Buttered spaghetti squash makes for an easy side dish to have with your wintery comfort food. Serve it up with some homemade garlic parmesan crisps for some crunch and extra flavour.
- Why You’ll Love Buttered Spaghetti Squash
- Is Spaghetti Squash the Same as Butternut Squash?
- How To Cut Spaghetti Squash?
- How To Make Parmesan Crisps?
- Why Are My Cheese Crisps Not Crispy?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Make This Side Dish Perfectly
- What To Serve with Buttered Spaghetti Squash?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love Buttered Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is one of those winter squashes that is always so impressive. The gorgeous strands provide such a unique way of presenting a fancy side dish for an otherwise simple looking squash!
Add some butter, fresh oregano leaves, salt and pepper and gently stir through and you have yourself an easy and simple side dish to have with any meal!
The homemade parmesan crisps are to die for. I’d make a second batch just in case they get before dinner even hits the table! The trick is to make sure you use good quality parmesan cheese as we have done in our Parmesan Chipotle Corn Salad with Black Beans.
This is a fun way to make garlic parmesan spaghetti squash. You can even use the parmesan crisps as a scoop or chip to scoop up some of the buttered spaghetti squash!
Is Spaghetti Squash the Same as Butternut Squash?
As 2 of the more popular winter squashes, they often get mistaken for one another when, in fact, they are quite different:
External appearance: Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two is their outward appearance. The spaghetti squash is oval in shape and yellow in colour, while a butternut squash has a distinctive bell shape and is beige in colour.
Internal appearance: While the spaghetti squash has a bright exterior, it has a pale-yellow interior. Butternut squash is the opposite. Void of vibrant colours in its skin, it is orange in colour internally. It actually goes a bright orange when it is cooked.
Taste: Spaghetti squash is very mild in flavour and can be considered quite neutral. Hence it is great for being able to add many different flavour enhancements to create diverse dishes. The butternut squash, however, is slightly sweet and has a nutty flavour.
Texture: It is the unique texture of the spaghetti squash form where it gets its name. When cooked, the flesh of the spaghetti squash becomes stringy and resembles that of spaghetti noodles. The butternut squash, when cooked, remains intact in its form but soft right through.
For an Asian inspired spaghetti squash recipe, try our Spaghetti Squash Salad with Asparagus.
How To Cut Spaghetti Squash?
Much like all large fruit and vegetables that are large with hard skin. Placing a round/oval object on a flat surface while using a large knife is always challenging.
If you don’t have a heavy chopping board, I always place the chopping board on a wet paper towel or kitchen cloth. This gives the chopping board a bit of resistance so it doesn’t go flying off!
Then using a large, sharp knife, I tend to pierce the top of the spaghetti squash to give me a starting point. Remember, we are cutting it lengthways. Slowly, place pressure on the knife and push down.
If your knife is large enough, I use my other hand to push down on the pointy end of the knife to ensure pressure is evenly distributed.
If the knife is not big enough, be careful when removing it from the spaghetti squash as you turn it around to cut the other side.
How To Make Parmesan Crisps?
Parmesan crisps are so easy to make and you don’t need to succumb to the store-bought ones. This way, you know exactly what goes into it. You can also create several different flavours at once for some variety.
Grate a fresh block of good parmesan cheese. Please don’t get the thinly grated ones. It won’t work. If you have more than you need you can use it in our Keto Brussels Sprouts Salad with Shaved Parmesan or Classic Caesar Salad.
Either using a sheet pan with baking paper, an oven proof silicone mat or even a muffin tray, evenly distribute the grated parmesan. Don’t pile it too heavily. For a wafer-thin crisp, less is more. And you can spread out the cheese a bit.
Then flavour the crisps with whatever your heart desires but make sure whatever you add, it is in a dried form. Do not add anything wet, i.e., sauces.
Place in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for about 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it constantly. It’s not something you can walk away from. Once it starts to brown to the consistency you like, remove and let it cool down.
Why Are My Cheese Crisps Not Crispy?
There are a few factors that may contribute to why your parmesan crisps are not crispy.
