Difference Between Instant Pot And Crock Pot
A lot of people ask what the difference between using a pressure cooker vs a slow cooker. For me, its speed and convenience and there is a time and place for both appliances. I will not ever be getting rid of my slow cooker thats for sure, but what Im loving about my Instant Pot is that I can make what I wanted to make in my slow cooker in a fraction of the time. Since I only loosely follow a meal plan during the week, its really nice to know if I change plans I could make something that would have taken hours a lot quicker.
I believe my friend Bailey referred to the Instant Pot as a slow cooker for procrastinators and Ive been saying the same ever since.
How We Tested These Spaghetti Squash Cooking Methods
Squash: The spaghetti squash I used ranged in weight from 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. I had to purchase them from two different stores .
Tests: After trying each cooking method, I let the squash cool slightly and removed the strands. I tasted the strands as-is and then seasoned them with salt and pepper and tasted them again.
Time: The time Ive listed includes all active time plus cooking, which might include cutting the squash, scooping out seeds, preheating the oven, and cooling the squash slightly before extracting the strands.
Ratings: I rated each method of a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing perfection. The main factors that affected the ratings were texture and taste, but I also considered the ease or difficulty of the method.
What People Are Saying About This Recipe
All Instant Pots are variable, so we sent this pressure cooker spaghetti squash method to a few recipe testers before sharing it with you. It received rave reviews! Heres what people are saying about this method of how to cook spaghetti squash:
- The Instant Pot cooking of the spaghetti squash was awesome! It was perfectly cooked, not over. I even had a large spaghetti squash and it was thoroughly cooked! Ill make spaghetti squash spaghetti like this always! Way better than roasting for an hour. -Kristi
- The spaghetti squash still had a bit of crunch or al dente taste in a good way. It was very easy for me to shred/scoop out after getting it out of the Instant Pot. I will put it in the Instant Pot rotation! -Claire
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How To Cut Spaghetti Squash For The Longest Strands
If you’ve been cutting your spaghetti squash lengthwise, you aren’t alone! I did that for years! Then I ran across something on the internet that changed everything. I wish I could I remember where I saw it because I sure would link to it, but it has been too many years ago.
Cut it widthwise instead for the longest strands. When a spaghetti squash is cooked, the meat separates in strands that runs the circumference of the squash. So, when you cut them lengthwise, you are cutting them in half and they will be shorter.
I cut my spaghetti squash into wheels because I find it much easier to remove the seeds and separate the “meat” of the squash into beautiful long strands.
You can see exactly how I do that in this video below.
If you wanted to use the skin of the squash as a bowl, then you would want to cut the squash in half widthwise and not into wheels. Remove the seeds with a spoon, fluff the strands right in the “bowl” and top with your favorite sauce.
Tips For Cooking Spaghetti Squash
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How To Choose Best Spaghetti Squash
They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, including ivory, yellow and orange. Orange squash has the highest amount of beta carotene.
When shopping for spaghetti squash, look for thick, hard skin and no soft spots. Choose a squash that is heavy for its size. Choose unblemished clean squash with the dry stem intact.
How To Make The Spaghetti Squash In The Oven
Preheat oven to 400 F Cut the squash lengthwise in the middle. Using a fork, poke the outer skin few places.
Place the squash face down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or in a glass baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Squash is ready when you can easily separate the stands.
Cooking time will vary depending upon the size of the squash. Let it cool down before handling. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and middle membranes. Use the tines of the forks and move it around so the spaghetti like strands start to fall off.
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Whats The Best Way To Cook Spaghetti Squash
Determined to find the best method to cook spaghetti squash, I tested various methods for cooking spaghetti squashfrom microwaving and slow cooking to baking and pressure cooking. After cooking my weight in spaghetti squash, I can finally tell you that pressure cooking is the best and most effective way to cook this vegetable.
Ive extolled the virtues of pressure cooking before, and this is just more evidence of its awesomeness. My trusty stovetop pressure cookers have been workhorses in my kitchen for some time now, but these days, Im almost exclusively turning to my electric programmable Instant Pot.
