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Kalyn's Kitchen

How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash

This post about How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash is a Public Service Announcement for vegetable gardeners who have lots of young unripe spaghetti squash in the garden and are wondering what to do with them! See Cooking for Gardeners for more ideas for cooking garden veggies!

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This year I grew spaghetti squash for the first time in my tiny garden space, and it reminded me how I used to LOVE young unripe spaghetti squash back in the days when I had a bigger garden. And I know gardening season will be winding down soon and I thought people who have a surplus of small spaghetti squash that aren’t going to mature might like to try my method for How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash! This is something I have done for many years (whenever I could get my hands on unripe spaghetti squash).

Squashes are divided into winter squash (which ripen late in the season, can be stored through the winter, and have hard outer rinds) and summer squash (which have a soft outer skin and can be eaten rind, seeds, and all.) Zucchini is the most famous summer squash of course, but when this recipe refers to cooking Spaghetti Squash as a summer squash it means cooking it when it’s young and has a soft skin.

Many years ago I was introduced to this way of eating spaghetti squash by a former boyfriend who grew it in his garden, and he taught me about picking the squashes when they were young and green and the skin could be pierced easily with your fingernail, and then simply boiling them and serving as a vegetable with lots of butter, salt, and pepper. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned to leave the spaghetti squash on the vine until the skins turn yellow, then bake or microwave the squash so the strands pull apart into a kind of vegetable “spaghetti” which is also tasty in a different way. I like spaghetti squash as a winter squash, but I am absolutely crazy about spaghetti squash when it’s cooked as a summer squash.

Of course, you’ll never be able to find young spaghetti squash like this in a regular store, so you’ll probably have to grow some in your garden or find a friend who has a garden who’s willing to share if you want to try this recipe. I haven’t ever run across another gardener who had tried this, so I hope some of my readers will be sure to try it if you get a chance. Trust me, you will love it! In fact, I just ate some of my leftovers while I was typing this up!

First process collage for How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash

How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash: Cooking the Squash

(This is just a summary of the steps shown in the photos; see the complete recipe below.)

  1. Most young spaghetti squash is light green like the first photo, but in the second photo you can see I got one that was darker green.
  2. Choose young, small spaghetti squash with skin that can be easily pierced with your fingernail.
  3. Wash the outside of the squash well.
  4. Cut off both ends, then cut the rest of the squash up into pieces about 2 inches square. (If your squash has noticeable seeds, be sure they are tender.)
  5. Bring water to a boil, add salt, and add the spaghetti squash and turn heat to medium.
  6. Simmer the spaghetti squash until it’s tender (but not mushy), about 10-15 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.

Second process collage for How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash

How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash: Serving the Squash

  1. Put cooked squash into large colander and let it drain well, for 5 minutes or more. It’s important not to rush the draining time.
  2. After squash has drained about 5 minutes, use an old-fashioned potato masher (affiliate link) to coarsely mash the squash and let drain 2-3 minutes more.
  3. Put spaghetti squash into a serving bowl and serve hot, with plenty of butter and salt and freshly ground pepper.

Close-up photo for How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash

And trust me, this is not a time to skimp on the butter. I hope you try it if you get a chance!

How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash

How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash is for vegetable gardeners who have squash on the vine that aren’t going to have time to ripen!

Ingredients:

  • 2 young, small spaghetti squash (be sure the skin is soft enough to pierce with your fingernail)
  • butter to flavor the cooked squash (I used a generous amount of butter; use more or less to taste)
  • salt for the water and for seasoning the cooked squash (to taste)
  • fresh-ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Choose young, small spaghetti squash with skin that can be easily pierced with your fingernail. (The color of the squash doesn’t always tell if it’s young, so use the fingernail test.
  2. Wash the outside of the squash well since you will be eating the skin.
  3. Cut off the stem and blossom end and cut the rest of the squash up into pieces about 2 inches square.
  4. If your squash has noticeable seeds, be sure they are tender.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a little salt, and add the spaghetti squash, and turn heat to medium-low.
  6. Simmer the spaghetti squash until it’s tender, about 10-15 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Be careful not to overcook or it will be mushy.
  7. Put cooked squash into large colander and let it drain well, for 5 minutes or more. Don’t rush the draining time, because there’s a lot of moisture in the young squash.
  8. After squash has drained about 5 minutes, use an old-fashioned potato masher (affiliate link) to coarsely mash the squash and the skin and let it drain 2-3 minutes more.
  9. Put spaghetti squash into a serving bowl and serve hot, with plenty of butter and salt and freshly ground pepper.
  10. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a few days and reheat beautifully in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.

Notes:

This recipe given to Kalyn by a man named Art who taught her to cook spaghetti squash this way many, many years ago!

All images and text ©

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Spaghetti Squash cooked as a summer squash is a great dish for low-carb and low-glycemic diet plans; use the amount of butter that works for your personal eating plan. This should be suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet, although South Beach would not recommend using butter.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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15 comments on “How to Cook Unripe Spaghetti Squash as a Summer Squash”

  1. I’ve never heard of this before. We have some spaghetti squash plants that are dying with young spaghetti squash on the vine. I’m so happy this recipe arrived in my inbox today! I’m looking forward to trying it.

    • Oh good, hope you like it as much as I do. I know this is only useful for a very small group of people but I’ve been making it for 30+ years now and always try to grow spaghetti squash just for this reason!

  2. I did this earlier this year as well to see how they would eat. they were great! the flavor, even raw, is tender and sweet. Lightly cooked or sautéed in a stir fry works too!

  3. It looks amazing! I've replaced the usual pasta and rice with spaghetti squash, it works great! 🙂

  4. Kayln,
    your spagetti squash looks so beautiful! Just adding butter sounds great!

  5. Sher, I hope you can find some green ones. Maybe I can mail you one??

  6. I also have never seen spaghetti squash fixed this way! It tastes like young corn? OK, I’m going to buy one and cook it just like your recipe. Thanks.

  7. Glenna, I don’t think many people know about this.

    Mona, I missed you. Glad you’re back!

    Jennifer, I know what you mean. They seem to multiply very quickly don’t they!

    Christine, you might be able to get a farmer to pick them early for you, but I haven’t ever seen the young squash in the store.

  8. This is something I didn’t know. Thanks for the information and the recipe – it looks so good! I’ll ask around at our farmers market to see if I can find some.

  9. So good to know! I am always running out of ideas for what to do with the ever-plentiful squash. Thanks, Kalyn!

  10. wow kalyn, never knew the difference. i’ve been enlightened, thanks for the info and the eye candy!
    🙂 hope you’re doing well. it’s been a while. i’m such a slacker!

  11. I learn something new every day. I’ve love spaghetti squash but had no idea you could eat the whole thing if it’s picked young enough. Looks delicious!

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