Spaghetti squash is nature's paleo-approved, low-carb, gluten-free version of pasta grown on a vine. Once you cook it, the flesh naturally separates into strands that resemble, well, chopped up spaghetti noodles. But what if I told you there's a way to make spaghetti squash look less like broken spaghetti and more like the super-long strands of a spaghetti-lover's dreams? It's all in how you cut the squash.

Spaghetti Squash
To get the longest noodles, don't cut spaghetti squash this way. | Photo by Meredith

Everyone tells you to cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise before cooking. But slicing the squash that way actually cuts the strands into small pieces. Why? Because the strands run widthwise like little belts around the middle. So, when you cut the squash from top to bottom, it's like cutting your belt in half.

Instead, slice it across the middle as if you're slicing thick cucumber rings. Slicing the squash into rings leaves the strands intact, and you'll end up with spaghetti squash noodles that are dramatically longer. It's spaghetti squash that actually lives up to its name.

I first learned about this from a coworker's Instagram. Ladie_liza posted, "Finally discovered how to make long, luscious strands of spaghetti squash! Cut it into rings before you roast BC the strands run horizontally!"

Spaghetti Squash Cut into Rings and Roasted
Spaghetti Squash Cut into Rings and Roasted | Photo by Eliza Charbonneau

Mind suitably blown, I tracked her down and asked for details. Eliza said, "The gist of it is to remove both ends, slice it into 1-inch rings, and scrape out seeds. Place rings in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes. You don't really want any browning so I turned mine halfway thru roasting. Let them cool on the pan for about 15 minutes; then peel away skin and separate strands! Voilà!"

A quick Google search makes me think that not a whole lot of people know this trick yet, although Beth on eatwithinyourmeans posted some nicely detailed photos showing how the strands run around the circumference of the squash and not down the length. (And that's why they're longer when you cut the squash widthwise instead of lengthwise. Get it?)

Now that I know the secret to getting spaghetti squash noodles to actually look like spaghetti, I know what I'm making this weekend!

Pesto Spaghetti Squash in a bowl
Pesto Spaghetti Squash | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine
| Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

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