Spaghetti squash is a nutritious, low carb, low-calorie alternative to pasta. It’s high in fiber and is also a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C, pantothenic acid, as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
Spaghetti squash is a vibrant winter vegetable with a mild nutty flavor and an impressive nutrient profile.
Closely related to pumpkin, zucchini, and other types of squash, spaghetti squash comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors, ranging from off-white to dark orange.
In addition to being low in calories and loaded with nutrients, it’s associated with a number of health benefits.
This article reviews the nutrition, benefits, and potential downsides of spaghetti squash and offers tips on how to add it to your diet.
Spaghetti squash is a nutrient-dense food, meaning it’s low in calories but a decent source of several key vitamins and minerals.
In particular, spaghetti squash is a good source of pantothenic acid. It’s also a decent source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, and niacin.
Spaghetti squash nutrition facts
One cup (155 grams) of cooked spaghetti squash provides the following nutrients (
- Calories: 42
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Vitamin C: 6% of the DV
- Manganese: 7% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid: 11% of the DV
- Niacin: 8% of the DV
Spaghetti squash also contains small amounts of potassium, thiamine, magnesium, folate, calcium, and iron.
Spaghetti squash is low in calories but high in pantothenic acid, a B vitamin. It’s also a decent source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, and niacin.
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that can help protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to your cells. Too many free radicals in your body can cause a form of damage called oxidative stress.
By defending you against free radical damage, antioxidants may improve your health. Research shows that antioxidants may help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer (
Winter squash varieties like spaghetti squash are loaded with antioxidants.
In particular, winter squash provides plenty of beta carotene — a potent plant pigment that can help protect your cells and DNA from damage (
Spaghetti squash is also a source of vitamin C, which doubles as an antioxidant and has been shown to play a significant role in disease prevention (
Spaghetti squash contains beta carotene and vitamin C — two antioxidants that can curb free radical damage and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Fiber moves slowly through your digestive system, adding bulk to your stool. This promotes regularity and relieves constipation (
Spaghetti squash is an excellent source of fiber. A 1-cup (155-gram) serving packs 2.2 grams — 8% of your daily fiber needs (
Upping your fiber intake may benefit several aspects of digestive health.
In fact, research suggests that a high fiber diet could be beneficial for treating conditions such as diverticulitis and hemorrhoids (
Adding just 1–2 servings of spaghetti squash to your diet along with a variety of other fiber-rich foods can boost regularity and keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Spaghetti squash contains plenty of fiber, which can promote regularity and aid in treating digestive issues such as constipation, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids.
Spaghetti squash is low in calories but high in fiber, making it a healthy option for a well-rounded weight loss diet.
If you’re trying to lose weight, fiber can help by slowing the emptying of your stomach and stabilizing your blood sugar levels to reduce hunger and appetite (
Plus, because it has only 42 calories per cup (155 grams), using spaghetti squash as a low calorie alternative in recipes such as gratin, casseroles, lasagna, or pasta dishes may help promote weight loss.
Spaghetti squash is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a great addition to a weight loss diet.
Although spaghetti squash looks a lot like noodles, they’re quite different nutritionally.
One cup (155 grams) of cooked spaghetti squash contains 42 calories. That’s only 18% of the 239 calories in 1 cup (151 grams) of cooked spaghetti (
It’s also a low carb alternative to pasta, containing only 10 grams of carbs in 1 cup. That’s just 21% of the 47 grams of carbs you’d find in a comparable amount of pasta (
Here are some more comparisons between spaghetti squash and pasta (
|Nutrient||Spaghetti squash, cooked |
(1 cup or 155 grams)
|Pasta, spaghetti, cooked|
(1 cup or 151 grams)
|pantothenic acid||11% of the DV||3% of the DV|
|vitamin B6||9% of the DV||4% of the DV|
|vitamin C||6% of the DV||0% of the DV|
|potassium||4% of the DV||1% of the DV|
|niacin||8% of the DV||16% of the DV|
|iron||3% of the DV||11% of the DV|
While spaghetti squash takes the top spot for many nutrients, pasta wins out in a few areas, like iron and niacin. Refined pasta is often enriched, meaning these nutrients are added during production.
Overall, if you’re trying to reduce calories or carbs, spaghetti squash is the better choice. And it’s richer in many nutrients, too, like B vitamins and vitamin C.
Spaghetti squash is a nutritious, low carb alternative to pasta. It’s also much lower in calories than pasta.
Spaghetti squash is a winter vegetable with a mildly sweet flavor and stringy texture that works well in many recipes.
You can easily bake it, microwave it, steam it, or prep it in your slow cooker or Instant Pot for a tasty and nutritious meal.
In particular, it’s a popular substitute for pasta because it can reduce the carb and calorie count of your meal while allowing the other flavors in your recipe to shine.
You can use spaghetti squash in place of noodles and pair it with ingredients like meatballs, marinara sauce, garlic, and Parmesan.
You can also try stuffing it to make spaghetti squash boats or using it in fritters, casseroles, or hash browns.
Spaghetti squash is a versatile ingredient. You can bake, steam, or microwave it for use in various recipes.
Spaghetti squash is simple to prepare and makes a great low carb substitute for noodles in your favorite pasta dishes.
To get started, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Take your time and be extra careful when cutting the squash — it has thick walls.
Next, drizzle the halves with a bit of olive oil, season with salt, and place them side by side on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down.
Roast the squash in your oven at 400°F (200°C) for 40–50 minutes, or until fork-tender.
Once your squash is fully cooked and has cooled slightly, use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands.
Finish it off with your choice of seasonings, sauces, and toppings — such as garlic, Parmesan, marinara sauce, meatballs, or veggies — and enjoy as part of a delicious and nutritious meal.
You can prepare spaghetti squash by roasting the squash, scraping out the strands, and adding your favorite toppings.
Though spaghetti squash is highly nutritious, there are some things to keep in mind before adding it to your diet.
Be aware of potential allergies
Some people may be allergic to spaghetti squash. It’s not a well-known allergy, but reactions to related foods, such as pumpkin, have been documented (9, 10).
Food allergy symptoms vary and can include hives, itching, swelling, and digestive issues (
In some cases, consuming a food you’re allergic to can lead to anaphylactic shock, which is a life threatening condition.
If you have unexplained symptoms after eating spaghetti squash, stop eating it immediately and consult a medical professional. If you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as swelling of your throat or tongue or difficulty breathing, seek emergency care immediately.
Ensure you’re getting enough calories
Spaghetti squash is very low in calories.
While this can be very useful for those looking to lose weight, it’s important to avoid cutting calories too much, as severe calorie restriction can decrease your body’s metabolic rate (
A very low calorie diet can also lead to gallstones (
To maximize the potential health benefits of spaghetti squash, select healthy toppings and pair it with other nutritious foods like veggies, herbs, spices, heart-healthy fats, and lean proteins.
Spaghetti squash may cause food allergies for some people. It’s very low in calories, so pair it with other healthy foods and toppings.
Spaghetti squash is a winter vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Due to its low calorie content and high fiber content, it may aid weight loss and digestive health.
Try roasted spaghetti squash as a low carb alternative to pasta, combined with veggies, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Just one thing
Try this today: For your next pasta night, why not try spaghetti squash instead? Seeing the cooked squash turn into noodle-y strands is a bit of veggie magic. If you’re looking for a recipe to get started, check out this article.