Squash comes in different shapes, sizes, and forms. Some are categorized as summer squash while others are lumped together in a group known as winter squash.
Speaking of winter squash, a few varieties have brought attention to squash lovers for their texture and taste, especially squashes that are used in different types of delicacies such as butternut and spaghetti squash.
Both butternut and spaghetti squash are winter varieties commonly available in your local markets. But because of their appearance, some people have a hard time telling which is which.
Are butternut and spaghetti squash the same?
In fact, the easiest way to differentiate between each variety without having to actually buy the fruits is by looking at their skin color.
Butternut squash has a tan or orange skin color, whereas spaghetti squash comes in different colors such as orange, white, and yellow.
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Spaghetti Squash vs. Butternut Squash
Aside from skin color, there are a few other ways to tell the difference between spaghetti and butternut squash. For instance:
On average, butternut squash is much bigger than spaghetti squash. It can grow up to one foot long, whereas spaghetti squash measures less than one foot long.
Although both varieties are highly nutritious, they don’t have the same nutrient composition. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the nutritional value for each squash per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).
|Nutrient Per 100 g (3.5 oz)||Butternut Squash||Spaghetti Squash|
|Protein||1 g||0.64 g|
|Fat||0.1 g||0.57 g|
|Vitamin A||0.532 mg||0.006 mg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.1 mg||0.037 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.02 mg||0.018 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.2 mg||0.95 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.4 mg||0.36 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.154 mg||0.101 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||27 mg||0.012 mg|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||2.1 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.44 mg||0.13 mg|
|Vitamin K||1.1 mg||0.001 mg|
|Iron||0.7 mg||0.31 mg|
|Calcium||48 mg||23 mg|
|Magnesium||34 mg||12 mg|
|Potassium||352 mg||108 mg|
|Phosphorus||33 mg||12 mg|
|Manganese||0.202 mg||0.125 mg|
|Zinc||0.15 mg||0.19 mg|
Based on the table above, we can quickly summarize that butternut squash has a higher composition of vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, calories, protein, vitamin A, and calcium.
On the other hand, spaghetti squash has more fat content, which makes it less desirable for people who are looking for low-fat food.
With a similar taste, this squash also offers sweet and nutty flavors. On the other hand, if you’re not into sweet fruits, spaghetti squash would definitely satisfy your taste buds.
However, this is not necessarily a negative. Since spaghetti squash has mild and bland flavors, you have the freedom to add other flavorful ingredients into the mix to create the taste you’re looking for.
Both varieties possess different flesh textures. Butternut squash has bright orange to tan firm flesh. In some situations, its flesh can affect the colors of ingredients that are used in the same cooking.
On the other hand, spaghetti squash has a pale yellow, stringy texture that resembles spaghetti. However, its flesh won’t change or affect the colors of your cooking ingredients.
Meanwhile, spaghetti squash received its name due to its stringy, rope-like texture that mimics spaghetti noodles. So, it is best used in making pasta noodles, squash and cheese, and other noodles recipes.
Now that we have listed out everything that makes these two varieties different, there are also some similarities that you may find in both fruits. For instance:
- They generally weigh 2 to 4 pounds (0.9 to 1.8 kilograms).
- Both varieties have thick and hard skin that’s hardly penetrable with your fingernails.
- It generally takes 3 months for both varieties to fully mature.
- Both butternut and spaghetti squash contain numerous seeds in the middle part of the fruits.
- Since both are winter varieties, they are readily available in the early winter.
- You need to store both varieties in a cool and dry place. Make sure that the place is humidity-free. Properly kept butternut and spaghetti squash can last in storage for 2 to 3 months.
Can Spaghetti Squash Be Substituted for Butternut Squash?
Most of us love to eat or make different kinds of dishes for our friends and family. And cooking is an art. So, there’s no reason why we can’t be creative with our own recipes.
But some people might wonder whether they can use spaghetti squash as a substitute for butternut squash in their cooking.
In fact, your options aren’t just limited to just winter squash varieties.
But if you’re planning to make pasta noodles, you can only use spaghetti squash. This is because butternut squash has a firm and creamy texture that can only be chopped into small blocks. Meanwhile, spaghetti squash has a string-like texture that resembles spaghetti.
In addition, you might want to use your favorite sauce or flavoring with your noodles. The nutty taste of butternut squash can drown the taste of ingredients in your dish, whereas spaghetti squash has a bland taste that goes well with other flavorful sauces or ingredients.
Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like Butternut Squash?
Spaghetti squash tastes slightly different than butternut squash. It has a neutral, mild, and bland flavor. On the other hand, butternut squash has a strong, sweet, and nutty taste.
Which Is Healthier, Butternut Squash or Spaghetti Squash?
So, if you’re looking for a nutritious food that can give you more energy to get through your active daily life, butternut squash would be your best bet.
On the other hand, if you’re a low-carb food lover, you can opt for spaghetti squash. This variety is also rich in essential nutrients and minerals. But those nutrients aren’t as abundant as you can find in butternut squash.
How Can You Tell Butternut Squash From Spaghetti Squash?
There are many ways to tell butternut squash from spaghetti squash. The easiest way is through physical identification.
You can also cut these fruits and compare their flesh texture. Butternut squash has a soft, creamy, and firm texture compared to spaghetti squash which has stringy flesh.
But if you decide to taste them, you will instantly spot that butternut squash tastes sweet and nutty, whereas spaghetti squash has a mild flavor.
Overall, both varieties are definitely a good choice for healthy food lovers. Each species has its own advantages that you can use to fulfill your needs. But most importantly, they aren’t exotic species. So, you can grow them in your backyard or just head to the nearest stores to purchase these fruits.