Overcrowding: Adding too much grated parmesan in a heap. Make sure it is thinly spread out and evenly. The thinner they are, the crispier they will be.
Adding liquid: If you add a liquid substance such as a sauce, you make it hard for the crisp to crisp up. It makes the cheese soft and harder to crisp up without burning it.
Cooling: You must allow it time to cool down properly. Melt cheese, as you know, is soft. Give it time to cool down so that it can harden.
Flavour/Texture: The spaghetti squash is soft and fluffy, and with the added butter, it will be delicate. The parmesan crisps, on the other hand, will be crunchy, providing the dish with a good balance.
This is also the case with the flavour. A mild flavour is enhanced by some rich butter, while the saltiness of the parmesan crisps will be nice and salty with garlicky undertones.
Ease: The spaghetti squash is a set and forget. Just let the oven do its thing. The parmesan crisps are easy to make in principle but be sure to apply all the tips and tricks mentioned for optimal crunch!
Time: This side dish takes an hour, but that whole time is in the oven. Go about preparing the parmesan crisps and the rest of your meal while that’s cooking away.
These are the ingredients you need for Buttered Spaghetti Squash:
Spaghetti squash: Depending on the size of the spaghetti squash, get 1 big one or 2 small ones. If you wish to avoid having to cut them in half, you can buy them in halves. This will also allow you to buy 1½ spaghetti squash too without any going to waste.
I can also prefer to get the halves so that I can see the inside of the squash to make sure they are fresh.
Oregano: Get fresh oregano leaves instead of using dried leaves.
Parmesan cheese: Use a fresh block of parmesan or parmigiano Reggiano. For supreme flavours, the pre-grated or dried versions are not going to be as tasty.
Black sesame: They don’t have to be toasted as they will be toasted together with the parmesan cheese when making the parmesan crisps.
Variations and Substitutions
Oregano substitute: you can use quite a variety of herbs as a substitute if you wish. You can use coriander/cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, chives, chervil or marjoram.
Parmesan crisps flavours: As the buttered spaghetti squash is relatively mild in flavour, there are many other options when it comes to flavouring the homemade parmesan crisps.
You can try seasonings such as everything bagel, taco, Italian or BBQ. Other spices you may want to experiment with would include paprika, cayenne pepper, hot chilli pepper, a touch of cumin or even curry powder.
Black sesame seeds: You can, of course, use white sesame seeds for this recipe or even substitute it entirely with poppy seeds or nigella seeds.
Step by step instructions for how to make Buttered Spaghetti Squash
How To Make Buttered Spaghetti Squash
Turn the oven on at 180°C or 350°F.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthways. Remove seeds. Coat with olive oil thoroughly.
Line a sheet pan with baking paper. Place spaghetti squash flat side down and bake for 1 hour.
Add the butter into a mixing bowl.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and turn them over. Using a fork, scrape the flesh and fluff them out and put in a mixing bowl.
Allow the warmth of the squash to melt the butter. Add ½ the oregano, salt and pepper and mix gently.
Place a serve of buttered spaghetti squash into a circular mould on top of a serving plate. Repeat 3 more times.
Sprinkle the rest of the chopped oregano on top as garnish.
How to Make Parmesan Crisps
While the spaghetti squash is baking, grate parmesan cheese.
On a sheet pan lined with baking paper, place small portions of parmesan cheese evenly without them touching. Alternatively, you can use a silicone mat if you have one or even muffin trays to make sure they really stay intact.
Sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder and black sesame seeds on top of each.
After the spaghetti squash is done, place the parmesan in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely!
Remove and set aside to cool. It is important to let it cool properly to give it time to crisp up.
How to Serve
When the spaghetti squash are completed, serve it with a bowl of parmesan crisps.
You can plate these up individually too.
How to Make This Side Dish Perfectly
Be gentle: Don’t be too rough with the spaghetti squash. When you’re scraping it out with the fork, you’re essentially trying to “fluff” it. And when you’re placing it inside the mould, don’t push It down too hard, or everything will just get mushy.
