Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a mild tasting squash that separates into tender strands and can be topped with sauce just like pasta. Cooking a whole spaghetti squash in the slow cooker is super easy. And this healthy, low carb veggie is available year round in most grocery stores.
How to cook Spaghetti Squash in a Slow Cooker
Most spaghetti squash are fairly large, so make sure to buy one that fits in your slow cooker and allows the lid to fit snugly. If needed, you can cut away a bit of the squash skin to help it fit.
To prevent the squash from exploding, carefully pierce it in several places with a sharp knife. Add the whole squash to the slow cooker with 1½ cups of water. Cook until the squash is tender, about 2-3 hours on HIGH or 4-6 hours on LOW.
Allow the squash to cool so you can handle it. Halve the squash lengthwise. Discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh, place in a bowl, and run a fork through it to shred the squash.
Toss the squash with 1 cup marinara sauce and top with freshly grated Parmesan, or try the baked casserole below. Cooked squash will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
This delicious and easy spaghetti squash casserole recipe can also be called a spaghetti squash gratin. Serve it as a main course with a salad, or use it as a side dish (think veggie mac-and-cheese). Cooking the spaghetti squash ahead of time makes assembling the casserole even easier.
1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds, cooked (see above)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped (or substitute 2 tablespoons pesto)
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (you could substitute Emmental, Jarlsberg, or fontina)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
For the topping, mix together:
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons melted butter
Remove any excess moisture from the cooked squash to keep the baked dish from being watery — wring it in a cheesecloth or clean dishtowel, or place in a colander and firmly press down.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 2-quart gratin dish or an 8” baking dish. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet, and cook the onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is a little more tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs well in a large bowl. Add milk and basil. Stir in the squash mixture, the Gruyère, and the Parmesan, combine well. Scrape into your baking dish. (If you need to make ahead, stop here, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours.)
When ready to bake, bring the casserole to room temperature, sprinkle with the topping. Gently press topping into casserole. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes until browned. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature.
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Basil.
Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipes
Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Pine Nuts, and Balsamic Vinegar (The Splendid Table)
Spaghetti Squash Salad with Chickpeas and Feta (Cook’s Country)
Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (Epicurious)
Baked Spaghetti Squash Parmesan (Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garton)
Baked Spaghetti Squash Gratin (recipe above)
Can you overcook spaghetti squash?
You can’t really overcook spaghetti squash. But if you plan to use the squash in a recipe calling for noodle-like strands, you will want the strands more “al dente” versus mushy. In this case, keep a closer eye on the squash and your cooking times — when you can pierce the outer skin with a fork, it's ready.
If you are using a squash in a baked casserole, a softer texture won’t matter.
Does spaghetti squash taste like spaghetti?
Short answer: no. It doesn’t taste like pasta or really even squash — rather it is quite bland. But a lack of flavor makes it a great option for tossing with other ingredients, cheeses, or sauces for a healthy pasta alternative.
Can spaghetti squash cook whole in a regular oven?
Yes. Preheat your oven to 375°. Pierce the spaghetti squash several times and place the whole squash on a foil lined baking sheet. Cook the squash in the oven, turning every 20 minutes until it is soft and easy to cut into with a knife, about 1 hour.