How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Cooked spaghetti squash is a great nutrient dense, gluten-free, lower carb alternative to pasta or rice noodles. There are two great methods how to cook spaghetti squash and we’re giving you all the details you need to know!

Bowl of instant pot spaghetti squashHow to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash noodles are probably the easiest alternative to traditional pasta there is. While it doesn’t taste exactly the same, spaghetti squash is a nutrient-dense, low carb alternative to pasta (whether gluten-free or not). If you can’t eat pasta or noodles for whatever reason, this is a pretty good substitute. It can take the place of almost any noodle dish, ranging from a classic “spaghetti” and meatballs, to a baked Italian “pasta” dish or even as a Pad Thai. Cooking spaghetti squash is so simple, being a mostly hands off cooking task. The hardest part is slicing it in half, so we are giving tips below.

Safe knife skills with spaghetti squash

How to Safely Cut It:

Your best answer to safely cutting a spaghetti squash is to have a large sharp knife, and a flat stead surface to cut it. With one hand, steady the spaghetti squash, and with the other press the knife into the squash before using your weight to leverage the knife through the squash. Once the knife is at least an inch inside the squash use your other hand to push down on the knife until it cuts through the squash entirely.

We cut the squash in two ways:

  1. Crosswise the the middle: This is our preferred method. This way is easier because there is less squash to cut, and you don’t have to go close to the stem. This results in long strings of noodles.
  2. Lengthwise: This method is harder to cut the squash and results in shorter noodles. Don’t try to attempt to cut through the hard stem. Once you’ve cut to that, take the knife out and use your hands to pull apart the spaghetti squash halves.

Still are afraid to cut the squash? You can always cook the squash whole, and cut after it is cooked. It’s obviously much easier to cut after it is soft, but we don’t prefer this method (see below as to why).

Can you Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole?

Yes you can, but this was not our favorite method of cooking it. If you are truly intimidated by cutting a squash, cooking it whole certainly makes it a lot easier to cut, but if you follow the tips above you should be able to safely cut a spaghetti squash. We didn’t like the result of a whole cooked spaghetti squash because it is harder to scoop out the seeds when they’re soft because you can’t easily distinguish between the inedible seeds and the edible squash strands.

Roasted spaghetti squash

Long strands of spaghetti squash

Our Favorite Way to Cook It

We are fans of cooking spaghetti squash in both the oven and in the Instant Pot. There is a slight difference in taste, and an even greater difference in cook time between these two, but knowing both is useful.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

Roasting spaghetti squash in the oven takes longer, but it results in tender caramelized squash noodles. This is definitely our preferred method if we have the time. To make it, all you do is split the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and roast until fork tender. More detailed directions are below in the recipe section!

How to Cook Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Steaming spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot is by far the quickest method, and great when short on time! The squash noodles have a more straight-forward taste to them since there is no caramelization occurring. We prefer splitting the spaghetti squash and scooping out the seeds before cooking it, but you can steam it whole.

Spaghetti squash meal prep

Do you Eat the Skin of the Spaghetti Squash?

No! While some squash has edible skin, this is not one of them. Simply scoop out the “noodles” and discard the skin.

How to Use it

Treat spaghetti squash noodles like pasta! It can be eaten as is with a little oil, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese or you can use it in any variety of recipes. Check out below for some of ours:

Recipes using Spaghetti Squash:

Watch the video:


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time 00:03 Cook Time 00:45 Inactive Time 00:00 Total Time 00:50 Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4lb. spaghetti squash (see note)
  • splash of oil (roasting only)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

For the Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with foil
  2. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise (for short "noodles") or crosswise (for long "noodles") and scoop out seeds. 
  3. Scoop out seeds and discard.
  4. Brush inside with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place facedown on baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until you can pierce with a fork.
  6. When cool enough to handle, scrape out "spaghetti" with a fork.
  7. Cooked spaghetti squash will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

For the Instant Pot:

