There are times when you may really want pasta, but are trying to watch your calories and carbohydrate intake. Whole30, Paleo, and Keto diets are so popular these days, that it is hard to know what is safe to consume or to serve your guests.
I have gotten into the habit of asking dinner guests what they can and can’t eat before I even go to the market. I also alert my hosts of my own dietary restrictions and will even offer to bring a dish that I can indulge in. This used to be viewed as a bit rude. We are in a new age of dietary preferences and it isn’t so crazy any longer to converse about food choices and requirements prior to enjoying a meal together.
Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are always a good pasta substitution. I started to spiralize some zucchini one evening when my niece, who was visiting, made a terrible face. Apparently, zucchini is not her thing. Plan B was a small spaghetti squash that I happened to have on my countertop. So, I made both.
Usually, it takes me an hour to roast a spaghetti squash (also known as vegetable spaghetti) in the oven. This was a situation that called for a quicker cooking method. Young adults burn a lot of energy and when they are hungry, they want food NOW. I decided to air fry 2 halves of a deseeded spaghetti squash. It took less than 30 minutes to roast. My niece snacked on some pickles and cheese and all was good.
It is pretty easy to roast spaghetti squash in your air fryer. Just be sure to purchase a squash that will fit inside the basket. Then, just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, season well with olive oil and herbs, and roast at 360°F for approximately 30 minutes. Enjoy with some toppings and a fresh green salad or a lean protein, such as grilled chicken breasts.
Nutrition of Spaghetti Squash
Similar to other winter squashes, spaghetti squash is very low in calories. 100 grams of flesh provides just 31 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Spaghetti squash is high in free radical fighting antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B complex vitamins. Vitamin A is a powerful natural antioxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin, healthy eyesight, and intestinal mucosa.
It is also a modest source of minerals like copper, iron, and magnesium.
You can clean and roast the seeds for even more dietary fiber. The seeds are also an excellent source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
Air Fryer Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Herbs (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo, Keto)
- 1 small to medium spaghetti squash (choose one that will fit)
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Total time:35 min – Prep time:5 min – Cook time:30 min – Serves:4 people
1. Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 360°F.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and seasonings. Set aside.
3. Slice the squash in half length-wise. Scoop out all the seeds and discard or save for roasting later. Coat the flesh of the squash halves with the olive oil mixture. Be sure to cover all inside surfaces.
4. Place the squash halves, skin side down, in the basket or on the crisper plate of the preheated air fryer. Close the bucket or door and cook for 25 to 30 minutes until the flesh can be scraped with a fork.
5. Remove the squash to a cutting board or large bowl and allow to cool until you can safely handle it. You can prepare additional toppings while it is cooling.
6. Once cooled, hold the squash half in one hand while you scrape the flesh with a fork. It should resemble capellini pasta noodles and be just slightly al-dente.
7. Serve as is, or add toppings.
Topping ideas below:
Greek Style Spaghetti Squash (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Keto)
- 1 cup cherry tomato halves
- 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
- A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Roasted spaghetti squash from recipe above
1. Place the spaghetti squash strands in a serving bowl. Top with the first 3 ingredients and toss gently to combine. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and serve with tongs.
Easy Pesto Sauce for Spaghetti Squash (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Keto)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts for Keto)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper
- Roasted spaghetti squash from recipe above
1. In a food processor, blend the basil leaves, garlic, and nuts until well chopped.
2. Add the lemon juice. With the machine running, slowly pour the olive oil through the small hole in the lid. Process until the mixture is smooth in texture.
3. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper. Process briefly just to combine.
4. Spoon over spaghetti squash and serve. Place any extra in a covered jar or in a plastic baggie. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for later.
Storing Cooked Spaghetti Squash
After cooking the squash, remove it from the outer shells and place the strands in a colander. Allow it to cool completely.
Place the colander in the refrigerator overnight to ensure the moisture evaporates and the strands are thoroughly chilled. It makes good sense to place a dish towel or paper towels beneath the colander to catch any water released.
Once the squash is sufficiently chilled, place the strands in portion sizes in resealable freezer bags. Push as much air out of the bags as you can and seal tightly. These will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Or, write the date on the bags and freeze the squash for up to 6 months.
To reheat, thaw the squash in the refrigerator, right in the bags. You can reheat on a sheet pan in a 350°F oven, sauté in a little oil on the stove, or quickly heat in a glass bowl in your microwave.