Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetables. I love all types of squash from zucchini to butternut, but I’ve tried a few new varieties over the years and found new favorites. My new renal diet has caused me to be more careful of the food I eat regarding kidney health.
Acorn squash is good on it’s own and has replaced butternut for me, but it is also very high in potassium. Spaghetti squash is so versatile when it is used as the base for a delicious and nutritious meal. It is also lower in potassium (109mg per cup) than many other types of squash.
Cutting the Squash to Cook
Don’t let the fact that squash is hard to cut stop you from choosing to eat it. Squash does not need to be cut into small pieces to cook. Simply slice any squash in half and bake the halves then scoop out the edible part.
All you need to split a squash is an old, sturdy and long, but fairly sharp knife and a hammer. Set the knife into the side of the squash and hammer it in until the squash splits. I have an old knife that I use only for this. If you happen to have a strong man around, you could ask him to do it for you.
Or, ask the produce clerk or manager at the store to cut it in half for you. They should be happy to oblige.
After scooping out the seeds and pulp from the middle, put olive oil on the cut edges that will touch the pan, tip it over (skin side up) and cook at 350 for about 45 minutes. When the outer skin on top looks wrinkled it should be done.
Toast the Seeds
Rinse the squash bits off the seeds in a colander. I add leftover squash bits to my garden as compost. The seeds can be toasted with oil and a little salt to make a nice snack to eat while the squash cooks. *Be aware that the seeds of squash can contain more potassium than the squash. I couldn’t find good info on eating spaghetti squash seeds. For normal people they are super healthy.
Make the Cooked Squash Into a Healthy Meal
Once the squash is cooked and has cooled enough to hold, use a fork shred the insides as it’s pulled out into a bowl. It will look like yellow spaghetti.
This type of squash is delicious with tomato sauce and works well in place of pasta, but you won’t fool the kids! However, if you have to be careful of potassium, the tomato sauce can be replaced with vegetables.
Some good choices would be:
Fried mushrooms (1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms= 111mg potassium, brown mushrooms are higher)
Chopped onions, raw or cooked
Bell pepper slices
Garlic (one clove has only 12mg of potassium)
Snow or Sugar Snap Peas
Eggplant (1 cup = 188mg potassium)
Fresh chopped parsley (10 sprigs = 55mg potassium)
Choose one, or a few, of your favorite low potassium vegetables and fry them up to add to the squash. Add a little butter and some black pepper and you have a nice healthy, low sodium and low potassium meal.
Remember that eating less means eating less potassium as well. Cutting down on meal size can help you feel better in the long run. This squash is also good all on it’s own.