Why Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot
There are three reasons to cook pasta in the Instant Pot / pressure cooker.
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Should You Cut The Spaghetti Squash In Half Lengthwise Or Crosswise
Well, that really depends on how you want to use the spaghetti squash. I know, vague answer so let me elaborate.
Do you want to use the spaghetti squash as part of your dinner presentation?
Lengthwise – is great for creating spaghetti squash bowls or boats where the squash itself becomes the serving vessel.
Do you want the longest, most slurp worthy spaghetti like noodles?
Crosswise – for longer spaghetti like strands . The strands run in concentric circles around the core of the squash so cutting the squash in the middle will allow you to have longer noodles.
Pro Tip: For best results run your fork around the perimeter of the squash, where the squash meets the skin rather than raking your fork through the middle of the squash.
If you’re opting to cook the Spaghetti Squash whole, the above info would also be applicable to how you decide to cut the cooked whole squash. Keep in mind that the cooked whole squash will yield soft flesh. Cutting either crosswise or lengthwise will work, however, if cutting lengthwise creating “boats” to serve spaghetti squash in may be more difficult.
How to Serve Spaghetti Squash:
Spaghetti squash is a great low-carb, Vegan, gluten-free , Keto and Paleo alternative to traditional pasta. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy spaghetti squash.
Why You Should Eat Spaghetti Squash
If you are looking to add a perfect low carb vegetarian option to your diet, spaghetti squash is an excellent choice. It is low in calories but high in fiber. It also is beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6 rich vegetable.
According to the USDA, 100 grams of spaghetti squash contains 6.91 grams of carbs, and 1.5 grams of fiber, making it a good choice for those who are trying to cut down on their carb intake.
A single serving of spaghetti squash only contains about 68 calories. Yet it is filling and nutritionally efficient. Low calorie count aids in weight loss. Compare that to regular spaghetti or pasta and you know why it is so good for you !
Next time you get the craving for a spaghetti dish, save yourself the calories and carbs. Make this versatile and healthy vegetarian Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash recipe instead.
It is also very economical and budget friendly vegetable. Spaghetti Squash are plentiful and super reasonably priced. They are hardy vegetables that can stay in well ventilated pantry for up-to 2 months. So, buy it often, cook it and savor them in multiple dishes.
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Can I Add Beef Or Sausage To My Spaghetti
While the recipes that I listed above definitely serve as a good starting point for branching out, theres still something to be said about taking this specific recipe and adding on to it.
Another one of my go-tos for sauce is to simply toss either sausage or lean ground beef into the instant pot, along with some red wine, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes.
How To Eat Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
Once you have cooked whole spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot you might need some ideas on how to eat it.
I love to eat Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with meat sauce or with my homemade Alfredo sauce.
It’s one of my favorite ways to eat Instant Pot spaghetti squash.
Once I make this instant pot recipe for whole spaghetti squash I usually eat it for dinner that night with meat sauce and a little mozzarella cheese or Parmesan cheese melted over it.
Then I store the leftover instant pot spaghetti squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat it during the week for lunch or dinner.
Sometimes I will make instant pot spaghetti squash and meatballs. Or I will make instant pot spaghetti squash chicken Alfredo.
Sometime this week I will be eating Instant Pot spaghetti squash with a homemade creamy basil alfredo sauce.
My mouth is drooling just thinking about it.
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How Can I Cut A Spaghetti Squash
Start by washing and drying a medium spaghetti squash.
Second, make sure you have a large, sharp food knife to slice the squash either in half vertically or horizontally into rings.
I find it much easier to cut the squash horizontally into rings. The squash cooks much quicker and the strands end up longer. If youre not making a stuffed spaghetti squash recipe, then feel free to choose whichever method you like best.
Afraid of to cut spaghetti squash? Another option is to poke a few holes in it and stick it in the Instant Pot this helps to soften the outer skin making it much easier to cut.
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- Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Open the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water.
- Stack the spaghetti squash on top of each other, cut-side up.
- Close the lid and make sure the vent on the top of the lid is closed.
