Although not quite the same as wheat spaghetti, spaghetti squash does make for a great gluten-free, vegetable pasta substitute. This type of squash has a mild flavor that allows it to be paired with a variety of sauces, spices, and herbs.
Spaghetti squash is best frozen cooked after which the flesh pulls apart to form thin spaghetti-like strands. This allows you to keep leftovers or prepare spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ in advance for a quick-fix meal.
Here is a full guide to freezing spaghetti squash for best quality preservation.
Types of Spaghetti Squash
Although spaghetti squash is prepared and eaten as a vegetable, it is botanically classified as a fruit. It is available in a variety of sizes and is generally ivory, yellow, or orange in color. The center is filled with large seeds, similar to a pumpkin or butternut which can be toasted and eaten.
This vegetable spaghetti has firm flesh that softens and loosens in thin strands when cooked. The squash can be cooked by boiling, roasting, steaming, or microwaving.
It can be eaten on its own as a side dish with butter and herbs, stuffed, used as a pasta substitute in bolognese, and baked into a casserole.
Can Spaghetti Squash Be Frozen?
Yes, spaghetti squash can be frozen. There are a few important factors to keep in mind when freezing the squash, however, if you prepare it correctly, the squash will freeze well.
The squash will be slightly softer than when it is cooked fresh, but the overall flavor and quality will remain mostly unchanged.
The squash should be frozen after it has been cooked and drained for the best results. If the squash has not been drained, the additional moisture will cause the squash to become mushy on reheating.
Do not freeze or package the squash while it is still warm as the condensation will cause extra moisture. This will in turn result in freezer burn and a soggy texture once thawed.
One more way to protect the squash from spoiling during freezing is by keeping it in an airtight container to protect it from contact with air and moisture.
How To Freeze Spaghetti Squash
Step 1: Clean and Cut
Even though you won’t be using the skin of the squash, it is a good idea to give it a rinse. Once rinsed and dried, cut the squash in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Remove Seeds
Using a spoon, scrape out all the seeds. You can either keep the seeds to roast them for snacks and salad toppings or discard them.
Step 3: Bake
Place the squash on a baking sheet with the cut side facing upwards. Bake the squash at 400 °F (200 °C) for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, you can also steam the squash.
Do not overcook the squash as reheating it after thawing will cook it further. Slightly undercooked is better than overcooked.
Step 4: Cool
Once cooked, remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, run a fork lengthwise through the flesh of the squash to remove it from the skin and separate it into strands.
Step 5: Drain
Scoop all the spaghetti squash flesh into a colander. Place the colander over a large bowl that can catch the draining liquid. Make sure there is a space between the bottom of the bowl and the colander so that the spaghetti strands don’t soak in the liquids.
Place the colander and bowl in the refrigerator overnight to let the squash drain.
Step 6: Pack
Once drained, remove the colander from the fridge and scoop the spaghetti squash strands into a resealable freezer bag or airtight container.
If you are freezing a large batch, divide it into smaller portions for freezing. Lie the freezer bags flat and carefully press out any remaining air before sealing fully.
Step 7: Label and Freeze
Label the freezer bag with the date and contents and place it in the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash can go straight from the freezer into the steamer or microwave. It will thaw and heat up quickly so be careful not to overcook it, especially when using the microwave.
The squash can be placed in the refrigerator to thaw for an hour or 2 before using in baked dishes, adding to pasta sauces, or making a casserole.
Whether eaten stuffed, roasted, steamed, in an omelet, casserole, or as an alternative to pasta, spaghetti squash is a delicious and colorful addition to breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
This vegetable freezes well when cooked and drained beforehand, with its flavor and texture remaining mostly unchanged.
Whether you are saving leftovers or doing meal-prep for convenient week-night dinners, freezing cooked spaghetti squash is worth the extra bit of effort.
Not only is it quick to defrost, but you can put a meal together in almost no time when you have a stash of prepared spaghetti squash in the freezer ready to go.
*image by urban_light/depositphotos