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Spaghetti Showdown – Squash v. Shirataki

February 2, 2013

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Let me start with the Enraging Fact of the Day: The suggested serving size of regular, gluten-laden pasta is 2 ounces.

2 ounces of pasta is what I eat just to make sure it’s done. Enraging.

Here’s another fact: People who say things like “Spaghetti squash tastes just like spaghetti! It’s a much healthier alternative!” make me want to punch them in the face. Squash is not spaghetti, please stop talking and Leave. The. Room.

Which brings me to Day 6 of Gluten Free, and being just a tiny bit cranky. It was today that I really started eyeing the candy jar at work and wishing I could have a piece of pizza for lunch. So I decided to try a Spaghetti Showdown for dinner- the oft mentioned Spaghetti Squash v. the relatively new discovery of Shirataki noodles.

Shirataki noodles are found near the tofu in your grocery store, and are made from konjac root.  One whole package contains 1 1/3 cups of pasta (which they suggest is two servings but is really just barely one), but has only 40 calories, 8 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and no fat or gluten.

Spaghetti squash is a big yellow squash that has 43 calories per cup, no fat, 10 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. The innards of one squash is enough for one really hungry person (me, most nights), or two moderately hungry people.

Actual spaghetti (made with wheat flour, and thus, gluten), has 200 calories per enraging 2 oz serving, 1 gram of fat, and 41 grams of carbs per serving. God I miss spaghetti. But I can see why both squash and shirataki are healthier.

I cooked both and topped with a gluten-free vodka sauce and turkey meatballs, and was completely shocked to find that I preferred the squash to the noodles. For me, it came down to the consistency – Shirataki noodles are a little too mushy, and the squash was a little too crunchy, but I’d rather the crunch. And you can actually twirl the squash around your fork, which I appreciated. Neither one “tastes just like spaghetti!” but I will admit that both are legitimate substitutes. Check below for directions on how to cook each one.

Spaghetti Squash
Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Gently fork the squash so that it resembles long strands (or noodles) – just rake a fork through the middle and you’ll see that it starts becoming strand-like. Top with whatever sauce you are eating for dinner. Or, you can pull out the strands and mix with butter, herbs, and salt, and have a meal right there.

Shirataki Noodles
Rinse and drain thoroughly. In a non-stick pan, toss pasta over medium heat until dry, about 2 minutes. You may have to spoon out the water to aid the process. Add to whatever sauce or broth you are using, stir to combine.

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