Swap pasta with spaghetti squash for fewer carbohydrates, calories

As promised, here’s the second recipe in the three-part series of ways to re-create some of our favorite dishes by substituting healthier ingredients. Last week, we made applesauce brownies to satisfy those with a sweet tooth, and this week is the carb-lover’s dream: spaghetti. In this recipe, we swap pasta noodles with spaghetti squash, cutting calories and carbs.

*Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce*

Substitute: spaghetti squash for spaghetti noodles

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Overall, this recipe was not difficult to follow; however, I ran into a few problems and had to make a some adjustments. First off, the squash is very difficult to cut in half. Make sure you use a sharp knife and be careful when cutting.

I also had to cook it longer than the recipe stated in order to get it soft enough to shred. When the squash first comes out of the microwave, it is a bit too hot to handle. Other than these minor thing, the recipe went smoothly.

The sauce is traditional, tomato sauce, so no changes there.

The squash “noodles” themselves were a bit bland and were a little more crunchy than regular spaghetti. Once the sauce was added, however, they tasted delicious. The squash absorbed the flavor of the sauce well. I would definitely recommend them as a substitute for original spaghetti noodles and would make this dish again in place of original spaghetti.

By substituting squash for noodles, diners get a low-calorie vegetable serving rather than starch, said Linda Garrow, food science, health and nutrition teaching associate.

“Spaghetti squash naturally forms into spaghetti-ike strands once cooked,” Garrow said. “Of course they taste different, but it is delicious.”

If you are a true spaghetti lover, I’m not sure if these “noodles” will cut it. For those looking for a healthier substitute, spaghetti squash is it.

One cup of spaghetti squash is 32 calories, whereas one cup of spaghetti noodles is 221 calories. This recipe will serve at least four people. An average serving is 130 calories.

*Recipe: makes 4 servings*

***Note: Calories may vary depending on the marinara sauce used.

*Ingredients:*

½ cup chopped onions (29 calories)

1 cup mushrooms (42 calories)

1 cup bell peppers (40 calories)

2 cups marinara sauce (280 calories)

1 spaghetti squash

Basil

Oregano

*Directions:*

Spray a small frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and saute the onions, mushrooms and peppers together.

Drain if needed and add to the marinara sauce (which should already be cooking in a pan). Let simmer and mix together. Add oregano and basil for taste.

Cut the squash in half (lengthwise) and scoop out the seeds (and the stringy pieces around them).

Cover the squash with plastic wrap and put it in the microwave for about five minutes or until soft (I ended up putting it in for about 10 minutes and letting it sit after cooking for about three minutes).

Shred the squash into a bowl with a fork so it looks like spaghetti.

Note: you can only cook half of the squash at a time, but you do use both halves.

Serve your “spaghetti” hot, topped with your sauce mixture.

Adapted from “livewellnetwork.com”:http://livewellnetwork.com/Live-Big-with-Ali-Vincent/recipes/Spaghetti-Squash-with-Tomato-Sauce/8326163.

Check back next week for the final recipe in our three-part series: mashed potatoes made with cauliflower.

Julia is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]