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Cooked spaghetti squash flesh breaks into long, thin, tender strands, like spaghetti. The light, mild taste pairs well with standard pasta sauces, such as pesto and marinara. Cooking the squash in the microwave significantly lowers the cooking time, as oven roasting a squash can take 30 to 40 minutes.

Prepping the Squash

Wash the outside of the squash to remove any bits of dirt or debris. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the dark orange strands and seeds in the center of the squash. Save the seeds to roast in the oven for a nutritious snack. Stab the outside of the squash multiple times with a fork to prevent the squash from bursting in the microwave.

Cooking and Doneness

To prevent it from drying out in the microwave, sprinkle the flesh of the squash with water. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Microwave the squash on high for 10 to 12 minutes, testing for doneness every couple of minutes after the first 10 minutes. Rotate the squash halfway through microwaving to ensure even cooking. The squash is ready when it is soft to the touch and the flesh can be easily scooped out with a spoon. Overcooking the squash in the microwave leads to dried out, browned flesh. To speed up the cooking process, partially cover the squash with a microwave safe cover, such as a ceramic or glass bowl. This also helps prevent the flesh from drying out.

Shredding the Squash

Take the squash out of the microwave using a pair of oven mitts. Scrape out the strands of squash with a fork. Starting at the top of the cut flesh, pull the tines down to produce tender, warm strands of squash. The squash releases steam as you break apart the flesh, so be careful not to scald yourself. Store the shredded squash in a food-safe container, covered, in the fridge for one week. If desired, freeze the squash for up to 2 months, or dress it and eat it immediately.

Making It a Meal

Treat spaghetti squash strands as you would spaghetti noodles. Toss your squash noodles with pesto or marinara sauce, coating individual strands. Warm the squash pasta with sauce in the microwave for a quick and simple meal. Or add leftover stir-fry to spaghetti squash noodles, using the squash in place of traditional Asian noodles. When heating in the microwave, rotate your food every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Use a microwave-safe lid to cover your food to reduce food splatter and to keep your squash noodles and sauce moist.

About the Author

Rachel Benson

Rachel has worked professionally as a chef and writer on food since 2010. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree, she holds a diploma in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute. She has an active interest in wine, fine dining and sustainable agriculture.