Katherine Farbe | 3/22/2014 12:34:03 AM
Glancing at the two words above, one may think that I’m attempting to debut an innovative new health dish; however, what I’m about to share may positively change the way you eat your most favorite dishes forever! Spaghetti squash, or Curcubita pepo, is a variation of winter squash that has a spaghetti noodle-like consistency. In order to grow your own spaghetti squash, you will need full sunlight and loose, fertile soil. Now is actually the perfect time in the Louisiana climate to begin planting your seeds as our last winter freeze is said to have passed. If you are starting from a squash transplant, you want to aim for approximately 2 weeks after the last frost to ground your plant. Spaghetti squash can be found pretty regularly in the supermarkets but if you’re looking for locally grown, you should check out the farmer’s market between the months of June and September.
Now let’s get to the nutritional component of consuming spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash is an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. It is also a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese. So what does this mean in terms of health benefits?
-Reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers
-Promotes healthy cell functioning
-Prevents cell damage
-Helps to lower blood pressure
-Promotes proper brain functioning
-Has anti-inflammatory properties
-Promotes a healthy weight
Something that is special about this particular vegetable is that it can serve as a nutrient packed alternative to regular pasta. It has a similar consistency and taste to regular pasta while providing your body with copious amounts of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. To prepare, start by cutting the squash in half, lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and pulp.
-Bake with the rind side up for 30 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
-Microwave for 6 to 8 minutes.
-Boil for about 20 minutes.
After the cooking portion is complete, you can separate the strands by raking a fork from stem to stem.
You can enjoy your spaghetti squash in the same fashion you would any pasta. Spaghetti and meatballs and Fettuccini Alfredo are two I would recommend testing out!
Self Nutrition Data
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture