Gluten Free, Paleo Food Swap: Grain Free Pasta Replacement #1

Whether you’re looking for a healthy alternative to traditional gluten free pasta, or are  trying to swap out the grains and processed foods for (real food) veggies, here’s a simple substitute that you might enjoy.

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? After you steam it, you can rub a fork through it, and it’ll become stringy like spaghetti. Of course, it doesn’t have as soft a texture, but with the right sauce on top, it’s really quite tasty.  It’s not for everyone, but why not give it a try?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are three different ones from our local, organic farm. Notice the one on the right looks orange. That’s because it was grown next to the pumpkins! Pretty amazing, huh? A good way to peak interest in how food grows, and where it comes from, in children.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Normally, spaghetti squash is yellow, like the one in the middle. When you cut through it, you can see there are seeds inside. I scooped them out of the half on the right side.  You need to do so before you steam them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATurn each half over, and you can see below  what the outer skin looks like.

Okay, so once you’ve cut it in half, and scooped out the seeds, that’s when you put some water in a large pot, about an inch or two. If the water line goes above the steamer, then you pour some out.

Note: In case you haven’t used one before, a steamer is a metal basket with holes in it, which allows steam to heat veggies without having them actually touch the water.  It’s a simple, inexpensive cooking method that retains more nutrients.

If your squash is too big to fit into the pot, then you can cut each on in half again and try to fit them in that way. Or just get a larger pot.

Here’s what mine looked like as they were steaming away:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It takes about 20 to 30 minutes of steaming on medium to high heat before the halves or quarters are soft enough.  With a pot holder, you’ll want to flip one over and stick a fork in it to see if it goes through easily enough. If not, steam it for another 5 minutes and check again.

Just be careful not to overcook them! They come out mushy like that, and don’t taste very good.  I don’t think any vegetable tastes good overcooked, and there are far fewer nutrients that way.

Once it’s cooked just right, not to hard, and not too soft (I feel like Goldilocks here), then it’s time to take it out of the steamer. Cool for a couple of minutes and then use a fork to make “spaghetti!”

Top with your favorite sauce, and you’re good to go. I’ll have some sauce recipes coming up within the next week or two. Would you like to get started with my Hearty Bolognese Sauce recipe?

Here’s a condensed version of this recipe in a printable format:

How to Steam Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

How to Steam Spaghetti Squash

A Gluten Free, Grain Free Pasta Replacement from Just add your favorite sauce!


  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
  • Kitchen gadgets needed:
  • 1 large, sharp knife
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 steamer (you can also just boil in water in pot, if you don't have one yet).
  • 1 large pot


  1. Rinse off your spaghetti squash.
  2. Be careful cutting in halves or quarters (Not so easy sometimes).
  3. Scoop out seeds.
  4. Put 1 to 2 inches of water in pot and place steamer over it (water should be just below steamer, but not over it).
  5. Turn burner on to high heat.
  6. Place spaghetti squash in pot, skin side out. Cover loosely.
  7. Check after 20 minutes. If a fork goes through pretty easily, then it's done. If not, cook for 5 more minutes until it's soft enough (but not too soft).
  8. Turn off burner and cool squash on plate for 5 or 10 minutes (careful - it'll be very hot).
  9. Take a fork and rub each piece, so that you're left with a stringy "spaghetti."
  10. Add sauce and serve.

Please note that this post has been shared with the Gluten Free Wednesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays blog hops.

Have a happy, healthy day!

About Dawn

As a Certified Health Coach, I provide motivated individuals with the resources, tools, support and encouragement they need to make the gradual changes in food and lifestyle that could completely transform their lives. Contact me.

6 Responses to Gluten Free, Paleo Food Swap: Grain Free Pasta Replacement #1

  1. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    July 31, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    Spaghetti Squash is a MAINSTAY in my life. I buy about 15 pounds every 3 days, yep, I go through it that quickly, and sometimes I go through it even faster – It’s just SO GOOD!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Celebrity Calorie Conundrum Game ShowMy Profile

    • Dawn August 1, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Wow. You must have some really great sauce recipes to put over it, then! No wonder you’re able to stay so thin. I can’t say I eat it nearly as often as you do, but now you’ve made me want to go out and buy some right now!

      Who needs refined carb and calorie loaded pasta when there are healthy, real food options like this?

      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Dawn recently posted…Hearty Bolognese Sauce, with a TwistMy Profile

  2. James Robinson February 3, 2014 at 2:26 am #

    Spaghetti Squash really? Does it taste good?

  3. Jones Knife June 5, 2017 at 2:19 am #

    I found a recipe using spaghetti squash that is really easy and turns out perfect. Cut the squash in half and clean out seeds with a melon baller or grapefruit spoon. Put half side flesh side down in the microwave, no water. Loosely cover with a piece of paper towel. Microwave on high for 10-15 minutes. Let it sit flesh side down for 5 minutes. Scrape out the flesh with a fork into strands. So easy and so good.
    Thanks for your post.

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