Spaghetti squash is a vibrant winter vegetable enjoyed for its nutty flavor and impressive nutrient profile.
Closely related to pumpkin, squash, and zucchini, spaghetti squash comes in many different sizes, shapes, and colors, ranging from off-white to dark orange.
It’s not only low in calories and loaded with nutrients but also 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 high in several key vitamins and minerals.
In particular, spaghetti squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6.
One cup (155 grams) of cooked spaghetti squash provides the following nutrients (1):
- Calories: 42
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 8% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 6% of the RDI
- Niacin: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
Spaghetti squash also contains small amounts of thiamine, magnesium, folate, calcium, and iron.
Summary Spaghetti squash is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6.
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that can help fight free radicals, thus preventing oxidative stress and reducing damage to your cells.
Winter squash varieties like spaghetti squash are loaded with antioxidants.
Summary Spaghetti squash is high in beta-carotene and vitamin C — two antioxidants that can curb free radical formation and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Fiber moves slowly through your digestive system, adding bulk to your stool, which promotes regularity and alleviates constipation (6).
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 like diverticulitis, intestinal ulcers, hemorrhoids, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (7).
Adding just one to two 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.
Summary Spaghetti squash contains plenty of fiber, which can promote regularity and aid in treating digestive issues like diverticulitis, intestinal ulcers, hemorrhoids, and GERD.
Spaghetti squash is low in calories but high in fiber, making it a healthy option for a well-rounded weight loss diet.
Plus, with only 42 calories per cup (155 grams), using spaghetti squash as a low-calorie alternative in recipes like gratin, casseroles, lasagna, or pasta dishes may help promote weight loss.
One cup (155 grams) of cooked spaghetti squash contains just 28% of the calories of one cup (242 grams) of cooked spaghetti (1).
Summary Spaghetti squash is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a great addition to a weight loss diet.
Spaghetti squash is a winter vegetable with a mild flavor and stringy texture that works well in many recipes.
It can easily be baked, boiled, steamed, or even microwaved 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.
Use spaghetti squash in place of noodles and pair it with ingredients like meatballs, marinara sauce, garlic, or parmesan.
You can also try stuffing it to make spaghetti squash boats or using it in fritters, casseroles, or hash browns.
Summary Spaghetti squash is a versatile ingredient. You can bake, roast, 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.
Next, drizzle each half with a bit of olive oil, season with salt, and place 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 about 40–50 minutes or until fork-tender.
Once your squash is fully cooked, use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands.
Finally, 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.
Summary 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.
Certain people may be allergic to winter vegetables like spaghetti squash, which can cause food allergy symptoms, such as hives, itching, swelling, and digestive issues (10).
If you experience these or any other adverse symptoms after eating spaghetti squash, discontinue consumption immediately and consult with your doctor.
Moreover, spaghetti squash is very low in calories.
While this can be very useful for those looking to shed extra weight, it’s important to avoid cutting calories too much, as severe calorie restriction can decrease your body’s metabolic rate (11, 12).
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.
Summary Spaghetti squash may cause food allergies and is very low in calories. For best results, 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 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.