of the squash in the oven for approximately an hour at 4000 f (2000 C). I have never tried this option as I prefer to season my squash before I roast them. I feel the seasoning brings the flavor of the fruit much nicer if it is applied before roasting, than after roasting them. This is a personal preference, but If you try this method do let us know in the comments below if it worked for you.
Note: if you decide to soften the winter squash in the microwave before cutting it, or if you prefer to bake it whole, ensure you pierce the squash several times, or it will explode.
Step 2 - Deseed the fruit:
Remove the seeds from the squash before placing it in the oven, but make sure you do not throw them away. Like pumpkin seeds, the spaghetti squash seeds are full of great vitamins and make for a great snack, so make sure you roast them.
Step 3 - Cook the fruit:
There are two ways to cook your spaghetti squash. In the microwave and in the oven.
In The Microwave
If you are cooking it in the microwave make sure you pierce the skin as mentioned above in step 1, unless you cut it first, then place it in the microwave for approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
As spaghetti squashes come in different sizes, and microwaves cook at different speeds, the above is only a rough guideline. To ensure you do not overcook your squash, put it in for 5 minutes and check it. If further heat is needed, put it back and heat it in 2 minutes increments checking every time.
In The Oven
If you are cooking it in the oven you have two options: baking it whole or cutting it in half before baking.
If you decide to place it in the oven as a whole, follow the above guidelines in step one.
If however, you decide to cut it and then roast it, I would suggest you add a drizzle of olive oil in each half, and then season your halves with salt, paper, and any dry herbs you may like. I love thyme. Then, place your halves cut-side-down on a cookie sheet and bake it at 425 °F (218 °C) for about an hour.
Personally this is the way I make mine. I love the sweet and nutty caramelization flavour this method brings to my spaghetti.
Sure the microwave is much faster, but nothing can beat the delicious flavour of a seasoned baked squash.
Step 4 - Make your spaghetti:
Once the squash is baked or cooked in the microwave, take it out and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.
Then forked out the strands and you have your delicious spaghetti.
How To Reheat Frozen Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash can be reheated in many different ways: The microwave, the stove top, the steamer, and even the skillet.
In The Microwave
This is without a doubt the quickest way to have your dinner on the table, and you do not need to have the spaghetti fully thawed before placing it in the microwave.
Place your spaghetti squash in a microwave safe dish, drizzle some olive oil (salt and pepper if need it. If you baked it with salt and pepper in the first place, you may not need more seasoning), partially cover it, and heat it on high for approximately 45 seconds. Stir it and check that it has been warmed up. If it needs further heating, put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
Please note that if you do not drizzle some olive oil, or if you do not cover the spaghetti squash before placing it in the microwave, the strings may become dry and/or burn.
On The Stove Top
This is another option that does not require that the spaghetti squash is defrosted before reheating it. Perfect for those days when you forget to take something out of the freezer in the morning!
To reheat the spaghetti squash on the stove top, place some water in a heavy bottom saucepan. Let the water boil before you add the spaghetti squash. Turn the heat down and let the squash in the simmering water for approximately 7 minutes, or until it is completely heated through.
Keep an eye on your spaghetti. You do not want to overcook it, or it will become soggy and mushy.
In A Steamer
This option, like cooking the spaghetti on the stove top, will not burn or dry the strings. But you do need to completely defrost the spaghetti squash before you put it in the steamer.
Place your spaghetti squash in the steamer for approximately 5 minutes or until it is thoroughly warmed. Just be careful not to do it for too long or the string will become soggy and mushy.
In The Skillet / Frying Pan
This option also requires that the spaghetti squash is fully thawed before frying it.
To ensure your spaghetti doesn’t become a mushy mess, pat dry the strings as much as possible. The more moisture you can remove the better.
Once the strings are dry, add approximately a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. spread the spaghetti around, to form a thin layer in the pan, and fry it on low to medium heat.
This option is delicious and personally, I love it. But the strings do become crispy thus it is not for everyone. My kids do not like it this way!
Does Frozen Spaghetti Squash Taste The Same As Fresh?
In my opinion, the taste doesn’t change at all from cooked fresh spaghetti when reheated. My kids, who are very fussy eaters, have never noticed the difference either.
However, do make sure when you cook your spaghetti squash it is firm, heavy and hollow, and not bruised, with soft spots, cracks or damaged in any way. This way you will freeze quality spaghetti that will taste delicious when defrosted.
Spaghetti squash is a delicious and nutritious alternative to pasta that can be paired with any sauce you want.
As preparing this spaghetti can take some time, preparing them ahead of time and freezing them is a great alternative to ensure you have a delicious meal on the table in only minutes. Perfect for those long winter weeks.