- Set to manual, high-pressure for 5 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, turn the vent on the top of the lid to release the steam.
- Wait about 5 minutes for the steam and pressure to dissipate.
- Open the lid and test the spaghetti squash. Fork to turn squash into spaghetti-like noodles. Take a bite to test that it’s done. You can always cook for another 1-2 minutes on high pressure if needed.
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Since this is the easiest recipe, I mean it has easiest in the title, there are literally only 2 steps.
- 1 Large Spaghetti Squash that fits inside your Instant Pot liner
- 1 cup Water
You simply cook the squash for 30 minutes and then it is all good to go. I love that it is that simple and everyone will love this delicious recipe.
Tips For Cooking Perfect Spaghetti Squash:
- If youre planning to make stuffed spaghetti squash like these taco boats, cut your squash in half lengthwise. For longer noodles cut your squash width wise.
- Spaghetti squash is easier to cut once its cooked, but the seeds are easier to scoop out before its cooked.
- Spaghetti squash is super versatile. Its great as a filler for stuffed peppers, a base for protein, or keep it simple and serve al dente with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- If youre only cooking 1/2 of a squash, reduce your cooking time to 3 minutes per pound. This is a rule for any electric pressure cooker. If you chose to cut your squash but want to cook it all, place the squash halves on the trivet, cut side up, and still cook for 6 minutes per pound.
- If youre filling your squash, you might want to bake the spaghetti squash in a baking dish for a few minutes to brown the top before serving.
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How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Last
When stored in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry, an uncut spaghetti squash will last for 1 to 3 months. Avoid storing uncooked spaghetti squash in the refrigerator, as that can change the flavor of the squash and may make make it spoil faster.
A spaghetti squash should be firm and free of soft spots or dark spots. The stem should be intact and dry.
After cooking, leftover spaghetti squash can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Is Great For:
- Low carb, gluten free, paleo diet
- Some people enjoy it as a low carb substitute for pasta, but dont expect spaghetti squash to replace pasta because the textures and tastes are very different. However, the mild, delicate flavor can serve as a side with rich sauces or made into a flavorful main dish.
- Easy & quick no fuss light, healthy snack or salad
Saut Onion Garlic Spices And Vegetables
Add the minced onions, minced garlic, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of dried oregano and dried basil in the pressure cooker. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the spices start to release their fragrance. Stir frequently.
Then, add in the minced carrots and celery. Sauté for another 3 minutes.
Taste & season with kosher salt and ground black pepper if desired.
How To Prevent Foaming During Quick Release
A common complaint when making Instant Pot pasta is that you may experience sputtering and foaming upon performing a quick release of pressure when the pasta is done cooking. To be honest, Ive only had this happen once, and it was when I used a pasta brand other than my normal one. Which leads me to think that it could be brand dependent.
If you do experience this issue, there are a few tactics you can use to minimize and/or prevent it:
- Add some olive oil to the ingredients before pressure cooking. About one tablespoon per pound of pasta should do the trick.
- Release the pressure more slowly by turning the steam release knob just slightly instead of full open.
- Similar to the wooden spoon across the top of the pot stovetop trick, place a trivet over top of the dry pasta. Then add the water and salt and pressure cook according to the recipe directions.
Or you could just do what I did turn the steam release knob to full open and throw a towel over top to contain the overspray! #whateverworks
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How Many Net Carbs Are In Spaghetti Squash
One cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 7 gm net carbs. Since its full of fiber, the net carbs come down to acceptable Keto / low carb level.
Heres the breakdown per 1 cup of serving: 10 G of Net Carbs -3 G fiber = 7 G Net Carbs. Thus, spaghetti squash can help you cut down on carbs compare to traditional pasta dishes.
Ok Now The Breakdown Of How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
- My preferred method is to cut the spaghetti squash in half like the above photo.
- Then I scrape out the seeds and place the halves cut side down on a lined baking sheet and roast until tender.
I also tried the method of cutting the spaghetti squash into rings like the above photo for longer noodles. And I have to say from my perspective so not worth the hassle, but to each their own, I might be just a little too impatient!
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