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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spaghetti Squash: Low-Carb Pasta

Spaghetti Squash has had a special place in my career at Frieda’s. It was the first product for which I developed a recipe, shortly after I started working full time for my mom. And that recipe ended up on the label adorning the millions of Spaghetti Squash we have shipped over the years.

In the late 1970s, a small grower shipped us 10 big boxes of what looked like giant yellow footballs. Spaghetti Squash, as it was known, had become a home gardening favorite because it was so easy to grow. It grew quickly and could be stored for months after harvest, thanks to its hard outer shell (unlike zucchini squash). The grower had planted many acres of this unique squash and called Frieda’s to help him market it. (BTW, many similar scenarios have played out at Frieda’s over the years -- it’s how we get involved in so many new products. A grower starts producing something new with no plan on what to do when it is harvested, and then he contacts Frieda’s to do the marketing!)

And of course, what was so amazing about this new vegetable was that its flesh magically turned into spaghetti-like strands when you ran a fork through it (after cooking). The timing was perfect on our introduction of Spaghetti Squash. Weight Watchers had just started catching on in the United States, and dieters were tired of substituting cooked bean sprouts for pasta.

Voilà! Spaghetti Squash was the perfect pasta substitute. But, how to educate produce managers and consumers? Well, we had to label each squash, and of course, we needed an easy and simple recipe.

So, I went home to my apartment in Hollywood and opened up my refrigerator and pantry. With no extra time to go shopping, I created my first recipe! Not only was it easy to prepare, it was tasty, too. (Thank goodness microwaves were becoming commonplace in the 1970s. Cooking in the oven on a summer day was not desirable.)

I came to work the next day with recipe in hand. It went off to the label printer, and two weeks later we began shipping our first labeled Spaghetti Squash.

Now, fast forward to 2010, and you will find those “yellow footballs” available year-round in most produce departments across the United States. There are now many growers around the country who grow and ship Spaghetti Squash. Although you will find that most are labeled, sometimes it’s just the name and country of origin on the label. However, you will still find Frieda’s Spaghetti Squash label with usage instructions, nutritional information, plus our 100% satisfaction guarantee and our website,, so you can get more recipes.

Here is my first recipe, which was also featured in my cookbook, The Purple Kiwi Cookbook:

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Italiano

1 Spaghetti Squash (cut in half lengthwise), cooked*, seeds removed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated zucchini squash
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. dried basil
Dash of garlic powder
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Scrape the interior of the cooked squash with two forks to separate the pulp into spaghetti-like strands. Place in a large mixing bowl and reserve the empty shell halves.

Add the Cheddar cheese, zucchini, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, basil and garlic powder and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the empty squash shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

* (To cook Spaghetti Squash, place halves cut side up in a microwaveable dish with 1/4 cup water; cover loosely. Microwave on high for 7 to 10 minutes, turning dish a quarter turn every 3 minutes. Texture will be tender with a slightly crisp bite.)

Enjoy, and let me know YOUR favorite way to make Spaghetti Squash. Oh, and remember, Spaghetti Squash is gluten-free!



  1. I don’t want recipes from Karen. I want big picture perspectives. Don’t demean yourself or me with this kind of trivial writing/information. It is NOT why most of us signed up for your blog!

  2. I appreciate your feedback. This blog on Spaghetti Squash was truly about how our company’s move to label squash revolutionized the marketing of hard-shelled squash in America. I included the recipe to share how easy it is to prepare – and with pride since it was my first recipe developed for the company.

  3. Good morning Karen! I really enjoy reading your blog. This morning's spaghetti squash subject, made me want to eat some today!
    My favorite way of eating is pretty easy, and delicious. I scoop out a cooked squash, and sauté the spaghetti-like strands, along with thinly sliced leeks, in olive oil. Salt and pepper is all I add when its just about done. Ohh yum!

  4. Thanks, I will definitely try this recipe. Have been dying to make something with spaghetti squash!

  5. I've yet to try this, but I want to. Delicious. Thanks for visiting me today!

  6. Hey Karen, my mom grew this and we prepared it using your recipe which we did many versions of – s. squash is so versatile and you can’t go wrong with cheese and tomatoes as the basic ingredients. I never knew that we were using your recipe, I can’t wait to tell my mom! We must have made thousands of them over the years. When they were in production in our Michigan garden they went like gang busters for quite a while. Plus we bought them in the store in the winter. We liked to prepare them as the entrée too sometimes by adding Italian sausage to the tomato sauce.

    Well, in the Midwest s. squash were a real craze for a while, all of the ladies were cooking them. How great to know that it was started by Frieda’s with your recipe, how cool is that!
    Dr. Roberta Cook

  7. Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

    Green Tea

  8. Thanks Karen. I have made spaghetti squash at home but just used butter and cheese on kids have not been thrilled. I will try this recipe!

  9. I've never heard of Spaghetti squash but am not super excited to try it. I realize that it is available year round, but how do you tell if it is ripe? Any special recommendations on how to cook with it?


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