Your favorite pasta alternative just got a whole lot easier to prepare.

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Nature's solution to low-carb diets, spaghetti squash is the only veggie that naturally emulates the pasta of the same name. Easy to prepare and with a mild, slightly sweet flavor, it can be used to replace pasta in a variety of recipes. If you're short on time, or kitchen options, you'll be happy to learn that spaghetti squash can easily be prepared in the microwave. All you need are a glass casserole dish, a little water, and a knife.

Make Your Squash Easier to Cut

Spaghetti squash can be notoriously difficult to cut through. But a few minutes in the microwave makes them much easier to split.

Simply pierce the spaghetti squash several times with a sharp knife and place the entire squash in the microwave. Cook on high for 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and you'll find a much softer outer skin. Then split it from top to bottom and scoop out any seeds and pulp. Then move on to the step below.

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Herb Butter
Credit: LauriPatterson / Getty Images

Cook In the Microwave

For microwaving the spaghetti squash you will need a glass casserole dish. If your microwave is large enough you may be able to fit a 9x13 dish, or you may need to use an 8x8 and microwave each piece of squash separately. You can also save one half of the squash for meals later in the week.

Pour about 1-inch of water into your glass casserole dish. Place one or both halves on the squash cut side down into the dish. Microwave for 10 minutes and then check it, the spaghetti squash is ready when a fork poked through the skin can easily slide through the squash itself. If your squash isn't tender enough, microwave in 2 minute intervals until soft. Remove the dish from the microwave with oven mitts and place the squash on a cutting board. Use a fork and scrap from top to bottom to create long spaghetti-like strands of squash.

How to Use Your Spaghetti Squash

Once your spaghetti squash is cooked you may be thinking "What now?" The good thing is that thanks to its mild flavor, spaghetti squash makes an excellent stand-in for practically any pasta dish. Simply toss it with some Parmesan and butter for a simple side dish, dress it up with Italian sausage and marinara, or even serve it Cincinnati chili style with a ladle of chili. The sky is the limit!

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