Baked Keto Spaghetti Squash Recipe and Health Benefits
Other Keto-Friendly “Pasta” Noodles
Spaghetti squash nutrition, texture, and taste make it one of the most common low-carb pasta alternatives. Along with this versatile and easy-to-make squash, you might want to experiment with other keto-friendly veggies and foods you can use in lieu of traditional noodles. Here are some top ideas for your next meal.
Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are simply raw zucchini spiralized into noodles. They’re easy to make with a spiralizer you can get for less than $30 on Amazon.
Unlike traditional noodles, zoodles are wheat-free, grain-free, gluten-free, and highly nutritious. One cup of zoodles contains less than 20 calories, including 4.2 grams of carbohydrates, 0.2 grams of fat, and 1.5 grams of protein[*]. Zucchini is also a good source of vitamins C and B6.
You can use your spiralizer to transform any low-carb vegetables into noodles. Summer squash, kohlrabi, and cucumber are all great options. Simply spiralize your vegetable, dry between two paper towels, then toss in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 1–2 minutes.
Also known as miracle noodles, shirataki noodles are one of the few no-carb noodles in existence. Shirataki is a type of Japanese noodle made from the konjac yam. Approximately 97% of shirataki noodles are made up of water, with the other 3% being dietary fiber. One serving size (about 3 ounces) has zero calories, no fat, and less than 1 gram of carbs.
Miracle noodles are virtually tasteless, allowing them to absorb the flavor of whatever dish they’re served in. While these noodles are commonly used with Asian-style dishes, you can also use them as a keto-friendly spaghetti replacement.
Want to make your own pasta the low-carb way?
You can with DIY egg noodles that combine eggs, cream cheese, and seasoning. Simply combine the ingredients in a blender, pulse, then roll out your dough into a baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for 8 minutes, then slice into “noodles” when you take it out of the oven.
It’s incredibly easy to make your own egg noodles from scratch. One serving contains a total of 60 calories, including 5 grams of fat, zero carbs, and 3.5 grams of protein.
If you think substituting cabbage for noodles sounds a little odd, you haven’t tried stir-fry with cabbage noodles or this low-carb romanesco with cabbage noodles.
In addition to being low-calorie, cabbage noodles are a nutritional powerhouse abundant in key health benefits. Cabbage has strong anti-inflammatory properties, multiple antioxidants, anthocyanins, and some amazing vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium[*].
Spaghetti Squash Nutrition and Health Benefits
While egg noodles, zoodles, and shirataki noodles are great options to mix things up, spaghetti squash has the perfect texture for the heavier sauces commonly used in Italian dishes.
Spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash that is low in calories and carbs. It also happens to be easy to cook. You can use spaghetti squash in a wide range of low-carb recipes, including pasta dishes, breakfast casseroles, or as an alternative to hash browns.
Spaghetti squash nutrition includes a number of vitamins, dietary fiber, omega-3s, and omega-6s.
This yellow, oval-shaped vegetable is a good source of vitamin A and contains carotenoids — specifically, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Carotenoids work as antioxidants that prevent inflammation[*].
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in your vision, immune system, and reproductive functions. It also helps your lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs function normally[*].
Spaghetti squash is a great way to get B vitamins such as thiamin[*], riboflavin[*], niacin[*], pantothenic acid[*], B6[*], and folate[*]. These vitamins help your body create energy by breaking down the carbs you eat and turning them into glucose.
They also break down proteins and fats. Your eye, skin, hair, mouth, and liver health is maintained, in part, by the work of B vitamins[*].
If you look at spaghetti squash nutrition, it has a good amount of manganese. This is a trace mineral that’s considered an essential nutrient as it’s vital for normal brain function as well as the nervous system and various enzymatic systems in your body.
As a cofactor for many enzymes, manganese aids in carb metabolism, your body’s immune system response, and your reproductive system. Along with vitamin K, it even has a role to play in proper blood clotting[*].
This important mineral is necessary for many of your body’s processes including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Magnesium also has a hand in making your DNA, as well as making protein and bone[*].
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. Your body needs vitamin C to make collagen, which encourages healing skin, nail, and hair growth. It also helps with skin elasticity and wound healing. When your body converts the food you eat to energy, free radicals are formed in the process.
Free radicals can attach to cells and cause damage that could lead to the development of various chronic diseases. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect your body from free radical damage[*].
Potassium is a mineral your body uses for nearly everything, from muscle contraction and nerve transmission to healthy heart and kidney function[*].
This mineral also works with sodium to stimulate muscles and nerves. Not only that, but it’s known to enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system functions[*][*].
How to Use Spaghetti Squash in Your Favorite Pasta Dish
Spaghetti squash are the noodles you never have to feel guilty about. Simply bake at 400°F for a total time of 30-45 minutes, allow to cool slightly, then shred with a fork.
Start with your favorite low-carb marinara, alfredo, or meat sauce. Combine with grass-fed meatballs or ground beef and top with mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil to make it the perfect keto-friendly pasta night.
Recipe Notes: Baking It Whole
If you’re intimidated by the idea of cutting a large spaghetti squash in half, you’re not alone. Go ahead and make it the lazy way.
Simply bake the squash whole at 375°F for about an hour, making sure to first pierce the skin all over to let steam escape.
An ice pick is a good way to pierce the skin since it’s thick. Cooking it before cutting softens the squash, making it much easier to slice.
To eat right out of the squash, cut the cooked spaghetti squash lengthwise into boats, then clean and seed as usual.
For the longest strands possible, cut the cooked spaghetti squash into rings, then unfurl the “noodles” and gently fluff. If you cut your pasta anyway, slicing it lengthwise will give you shorter pieces. Either way, you’ll still need to clean and seed it.