Spaghetti squash isn't your typical squash vegetable and your kids might be skeptical the first time you try to serve it to them. Generally, spaghetti squash is prepared by softening it, either by oven-roasting or cooking it in the microwave. The softened squash is cut in half lengthwise, revealing the stringy strands of flesh that somewhat resemble spaghetti noodles when scraped out. Engaging your kids in the cooking, and incorporating the spaghetti squash in dishes your kids like just might persuade them to give this unusual vegetable a chance.
Things You'll Need
- Spaghetti squash
- Kitchen knife
- Spaghetti noodles
- Pasta sauce
- Ground meats, optional
- Shredded cheese, optional
Let your kids help scrape out the spaghetti flesh. Your kids might be more inclined to try spaghetti squash if they see how the flesh turns into thin spaghetti-like noodles. Cut the spaghetti squash in half once it has cooled, then have your kids first remove the seeds, then scrape out the flesh with small forks. Let them investigate the texture and taste of the squash.
Serve the spaghetti squash with regular spaghetti noodles. Don't just serve the spaghetti squash alone with pasta sauce until your kids get used to the different texture and taste. Combine an equal amount of spaghetti squash and spaghetti pasta and serve with their favorite spaghetti sauce. Over time, you can increase the amount of spaghetti squash and decrease the spaghetti noodles as they get used to it.
Make a spaghetti squash casserole. Your kids might be much more open to trying spaghetti squash if its combined with ground meat, a creamy sauce and covered with cheese in a casserole. To keep it healthy, use a low fat cream sauce, or use spaghetti sauce in the casserole and top with low-fat shredded cheese.
Create a spaghetti squash bowl bar. Cut roasted spaghetti squashes in half and fluff up the spaghetti-like flesh in the center, but leave a thin wall of of flesh around the edges to create a spaghetti squash bowl. Your kids will get a kick out of eating from a vegetable bowl. Set up a toppings bar with items such as chopped chicken, ground beef, pasta sauce, a variety of shredded cheeses and chopped herbs, onions and garlic. Your kids can pick and choose what toppings they want to add to their spaghetti squash bowls based on their taste preferences.
Add spaghetti squash to your child's favorite foods. If your kids refuse to try the spaghetti squash no matter what, mix a small amount into the dishes they love. For example, you could mix it with ricotta cheese and herbs for stuffed shells, or sprinkle it on homemade pizza after adding the pizza sauce. Spaghetti squash has a fairly neutral flavor so your kids will hardly notice it when they're digging in. If the kids loved the meal as usual, you can let them know that you added spaghetti squash and see what their reaction is.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't be discouraged if your kids refuse to try spaghetti squash for a while. They may be picky eaters or going through a vegetable-hating stage. Keep offering it to them, make it in a variety of ways and let them see you and your partner eating and enjoying it.
- University of Illinois Extension: Spaghetti Squash
- Dashing Dish: How To Make Spaghetti Squash
- Miss Laura's Kitchen: Spaghetti Squash aka Sneaky Pasta
- Real Simple: Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Ricotta and Spinach
- Skinny Taste: Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash Boats with Grilled Chicken
- Healthy Recipes for Kids: Spaghetti Squash Recipes
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