Here's how to make a healthier spaghetti dinner! Enjoy all the deliciousness of this classic comfort food even more knowing that you are dialing down the calories and carbs and dialing up the nutrition.
Wash the spaghetti squash. Use a knife to cut slits all around the squash. Place in a slow cooker (optional: line the slow cooker with a liner or parchment paper) and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
When the spaghetti squash is almost done, place the mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened.
Place the marinara sauce in a saucepan on the stove top, add the softened mushrooms (but not the liquid they released), and heat on low until hot. (Alternatively this can be heated in the microwave.)
Remove the spaghetti squash from the slow cooker, cut in half length-wise, scrape out the seeds and discard. Then scrape out the squash 'noodles' into a bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the spaghetti according to the package instructions. When done, drain the noodles and add to the spaghetti squash. Toss to thoroughly combine the squash noodles with the pasta noodles.
Serve the noodles with the sauce on top.
If you are looking to minimize carbs or calories, make sure you use a high-fiber and/or low-carb pasta.
There are three other ways you can cook the spaghetti squash if you get started too late to use the slow cooker. Here are 3 other methods:
Microwave: Cut slits in the squash all around, and then cook on high for 10-15 minutes (rotate the squash every 4-5 minutes).
Oven: Cut the squash in half length-wise, remove the seeds, place cut sides down on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F for about 50-60 minutes.
Pressure cooker (Instant Pot): Cut the squash in half width-wise, remove the seeds, place on a rack in the pressure cooker cut sides up, add about a cup of water, cook on high pressure for 8 minutes and then quick-release the pressure.
You may have leftovers, as this recipe makes a lot of spaghetti. Here's a method to freeze it:
Cook your pasta al dente, and after draining it, toss it with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together.
Don't combine the leftover noodles with the sauce, and cool completely before packaging them to freeze. (Freeze leftover sauce in a separate container.)
Squeeze out all the air and zip securely before placing in the freezer.
When you are ready to thaw, take the bag out of the freezer in the morning and place on the counter. Once thawed, reheat in the microwave about 2 minutes, gently toss, and then continue to heat 30-60 seconds at a time until hot enough to serve. Avoid over-cooking!