Food Adventures: Spaghetti Squash Is No Pasta

I have been pretty good with my goal of trying one new food a week, although I haven’t been writing about them. I started a post about brussel sprouts, but even I was bored as I wrote  it so I figured it wasn’t worth sharing. This past week I tried spaghetti squash, and I think it’s worthy of some commentary.

To sum up my feelings on spaghetti squash, I would say it was a huge waste of my time.

Top things I didn’t like about spaghetti squash:

Difficult to cut in half and dangerous. As a person that is prone to kitchen accidents, I tend to avoid hacking into anything with a large knife. I was not able to cut into the spaghetti squash. I had to ask my husband for help and he still had to hack into it swiftly and strongly with a meat cleaver. Perhaps we don’t own the right tool for this job, or simply didn’t know what we were doing, but I am still calling it strike one against the squash.

Time Consuming. The squash took 40 minutes in the oven to cook, and I think mine was a little undercooked. It was a large squash, so I should have bumped it up to at least 50 minutes, but to me that’s a long time to cook one ingredient of an overall meal. I knew this going in, and upon reflection it was aggressive of me to plan this meal on a Monday night after a day of work and then my evening workout. I wasn’t even starting my meal prep until after 7PM. I don’t blame the spaghetti squash for my poor planning, but it’s not an ingredient that will ever become part of my weekly meal rotation due to the huge time suck.

Messy. I used a recipe I found online for a spaghetti squash chow mein, and I added chicken to it to round out the meal. As a side note and to give the recipe due credit, it was very tasty. But, between the pan to cook the spaghetti squash in the oven, the pan to cook the chicken, the stove top skillet for the veggies and final mixing of all ingredients, the sauce mixing bowl, and the cutting board, the mess really added up. I also had bits of squash flying all over the place as I was scraping the squash to make the spaghetti strands. I am sure this was my own fault for rushing and slightly under-cooking the squash, but regardless, the kitchen was a disaster.

squash3

Not Filling. This is my biggest issue with the spaghetti squash. The meal was very tasty, and I would have considered tackling everything over again at some point, but the fact is I went to bed feeling hungry. At a minimum, with the time investment, mess and risk of injury, I at least wanted to feel satisfied and full. If it was a tasty and filling meal, I could disregard all my other issues.

My first thought when I went to bed hungry that night was I didn’t eat enough. I had enough of a portion leftover for a decent size lunch the next day, which I ate around 1-2PM with a Greek yogurt. By 6PM, I was starving again, so that blew my portion theory unless I was suppose to eat the entire pan in one sitting.

squash 1

I had told my best friend, who happens to be a registered dietician, about my spaghetti squash issues. Her solution for my hunger problem was to add a starch to the meal. She commented that the meal would have gone great with rice. True, but this confused me. My first reaction was making rice would have added ANOTHER pan to my mess. But more importantly, I bought spaghetti squash because I thought it was a substitute for pasta. I easily could have made this meal with pasta and saved a lot of time and frustration, but I was trying to be healthy and save on calories. If I need to make rice to feel full, then why not just use some wheat pasta and skip the squash altogether? The meal already had a lot of other vegetables. She told me that people substitute spaghetti squash for pasta in the same way they substitute cauliflower for mashed potatoes. They are non-starchy vegetables and low in calories, but they aren’t going to make you feel full.

She suggested next time to just use it as a vegetable side dish. Well, that was it for me and the spaghetti squash. I’m not putting in all that work for a side dish. Since I made it, I also talked to a friend of mine who is a vegetarian and she seemed quite appalled by my negative feelings towards the spaghetti squash. She indicated I should give it another chance. Spaghetti squash apparently has a following out there. People seem to love it, so maybe I am in the minority.

Well, I love the idea of it, but it’s just not my thing. Big disappointment!

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