Allow the unique long strands of the spaghetti squash to do the hard work for you and take your salad presentation skills to the next level by not doing much at all. Umami, earthy and nutty, this recipe falls under the satisfying vegan salad category.
- Why You’ll Love Spaghetti Squash Salad
- What Is Spaghetti Squash?
- How to Cook Spaghetti Squash?
- What Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like?
- How Do You Get Longer Strands of Spaghetti Squash?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Main Dishes for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love Spaghetti Squash Salad
Like most vegetables, we are always conditioned to prepare and eat them a certain way. No doubt you’ve had stuffed spaghetti squash many times, all filled with fun and interesting ingredients.
But let’s make this super cool vegetable into a salad with our method of making extra long strands. You’ll love the effect it has and also how much fun it is to pry the ribbons open with your fingers.
This salad also allows you to try asparagus raw, which is something we don’t normally do. And we also show you how to make a roasted sesame dressing rather than getting a store-bought bottle.
You’ll also love it because it doesn’t have many ingredients as we want to showcase the spaghetti squash, so it’s easy. It’s also a “wow” salad that’s perfect for entertaining.
What Is Spaghetti Squash?
Much like zucchini, pumpkin and cucumber, spaghetti squash grows on a vine that creeps along the ground, probably why they are always compared to these vegetables.
The spaghetti squash, however, is much cooler with its hard pale-yellow skin and oblong shape. Raw, this vegetable has seeds in the centre much like a pumpkin and also hard flesh. The magic, however, happens when you cook the spaghetti squash. The once hard flesh not only softens, but its stringy texture becomes strands, just like spaghetti!
Also known as vegetable spaghettis, vegetable marrow, noodle squash and even squaghetti, it truly is one of a kind. For those wanting to reduce their carb intake, the spaghetti squash is quite a popular alternative.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash?
The best way to cook spaghetti squash in our books is to bake it. But you can boil, steam or even put it in the microwave.
What Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like?
Bland is probably the first word that comes to mind, and it tastes very much like zucchini.
It is, therefore, a great vegetable to create recipes with as it tends to absorb the flavours around it.
How Do You Get Longer Strands of Spaghetti Squash?
The most common way of cooking spaghetti squash is to cut the vegetable in half lengthways. The seeds are scooped out and then coated with olive oil and placed in the oven.
When softened, use a fork to scrape the flesh to extract the strands gently.
The problem with this method is that you don’t get long strands. The best way to get long strands is to cut the vegetable crossways into large discs about 2cm wide. When you look at the flesh, you will see that the strands run in a circular motion.
Remove the seeds from the centre, coat and bake in the oven. When cooled, remove the outer skin, and you’ll be able to pry the strands apart with your fingers, creating these long spaghetti strands.
Don’t scrape and break up the ribbons! See below for exactly how to do this.
Flavour/Texture: Spaghetti squash is by nature bland, soft and rather limp. To enhance that texture, delicate asparagus ribbons are added, and whole roasted cashews give it the crunch it needs.
The roasted sesame dressing is strong in flavour to lift the salad. It is salty, umami, earthy and nutty. Let the spaghetti squash absorb all the dressing to create a really interesting and fun salad.
Ease: The only cooking component is baking the spaghetti squash, which is pretty simple. Prying the strands apart after cooking is incredibly satisfying!
Purchase cashews and sesame seeds that are already roasted, so it cuts out one step. The asparagus just need shaving while the dressing is easy to put together.
Time: The total time is 1 hour to make the salad recipe. 40 minutes of that time is the spaghetti squash baking away in the oven and then another 15 minutes waiting for it to cool down. While that’s roasting away, you can prepare the other parts of the recipe.
Spaghetti squash: We’re on a mission to make a vegan spaghetti squash recipe that you’ll love! Not stuffed. Not scraped. Just baked into lovely long strands. 1 large spaghetti squash will suffice, but if you’d like to make it a meal, double the servings for 4 people.
Olive oil: Use your favourite olive oil for this recipe.