  1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise (for short "noodles") or crosswise (for long "noodles") and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  2. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot.
  3. Stack the spaghetti squash on top of each other (cut-side up).
  4. Close the lid and make sure the knob is turned to sealing.
  5. Set to manual high-pressure for 10 minutes (longer time will be needed for bigger squash)
  6. When the timer goes off, turn the vent on the top of the lid to venting to release the steam.
  7. Once the venting knob has dropped, open the lid and shred the spaghetti squash with two forks to turn squash into spaghetti-like noodles!
  8. Cooked spaghetti squash will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

  1. If your spaghetti squash is a different size, you may have to adjust the cooking time, especially for the Instant Pot.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Gluten-Free Key Lime Tart

This gluten-free Key Lime Tart is made using honey and coconut milk for a rich, tangy and smooth filling! It’s simple to prepare and can be optionally topped with a honey meringue for a showstopper dessert. It’s gluten-free and made without any refined sugars.

Key Lime Tart

This Key Lime Tart is the perfect (and beautiful) dessert to roll out in both hot and cold weather. This simple tart is made using our favorite gluten-free pie crust, filled with a tangy and smooth key lime filling and optionally topped with a delicious honey meringue that you can either leave as is or toast it!

Key Lime Tart Ingredients:

Can I use regular limes in place of key limes?

What makes a key lime pie a key lime pie is, you guessed it: key limes. But they are only available certain times of the year and they are much smaller than regular limes (known as Persian limes) so they take a bit more work to get the total amount of juice needed. And while there might be slight difference in taste (key limes have a bit heavier taste of “lime” with higher acidity), it is perfectly acceptable to use regular limes!

Can I bake this in a pie tin?

Technically yes you can. But depending on the size pie tin you are using, the filling might be a little low, as this is meant for a 9″ in tart.

Topping Options

  • Honey meringue (you can either pipe a pretty border, or cover the entire tart)! Toasting is optional but a nice touch.
  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Regular whipped cream

If you like this tart recipe, check out these others:

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Paleo Asian Beef and “Rice” Meal Prep

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Bowls [low-carb, grain-free, dairy-free] | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This healthy asian paleo beef recipe, made mostly in the slow cooker, is the perfect make ahead lunch or dinner! It’s paired with cauliflower “rice” and veggies and is a great low-carb, whole30 and paleo meal prep. Double the recipe and you can also make it dinner one night and lunch for the next few days!

Paleo beefPaleo Asian Beef Rice Bowl

This Whole30, Keto and Paleo Asian Beef and Rice bowl is a great addition to your meal prep rotation! The savory shredded beef is cooked in a slow cooker and then served with veggies, paleo cauliflower rice and a really delicious asian style sauce. We use onions, red pepper and broccoli but you can really swap out with any veggies you have on hand that you think will go well in this dish like carrots, bok choy, or cauliflower.

Paleo beef rice recipe

What You Need to Make this Slow Cooker Paleo Beef Recipe:

  • Boneless chuck roast (feel free to double this amount if you want extra meat for future meals)
  • Coconut aminos (this is a soy-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce)
  • Coconut sugar
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Ginger 
  • Cauliflower (to make the grain-free “rice”)
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Broccoli florets
  • Scallions
  • Sesame seeds

Can You Use Premade or Frozen Cauliflower Rice?

Yes! We take advantage of frozen cauliflower all the time, and love that it’s readily available now. There isn’t much difference between fresh or frozen except that the frozen can hold a little bit more water in it. So if you don’t want to do the extra step of making your own cauliflower rice, feel free to use premade!

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Bowls | Lexi's Clean KitchenWatch the video:

If you like this asian inspired recipe, check out these others:


Crock-Pot Asian Beef & Paleo 'Rice' Bowls

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 04:00 Total Time 4:10 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lb grass-fed boneless chuck steak

Marinade

Paleo Rice Bowls

Directions

  1. Season chuck with salt and pepper and in a large skillet, greased, sear on both sides for 30 seconds.
  2. Place boneless chuck steak in slow cooker.
  3. In a bowl mix together marinade and pour over chuck. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  4. Once done, remove from crock-pot and shred, discarding the fat.
  5. Pulse cauliflower in food processor until rice-sized pieces form.
  6. In a pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 garlic clove for 30 seconds until flagrant. Add cauliflower rice and mix for 3 to 5 minutes until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to pan along with last garlic clove. Add in veggies and sauté for 5-8 minutes until translucent. Add coconut aminos, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix and let cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, until soft. Add in shredded beef and let cook together for 5 minutes.
  8. Assemble: In a bowl, add cauli rice and then add veggie/beef mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

Recipe Notes

  • You can mix up any vegetables you have on hand!
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Paleo Chicken Stir Fry

This Paleo Chicken Stir Fry uses cauliflower rice, whatever veggies you have on hand, and is so simple to throw together! It is a great Whole30, low-carb, dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free meal for any night of the week!

