For a simple way to increase the amount of veggies in your diet, skip the pasta and use spaghetti squash instead. A one-cup serving of this unique squash has only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbs. For comparison, whole-wheat spaghetti has 176 calories and 37.7 grams of carbs — that's a huge difference! Not sure how to make this squash resemble pasta? It's easy!
To cook up a spaghetti squash, cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and bake it, flesh side down, at 350°F for 30 minutes or until you can pierce it with a knife with little resistance. Short on time? Throw the whole thing in a Crock Pot on low heat and it'll be ready in six hours. Using a fork, pull the strands away from the peel — it naturally looks like noodles. Then try one of these simple recipe ideas.
- Sauté diced onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, one minced clove of garlic, and a handful of chopped fresh basil and top with your favorite sauce or just oil and herbs. Instant low-carb spaghetti! Or opt for a casserole like this cheesy veggie "pasta" bake. Not into red sauce? For another light pasta alternative, toss cooked spaghetti squash with roasted shrimp.
- Bake the same way as above, but this time scoop out the flesh, place it in a bowl, and allow it to cool in the fridge. After 20 minutes, pour the squash flesh onto a cutting board and chop it up a little. Place it in a bowl, and mix in diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lemon juice, olive oil, spices, feta, and olives to make a fun variation on Greek salad.
- Bake, allow to cool, and then marinate spaghetti squash with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and rosemary. Put it on top of your garden salad for a little extra flavor and texture.
- Chop up baked stringy flesh, and season it with cayenne pepper to be used in place of rice in tacos and burritos.
- For a dessert idea, before placing it in the oven to bake cut-side up, sprinkle cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and a drizzle of honey. Top with chopped walnuts, and serve warm.