With many people embracing the gluten-free trend and no-grain lifestyle, “vegetarian pastas” are becoming all the rage nowadays. This is great because highly processed grain products, like conventional, ready-to-cook pasta and wheat noodles, can drive up your insulin levels, since they convert to sugar in your body.
You’ve probably heard of zucchini as a wonderful pasta alternative because of its al dente, noodle-like texture, but did you know that you can use another type of vegetable to satisfy your pasta craving? Get to know more about spaghetti squash, its many health benefits and how to cook it properly.
The Origins of Spaghetti Squash
A popular variety of winter squash, spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a long, oblong-shaped yellow vegetable that can measure anywhere between 8 to 14 inches long.
It is named as such simply because when cooked, the flesh (which is pale yellow) separates into thin, spaghetti-like strands. It’s also called vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, vegetable marrow and even “squaghetti.”1
Unlike other squash varieties, which were originally cultivated in the Americas, spaghetti squash’s origins can be traced to Asia, specifically China.
It eventually made its way to the United States in 1936, and during World War II, Americans planted spaghetti squash in their victory gardens. However, this vegetable only became highly popular in the late 20th century.2
When cooked, spaghetti squash has a mild flavor that can complement or absorb the flavors of the other ingredients it’s cooked with. Aside from being a pasta alternative, this vegetable can also be sautéed or added to bakes, gratins or casseroles.3