Paleo Chicken Stir Fry mealPaleo Stir Fry

Stir-fry night should also be called clean-out-your-refrigerator night to make a delicious, quick meal! Let this recipe serve more as a guide to using up what you have on hand to create a quick meal that everybody will love, with a really delicious paleo stir fry sauce. We serve this with a garlic scallion cauliflower rice, but you could alternative serve the stir fry with regular white rice if you would like!

You could also alternative use another meat here, like thin sliced steak or pork, or you could really fill up on the veggies and make this meatless!

Paleo Stir Fry with cauliflower rice

What Veggies Can You Use For This Paleo Chicken Stir Fry

In this recipe we used:

  • Broccoli
  • Red Pepper
  • Snap Peas
  • Bok Choy
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Bean Sprouts

But you could really use any veggies you have on hand or what is in season. This is the perfect dish to cook up all year long, but particularly good during the CSA season when your refrigerator is full of veggies!

Cauliflower rice served with paleo chicken stir fry sauceIf you like this quick weeknight meal, check out these others:

Stir-Fry with Garlic Scallion Cauli Rice

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:15 Total Time 0:20 Serves 4

Ingredients

    Teriyaki sauce

    Stir Fry

    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • 2 broccoli crowns, chopped
    • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 organic red pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 cup snap peas
    • 1 lb organic chicken breast
    • 2 handfuls fresh organic spinach
    • 1 bunch baby bok choy, sliced in half
    • 2 cups bean sprouts

    Garlic Scallion Cauli-Rice

    Directions

    1. In a bowl, mix together teriyaki sauce ingredients and set aside.

    2. In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat.

    2. Add garlic and onion and let cook until the onion turns translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

    3. Add broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, and snap peas and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened.

    4. Add chicken and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through and no pink remains.

    5. Pour in teriyaki sauce and mix well. Add in spinach, baby bok choy, and bean sprouts. Once the spinach starts to wilt, turn off the heat and set aside.

    6. Using a food processor or cheese grater, pulse/grate cauliflower until rice consistency.

    3. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.

    4. Add in cauliflower rice, seasoned vinegar, salt, and scallions.

    5. Let cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to soften.

    6. Transfer to bowl and serve hot.

    Recipe Notes

    Updated 3/1/2017

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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    Quick Spicy Italian Chicken in Tomatoes

    Spicy Chicken In Tomato Sauce {Low-carb, paleo-friendly, Whole30 compliant, 30 minutes or less} | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

    This Quick Spicy Italian Chicken in Tomatoes is such a simple and quick weeknight dinner, that is packed with so much flavor! There is option to turn up, or eliminate the heat of the dish, but either way it’s delicious. Serve these chicken breasts in tomato sauce alongside roasted green beans and you have yourself a perfect low-carb, paleo-friendly, Whole30 approved meal that takes under 30 minutes to prepare! Talk about a WIN!

    Chicken breast in tomato sauceQuick Cooked Chicken Breast in Tomato Sauce

    Easy weeknight dinners are THE BEST! This quick cooking Spicy Italian Chicken in Tomatoes is a super delicious dinner to cook when you have less than 30 minutes to get food on the table and you are relying on pantry staples!

    We made this low carb by serving it with roasted green beans, but if you want to go a little heavier with the carbs and have a little bit more time on your hands you can serve it with roasted potatoes, rice or pasta.

    Chicken breast cooked in tomato sauceWant to make this easy chicken and tomato recipe without the spice?

    We love spice, but not everybody does, especially if you are serving kids at the table. Feel free to omit the red pepper flakes in this dish, or lower the heat by adding in just half.

