One of the hardest things to change when we switched to a whole foods diet was giving up pasta, but Instant Pot spaghetti squash makes a great substitute!
Why Spaghetti Squash Instead of Pasta?
Well, for starters, spaghetti squash is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
Spaghetti squash in particular is high in beta carotene and vitamin C!
It is also a lower calorie food than pasta.
And the biggest factor for me is the difference in carbohydrates!! (my keto roots)
Just reading that stat for the regular noodles almost put me into a carb coma!
For some people, that might not affect you, but for me, all those carbs would put me to sleep!
I just find that my body runs better on a low-carb diet, but I know that it’s not for everyone.
All I would say is, even if you can eat all the carbs in the world and it doesn’t affect you, give spaghetti squash a try.
The extra nutrients and antioxidants alone make it worth the switch, but other advantages include better digestive health, more fiber, and trace minerals! (see full article here)
What Works Best – Cutting the Spaghetti Squash in Half or Cooking it Whole?
A few things to note as you start in on this recipe, you can either cut the squash open and scoop out the seeds before cooking (I prefer this method) or you can Instant Pot the squash whole.
I have had better luck with the squash cooking evenly when I cut it in half.
When you cut the spaghetti squash in half, you have the option to cut it length wise or width wise.
Totally your choice which way you cut it and here’s the difference: cutting the squash width wise will give you longer strands whereas cutting it length wise will give you shorter strands.
To help you decide, it might depend on what you intend to do with it after cooking it.
If you plan to use the squash for spaghetti noodles to serve with, say, a homemade tomato basil pasta sauce, then you probably want longer strands that way it will be like noodles.
But, say you are going to use it for the substitution I suggest in the Basil Lime Chicken Stir-Fry, then you probably want shorter strands so it’s easier to eat with all of the other vegetables in the dish.
So cut it either way you want, but keep in mind what recipe you will be using it in!
Additional Tips for Making Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
You can also place the halves facing up or down and your squash will cook just fine.
But here’s the difference – when you place the halves facing down, the squash loses the stringiness that makes it like pasta and it turns out a bit mushier.
When the halves are facing up, the squash is a bit crunchier and strings apart like spaghetti.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
Difficulty Level: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes for squash halves and 15 minutes for a whole squash (this does NOT include heat up time for the instant pot which will be about 10-15 minutes)
- 2-3 pounds spaghetti squash
- 2 cups vegetable broth, chicken bone broth, or water
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional, but I do think this makes for tastier squash)
- ¼ cup butter
- Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash with a brush under running water.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds OR pierce the skin of the squash all over if cooking it whole.
- Place the trivet inside the Instant Pot, pour in the broth, and position the squash halves on top of it as evenly as possible facing up or down (read above for the difference). If the squash is cut in half, sprinkle the halves with the salt.
- Put on the lid and position the vent valve to the sealing position.
- Select Pressure Cook and set to the correct cook time depending on if you are starting from a whole or halved squash.
- Whole Squash: 15 minutes
- Halved Squash: 8 minutes
- For whole or halves, after the pressure cook time has elapsed, put a wet wash cloth over the vent valve (to reduce liquid spraying all over your kitchen) and turn the vent valve to quickly release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and allow the steam to dissipate for a couple minutes before using a large fork to remove the squash and place onto a plate or bowl to rest for 10 minutes before cutting (if whole) and scraping out the strands with a fork.
- Top with butter while it is still hot to melt the butter. If you cooked the squash whole, sprinkle with salt at this time. Once the butter has mostly melted, mix until combined and serve plain as a side or as the base of a recipe.
- If you used broth for the cooking liquid, let it cool down and then put it in a jar.
Store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Also, spaghetti squash freezes really well. Put in an airtight glass container, plastic zip lock bag, or my new favorite, a resealable silicone bag and store for up to a year.