Asparagus: As you’re eating this raw, they have to be very fresh. Be sure that they are bright green, the tips aren’t limp, and the stems aren’t wrinkly. If you’re able to buy them individually, that would be best. This way, you can inspect them one at a time.
For you asparagus lovers< you may also like these salad recipes:
- White Asparagus Salad with Persian Fetta with Chilli
- Asparagus Pasta Salad with Pecan Pesto
- Asparagus, Roasted Onion and Balsamic Tomato Salad
Cashews: Roasted cashews work best. Easy enough to buy a small packet. Enjoy any leftovers as a snack.
Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are great for making a raw vegan salad dressing. It is so earthy and nutty and even so much better when it’s roasted. You can easily purchase them already roasted, but if you can’t, just dry toast them on a fry pan for a few seconds until golden brown.
Rice wine vinegar: Perfect for an Asian salad dressing. It is less acidic and is sweeter in taste.
Sesame oil: An important component of the salad dressing with its aromatic fragrance. Not too much is required as we don’t want to overpower the recipe.
Soy sauce: Any soy sauce brand will work fine. It gives the dressing recipe some umami flavours and added saltiness.
Brown sugar: As the salad ingredients are all fairly bland, a small dose of brown sugar gives it that extra caramel-like finishes.
Mirin: Adding some Japanese rice wine to enhance the flavours.
Salt and pepper: to taste
How to Make the Salad
Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Cut the spaghetti squash crossways about 2cm wide.
With 1 tbsp of olive oil, coat the spaghetti squash all around. Use the remaining olive oil to baste the sheet pan lightly.
Place it in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn over the spaghetti squash and roast for another 20 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Then gently remove the outer skin and, using your fingers, pry the strands apart.
How to Shave Asparagus
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus.
Lay flat on a chopping board, and with a wide peeler, shave the asparagus from the stem to the spear.
Continue until you can’t shave anymore.
How to Make the Dressing
Place the roasted sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle. Give it a short grind, not too much that it turns into a paste.
Add the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin.
Stir until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the spaghetti squash and cashews. Add ¾ of roasted sesame dressing and toss until well combined.
On a long oval platter, place the asparagus ribbons down the centre, the length of the platter.
Add the spaghetti squash and cashews on top.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of roasted sesame on top.
Drizzle the rest of the dressing on the side of the plate.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variations and Substitutions
Spaghetti squash substitute: Spaghetti squash sure is one-of-a-kind vegetables, but you can certainly make “spaghetti” out of zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, beetroot, cucumber or kohlrabi. You can choose to eat it raw or give it a quick blanch to soften the crunchier vegetables.
Asparagus substitute: Much like using a spiraliser to make noodles out of vegetables, the same applies to making ribbons out of vegetables. You can try parsnip, carrot, fennel and turnip as possible substitutes for asparagus.
Store-bought dressing: The famous Kewpie roasted sesame dressing would be perfect for this salad if you don’t want to make your own. The Kewpie version, however, is creamy, while this homemade salad dressing is not.
Gluten free version: You can replace soy sauce with tamari for a gluten free recipe.
Mirin substitute: If you don’t have mirin, you can use sake or omit it altogether.
Add ginger: If you’d like to give an extra oomph, grate 1 tsp of fresh ginger and add to the salad dressing.
Unroasted sesame seeds and cashews: If you only have unroasted sesame seeds, give them a quick toss on a dry fry pan until golden brown. The same applies to the cashews.
Great Main Dishes for This Salad
Pan seared pork chops: This recipe is made with an incredible marinade are perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Family friendly food and so delicious when paired with Spaghetti Squash Salad with Asparagus.
Greek Chicken Bake: Lemony, garlicky and filled with oregano aromatics. This one-pan Greek-style chicken and potato traybake is incredibly easy, budget-friendly and delicious!
Easy Sweet Spicy Air Fryer Salmon: Chili and honey are intertwine deliciously in this crispy Air Fryer salmon recipe. With just 6 ingredients, you can have this salmon on the table in less than 15 minutes. Serve it with some spaghetti squash salad for the perfect side!