    Ingredients Needed to Make this Italian Chicken in Tomatoes:

    • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • Italian seasoning
    • Dried Basil
    • Onion
    • Garlic
    • Whole Plum Tomatoes
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • Green Beans

    You can also substitute whatever seasonal veggies you have on hand to roast as well. Cauliflower would be great here, as would zucchini or eggplant.

    Chicken in tomato sauce Italian on a plate

    If you like this chicken recipe, check out these others:

    Spicy Chicken in Tomatoes

    Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 0:15 Serves 2

    Ingredients

    Roasted Green Beans

    Directions

    1. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Pat chicken dry. Season with Italian seasoning, sea salt, and pepper on both sides.
    3. Gently place chicken in pan. Let sear for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until all sides are nicely browned.
    4. Add crushed garlic and onion to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes or until the onions turn translucent.
    5. Lower heat to medium-low and add in tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has reduced and the chicken is fully cooked through.
    6. While sauce is simmering, pre-heat the oven to 350 ℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss green beans in olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. Bake green beans for 10-15 minutes or until fully cooked through. When done, set aside until chicken has finished cooking.
    7. If adding spinach, add to the pan for the last 1-2 minutes of simmering until the spinach has started to wilt.
    8. Remove from heat. Serve hot with roasted green beans!
    9. Green Beans: Pre-heat oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss green beans in garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Once oven is pre-heated, bake for 10-15 minutes, or until fully cooked.

    Recipe Notes

    • This post was updated in March, 2017
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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

    These Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are so creamy, flavorful and delicious and make a great lunch or dinner! They also could be perfect as a make-ahead meal option. This buffalo chicken sweet potato recipe is nutritious and filling, gluten-free and optionally made Paleo and Whole30 by omitting the cheese.

    Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato on a sheet tray

    Buffalo Chicken Baked Sweet Potato

    Who doesn’t love potato skins? Nobody! Who doesn’t love potatoes skins that are made healthier but still with all the flavor? Can’t think of anyone! These healthier baked sweet potato skins are stuffed with a creamy buffalo chicken dip packed with extra veggies and nutrients. These are the perfect appetizer for a game day party, or a super delicious lunch or dinner. We love the portability of these and think they’d be a great make-ahead meal as well.

    Close up of sweet potato buffalo chicken

    What type of sweet potatoes are best for this recipe?

    We choose small to medium sweet potatoes to minimize the time roasting in the oven. You can choose larger ones, but they will take longer to roast. Just make sure they are all about the same size, and as round as you can get to fit in more of the buffalo chicken stuffing.

    Can you cook the sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot instead?

    You could, but it will likely take you the same amount of time to roast in the oven between the time it takes to come up to pressure and the time it takes to naturally release. Put the sweet potatoes on a basket and add 1 cup of water. You can use the steam function for 10 minutes, with a natural release.

    Skinny buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potatoes on a plate

    How can you store these Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for meal prep?

    If you wanted to make these for a few days of lunches, complete the recipe as directed and then cool the broiled sweet potatoes completely before placing in a container in the fridge. We like using glass containers because they can double as a storage container and can be heated up in either a microwave or a toaster oven. These would taste better if heated up in a toaster oven, but if the only option when you are at work is a microwave that will work as well!

    If you like this recipe with buffalo sauce, check out these others:

    Healthy Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Skins

    Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 35 minutes Total Time 0:40 Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 4 sweet potatoes
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 1 cup spinach
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees °F.
    2. Pierce sweet potato with a fork, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until soft.
    3. While the sweet potato is baking, saute onions, carrots, garlic, and scallions for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions turn translucent. Add in spinach and cook just until the spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat, let cool, and place in a medium mixing bowl.
    4. Add shredded chicken, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and pepper to the sauted vegetables and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
    5. Once sweet potatoes are soft, carefully cut sweet potatoes in half and scoop out insides to make “boats.” Leave about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of flesh so they don’t become too fragile and difficult to handle.
      Set oven to a high broil.
    6. Fill the sweet potatoes with a heaping spoonful of shredded buffalo chicken. Top with cheddar cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted. Serve hot!

    Recipe Notes

    Recipe updated March 2017

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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!