Pinch me! Spaghetti Squash cooked perfectly in less than 25 minutes total? The Instant Pot truly is a godsend.
Unless you’re hiding under a rock, you know that the Instant Pot is all the rage these days. And for good reason. This appliance is a true miracle worker!
Don’t believe me?
What if I told you that you could make spaghetti squash – you know, the yummy, low-calorie pasta alternative that takes seriously foreveeeeeer (or 1+ hours – tom-aye-toe, tom-ah-toe) to prepare in the oven – in just 20 minutes total. As in, come to pressure, cook, and natural release, total.
Would you believe me then? Because if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.
Before the Instant Pot, my feelings about Spaghetti Squash were equally love and loathe.
I LOVED that it was a way to sneak in some veggies and enjoy “pasta” and pasta dishes without feeling weighed down (quite literally). Plus it’s gluten-free since it’s just a vegetable, so bonus points for that.
But I LOATHED that it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to prepare, pretty much relegating it to a weekend-only option – weeknight dinners must be simple and quick for us – which is also annoying because on the weekends I tend to exercise harder/longer, and therefore need more heavy, substantial fuel.
Then I tried my hand at preparing spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot and the clouds parted, angels sang, and I ran out and purchased more spaghetti squash than I am prepared or willing to admit to. But can you blame me? My beloved spaghetti squash is now able to be prepped, ready, and on the table in no more than 25 minutes, tops. Totally justifies dedicating an entire pantry shelf to the food, right? 😉
So how does this magic happen? On to the technical:
First, you’ll need to prep your spaghetti squash. To fit it in the Instant Pot, you’ll want to slice your squash “hamburger style” not “hot dog style” (first grade art class anyone?) aka width-wise not length-wise. You’ll also want to make sure you purchase and use a squash that is on the longer and skinnier side of things, and not over a few pounds, unless you have the larger 8-quart IP that can hold a bit more.
Next, you’ll want to scoop out the seeds and inner gunk. My favorite tool for this: a grapefruit spoon! The serrated edges work perfectly for stripping all the strings and seeds away. One-use kitchen tool, no more!
Then all you have to do is place the trivet that came with your Instant Pot in the bottom of the inner pot, add 1 cup of water, place the squash in the pot cut-side up, cover (set to sealing) and let the Instant Pot work it’s magic.
I’ve found that for a 2-3 pound squash, 7 minutes on manual high pressure is the ideal cook time for a fully cooked but slightly al dente texture. If you prefer your spaghetti squash on the softer side add a minute to the cook time, or subtract one of you like things on the really al dente side.
Then it’s as easy as letting the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, releasing the rest manually, and then digging in!
Over the years I’ve learned that spaghetti squash is best when smothered in a rich, flavorful sauce. And I mean smothered. Bolognese is a go-to for us, but I’m also a biiiiiig fan of chicken+vodka sauce on my spaghetti squash “pasta.”
Oh, and the VERY best part of spaghetti squash for me? I don’t have to share! Anthony isn’t wild about it – he’s a unabashed carb-loving Italian – which means MORE FOR ME, but also means that there are often leftovers.
But no worries – it freezes wonderfully! My mom first let me in on this secret, and I am so thankful she did. Just pop any leftovers you have in a freezer style ziplock baggie, squeeze all the air out, and then pop in your freezer for up to 2 months. Once you’re ready to eat just thaw in the fridge or on the counter top, warm it up in the microwave, and you’re all set!
But really, if THIS doesn’t turn you to the Instant Pot side, I really don’t know what will.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds)
- 1 cup hot water
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half width-wise, and scoop out the seeds in the center and discard.
- Place the trivet in the bottom of the inner pot of the Instant pot, and add the hot water. Place the spaghetti squash in the Instant pot, side by side and cut-side up, on top of the trivet.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and make sure the valve is set to seal. Set for 7 minutes on manual, high pressure, and then allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
- After 10 minute of natural release, you can quick release the rest of the pressure, or allow the pressure to naturally release all the way on it's own.
- Remove the lid and drain any water that has collected inside of the squash. Scoop the squash out of the skin and shred.
- Add your favorite sauce, and enjoy!
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