Frequently Asked Questions
No, they are not the same thing, with the greatest difference between their texture when cooked. Spaghetti squash has its signature stringy texture that forms into strands.
In contrast, butternut squash is smooth and even slightly creamy, making for a great mash side dish.
This is the battle of the squoodles vs zoodles. Zucchini has long been the perfect vegetable to spiralise and made into a vegan pasta alternative as it is crunchy. When eaten raw, it has an al dente texture. You can even blanch it quickly to soften the crunch.
Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, is very soft and almost squishy. Compared to the zoodle, it is quite limp and doesn’t hold it’s form well. Hence, it is not the same as the zucchini.
You will find that shaving asparagus will leave you with about ¼ of the vegetable left as you won’t be able to physically shave it into ribbons past a certain point.
Keep the remaining asparagus to be eaten as your side dish for the next meal, or even add it to a stir fry.
You can make the separate components in advance, but you can’t assemble it with the roasted sesame dressing and let it sit for some time to be eaten later. As it is, the spaghetti squash is so soft that dousing it with more liquid would make it all mushy.
Prepare everything in advance but assemble when you’re ready to eat.
The flavoursome roasted sesame dressing is well absorbed into the soft strands of the spaghetti squash, creating mouthfuls of deliciousness! The raw asparagus adds a little texture, while the cashews give the spaghetti squash salad crunch. So good!
More Vegetarian Salad Recipes
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- Honeyed Fig Salad in Mango Puree
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Easy Salad Dressing Recipes
Salad dressings are incredibly easy to make in the comfort of your own home. This way you can control the ingredients to suit your palate and you can make the exact portion you need for that one meal. We have a huge collection of recipes and you may just like some of these:
Ingredient Pairing Ideas
If you’d like to create your own salad and have an ingredient you’d like to hero, we have some great pairing suggestions to help you work out what flavours go well together.
Don’t want to miss out on a recipe? Feed your FOMO and we’ll deliver it into your inbox!
Spaghetti Squash Salad with Asparagus
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Cut the spaghetti squash crossways about 2 cm wide. With 1 tbsp of olive oil, coat the spaghetti squash all around. Use the remaining olive oil to baste the sheet pan lightly.Place it in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn over the spaghetti squash and roast for another 20 minutes.Remove and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.Then gently remove the outer skin and, using your fingers, pry the strands apart.
- Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. Lay flat on a chopping board, and with a wide peeler, shave the asparagus from the stem to the spear. Continue until you can’t shave anymore.
- Place the roasted sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle. Give it a short grind, not too much that it turns into a paste.
- Add the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin.
- Stir until well combined.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the spaghetti squash and cashews. Add ¾ of roasted sesame dressing and toss until well combined.
- On a long oval platter, place the asparagus ribbons down the centre, the length of the platter.
- Add the spaghetti squash and cashews on top.
- Sprinkle 1 tsp of roasted sesame on top.
- Drizzle the rest of the dressing on the side of the plate.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spaghetti squash sure is one-of-a-kind vegetables, but you can certainly make “spaghetti” out of zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, beetroot, cucumber or kohlrabi. You can choose to eat it raw or give it a quick blanch to soften the crunchier vegetables.
- Much like using a spiraliser to make noodles out of vegetables, the same applies to making ribbons out of vegetables. You can try parsnip, carrot, fennel and turnip as possible substitutes for asparagus.
- The famous Kewpie roasted sesame dressing will be perfect for this salad if you don’t want to make your own. The Kewpie version, however, is creamy, while this homemade salad dressing is not.
- You can replace soy sauce with tamari for a gluten free recipe.
- If you don’t have mirin, you can use sake or omit it altogether.
- If you’d like to give an extra oomph, grate 1 tsp of fresh ginger and add to the salad dressing.
- If you only have unroasted sesame seeds, give them a quick toss on a dry fry pan until golden brown. The same applies to the cashews.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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