Even distribution: For the best results for the parmesan crisps, ensure they are evenly distributed. This way you can ensure that they are also baked evenly, making the process much easier.
Allow it to cool: For the parmesan crisps to crisp up nicely, not only do you need to ensure they are melted properly and brown a little, you need to give it time to cool down so that it hardens. Otherwise it will stay soft, as you are, after all, dealing with melted cheese.
Spread them out: To ensure that the parmesan crisps don’t all stick together as it starts to melt, ensure you have ample spacing between each pile of cheese. Give it room to melt. You can also try the muffin tray trick so that they are contained within each mould.
Watch closely: It is important to watch the parmesan crisps closely. They do tend to brown quickly and once it does, take it out before they burn.
What To Serve with Buttered Spaghetti Squash?
Looking for some comfort warmers to have with this spaghetti squash side dish? Try these recipes:
For a vegetarian feast, try this hearty vegetarian chili con carne. You won’t be disappointed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can eat the skin of the spaghetti squash. The entire squash is, in fact, edible. Is it tasty, though? Probably not. After cooking, the skin becomes paper thin and doesn’t taste very nice.
The best way to tell if a spaghetti squash is ripe is by its colour. When it is ripe, it turns a bright yellow. The skin is always really hard. It should not have soft spots or dark blemishes.
The best way to prevent parmesan crisps from sticking is to place them on top of parchment paper or an oven proof silicone mat.
This way, it won’t stick to the bottom of the sheet pan. If you’re using the muffin tray method, you can cut out some pieces of parchment paper to lien it or spray it with some oil.
Buttered spaghetti squash never looked or tasted better. Serve it up with garlic parmesan crisps perfectly baked with some black sesame seeds. Such a fantastic combination of flavours and textures and the perfect winter side dish!
More Winter Side Dishes
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Buttered Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan Crisps
Buttered Spaghetti Squash
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Buttered Spaghetti Squash
- Turn oven on at 180°C or 350°F.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthways. Remove seeds. Coat with olive oil thoroughly.
- Line a sheet pan with baking paper. Place spaghetti squash flat side down and bake for 1 hour. (move onto parmesan crisp instruction below)
- Add the butter into a mixing bowl.
- Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and turn them over. Using a fork, scrape the flesh and fluff them out and put in a mixing bowl. Allow the warmth of the squash to melt the butter. Add ½ the oregano, salt and pepper and mix gently.
- Place a serve of buttered spaghetti squash into a circular mould on top of a serving plate. Repeat 3 more times.
- Sprinkle the rest of the chopped oregano on top as garnish.
- While the spaghetti squash is baking, grate parmesan cheese. On a sheet pan lined with baking paper, place small portions of parmesan cheese evenly, without them touching. Alternatively, you can use a silicone mat if you have one or even muffin trays to make sure they really stay intact.
- Sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder and black sesame seeds on top of each.
- After the spaghetti squash is done, place the parmesan in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely!
- Remove and set aside to cool. It is important to let it cool properly to give it time to crisp up.
- When the spaghetti squash are completed, serve it with a bowl of parmesan crisps or place some parmesan crisps on the side of the plate.
- You can use quite a variety of herbs as an oregano substitute if you wish. You can use coriander/cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, chives, chervil or marjoram.
- Parmesan crisps flavours: As the buttered spaghetti squash is relatively mild in flavour, there are many other options when it comes to flavouring the homemade parmesan crisps. You can try seasonings such as everything bagel, taco, Italian or BBQ. Other spices you may want to experiment with would include paprika, cayenne pepper, hot chilli pepper, a touch of cumin or even curry powder.
- You can, of course, use white sesame seeds for this recipe or even substitute it entirely with poppy seeds or nigella seeds.
- Don’t over handle the spaghetti squash after you have removed all the flesh. They will turn mushy and become less fluffy.
- Be sure to space out the parmesan crisps on the sheet pan so they don’t touch.
- Don’t over pile the parmesan cheese. And make it’s even in amount.
- Allow parmesan crisps to cool down so it can crisp up.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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