Basil Pesto Spaghetti Squash Recipe
With many folks still looking for ways to get that pasta fix without eating actual pasta, there are a variety of ways to turn vegetables, and other non-carbohydrate ingredients, into noodles, spaghetti, and then some. But why not take advantage of the one vegetable that is literally already in noodle form without even trying?
Enter spaghetti squash.
This vegetable literally has spaghetti in its name, and truth be told, it legit looks like spaghetti strands when scooped out of its shell.
I can completely understand if anyone hasn’t yet crossed this bridge: it can be intimidating to cut into, let alone cook, a spaghetti squash. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think. You can microwave it, roast it, and even Instant Pot this thick-skinned squash, so whichever method you find to be the most efficient—go with that. I prefer to roast mine as I like the flavor it brings out that I just can’t seem to replicate with the microwave or Instant Pot. Roasting really does give it a hint of roasted flavor, for lack of a better word.
I enlisted the help of the good people at the Food Network for some instructions on how to properly cook a spaghetti squash different ways.
First up, the Instant Pot.
- Add 1 cup water to a 6-quart Instant Pot.
- Put the rack in the bottom with the handles going up the sides.
- Deeply pierce the squash all over 12 to 16 times with a fork. Then place on the rack.
- Set to pressure cook on high for 12 minutes.
- Do a quick release.
- Remove the rack and squash and place on cutting board. Allow the squash to cool slightly.
- Split it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Then use a fork to scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin.
Next up, the microwave.
- Poke small holes into the skin of the squash using a fork. About ten pokes should do it.
- Microwave the squash in 5-minute increments, rotating the squash between each increment.
- The squash is done when it is tender and you can squeeze it (again, make sure you use a kitchen towel). The total time is between 10 and 15 minutes.
- Continue protecting against burns by holding the squash with a kitchen towel as you cut it in half.
- Use a fork to scoop out the seeds from the middle of the spaghetti squash.
- Boom shakalaka.
My instructions below are for roasting, along with a darn good recipe for basil pesto, which pairs so nicely with the spaghetti squash.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 cup cashews raw
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves about 3 ounces
- 2 tbsp Parmesan
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice squash in half lengthwise, and place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for roughly 45 minutes (depending on squash size, it could take up to one hour),until you can easily pierce through the squash with a fork.
- After roasting, use a fork to scrape the inside as the angel hair pasta-like strands gently break apart.
- Toast cashews on medium heat for roughly 3 – 5 minutes.
- Combine basil, cashews, cheese, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor or blender.
- Slowly drizzle with olive oil.
- Top basil pesto on prepared spaghetti squash.