Perfectly roasted spaghetti squash topped with rich and flavorful meat sauce. Easy sauce recipe uses ground beef, jarred spaghetti sauce, and extra seasonings to make delicious, low carb spaghetti squash boats for dinner. This stuffed spaghetti squash recipe makes 4-5 servings.
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Welcome to My Kitchen Serenity! I'm happy to share with you this easy and delicious baked spaghetti squash recipe. It's much lower in calories and carbs than traditional spaghetti. Spaghetti squash noodles aren't exactly the same as traditional pasta but are surprisingly delicious. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised once you give it a try.
It’s an easy "lower" carb dinner idea that even the non-low carb eaters won't turn down. The key to this delicious dish is the meat sauce!
How Many Cups of Cooked Squash for One Spaghetti Squash
There are approximately 5 cups of cooked squash per spaghetti squash; depending on its size.
Avoid Soggy Spaghetti Squash
Another important thing to remember is how long you bake the squash -- the longer it bakes, the softer the squash strands. However, you do want to avoid it getting soggy. Step 5 in the printable recipe card at the very bottom of this post explains further.
Spaghetti squash is available year-round in most grocery stores. The peak season begins in early fall so this is when you'll most likely find them at your local farmer's market.
Spaghetti squash has considerably lower net carbs than traditional spaghetti noodles. One cup of cooked spaghetti squash has approximately 8 net carbs. One cup cooked spaghetti noodles has approximately 40 net carbs. Huge difference!
Is Spaghetti Sauce Low Carb?
All by itself, one cup cooked spaghetti sauce is considered "low carb." Obviously, the meat sauce for this recipe is going to add additional net carbs; anywhere from 5 to 10 additional net carbs - DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH SAUCE YOU TOP IT WITH. Approximately ½ cup meat sauce will add about 5 net carbs. However, I configured the nutritional data in the recipe card based on 1 cup meat sauce.
NOBODY loves pasta more than me! However, I realize there are times when I should eat healthier. Besides, this recipe is so good, I feel completely satisfied after I've eaten it. It's actually a really great comfort food. Spaghetti squash is also a low-calorie vegetable for those people who are watching their calorie intake.
Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. When you roast them, it adds richness and delicious flavor. Vegetables will be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Best Vegetables for Roasting
Roasted root vegetables are delicious, however, almost any vegetable can be roasted in the oven.
- Potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Broccoli, cauliflower, corn on the cob, brussels sprouts, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, etc.
- Bell peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
Spaghetti squash has fewer calories and net carbs than regular spaghetti noodles - quite a bit fewer! For comparison, 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash has approximately 42 calories and 8 net carbs. However, 1 cup cooked spaghetti noodles has approximately 221 calories and 40 net carbs.
Ingredients Needed for Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Salt and Pepper
Easy Meat Sauce Recipe (below)
Kitchen Tools Needed
Large Saute Pan
Large Roasting Pan
Large Sharp Knife
Prepare the meat sauce first. While it is simmering, begin preparing the spaghetti squash.
Easy Meat Sauce Recipe
This is my go-to meat sauce recipe that I use whenever I make regular spaghetti. It's easy yet FULL OF FLAVOR which makes it perfect for topping spaghetti squash!
(please scroll down to the recipe card for detailed ingredients and step-by-step instructions)
- Ground Beef - 90/10 is what I use but 80/20 is fine, too.
- Jar of Marinara Sauce - I like Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce since it's no sugar added.
- Tomato Paste - I like to purchase tomato paste in the tube; such as Toscanini Tomato Paste Tube. Use what you want, then keep it in the refrigerator for later use.
- Dried Italian Seasoning
- Garlic Powder
- Dried Parsley
- Black Pepper
Instructions for the Meat Sauce
STEP 1: Brown the ground beef in a large saute pan until no longer pink. Drain off the grease.
STEP 2: Add the jar of marinara sauce, tomato paste, and the seasonings. Stir. Cover and SLOW SIMMER while the squash is roasting (30-40 minutes). Stir occasionally. If you happen to be out of tomato paste, there are many great substitutes for tomato paste that will work well with this recipe.
Roasting Spaghetti Squash in the Oven
While there are many ways to cook spaghetti squash, my favorite method is to roast it in the oven. While it's true that spaghetti squash doesn't have much flavor all by itself, I believe roasting it gives it a delicious, slightly nutty flavor. Read below on how to cut a spaghetti squash in half.
STEP 3: Rinse off the spaghetti squash with water if it seems dirty. Dry thoroughly. Tip: cutting the hard stem off first makes cutting the squash in half easier.
STEP 4: Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. You'll need a large, sharp knife since the squash is very hard and firm.
STEP 5: Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
STEP 6: Brush the inside flesh of the squash with olive oil (a basting brush is handy for this). Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
STEP 7: Place each half, cut side down, in a pan and bake at 400F until the spaghetti squash is tender. For al dente squash (crispy), bake for 30 minutes. For firm squash, bake for 35 minutes. For soft squash, bake for 40 minutes. Baking the squash for longer than 45 minutes will make the squash mushy or soggy. Remove from oven.
STEP 8: After the squash has cooked, let it cool slightly. Then take a fork to scrape the inside of each squash half. You'll notice the squash strands resemble spaghetti noodles. Neat!
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats
Let's finish the recipe!
STEP 9: Leave the spaghetti squash "noodles" inside each half because each half will serve as a "squash boat" to hold the squash and the meat sauce. Alternatively, you can scoop out the squash strands and place them on plate or in a bowl; then spoon the meat sauce on top.
STEP 10: Top each half with my rich and flavorful meat sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, if desired.
Leftovers will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Store in airtight containers. I like to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids. These containers are great for meal prep, too! Available on Amazon.
Microwave Directions for Spaghetti Squash
Don't have time to roast the squash? I completely understand -- time is valuable. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the spaghetti squash halves face down in a microwave-safe dish. Put about 1 inch of water in the dish. Microwave (uncovered) on high for 10-15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before handling.
Check out my other "stuffed" vegetable recipes:
Low Carb Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms
If you try this delicious stuffed spaghetti squash recipe, please let me know in the comments below.
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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Large Saute Pan
- Large Roasting Pan
- Large Sharp Knife
- measuring spoons
- Basting Brush
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoon olive oil (1 teaspoon per squash half)
- light sprinkling of salt and pepper on inside of both halves
- 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
- 1 24-ounce low sugar marinara sauce (jar)
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt (start with ¼ teaspoon, then add more if necessary. Always taste test before adding more salt!)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, divided
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MEAT SAUCE
- Brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain off the grease.
- Add the jar of marinara sauce, tomato paste, and the seasonings. Stir. Cover and SLOW SIMMER while the squash is roasting (30-40 minutes). Stir occasionally.
ROAST THE SPAGHETTI SQUASH IN THE OVEN
- Rinse off the spaghetti squash with water if it seems dirty. Dry thoroughly. Tip: cutting the hard stem off first makes cutting the squash in half easier.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. You'll need a large, sharp knife since the squash is very hard and firm.
- Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Brush the inside flesh of the squash with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place each half, cut side down, in a pan and bake at 400F until the spaghetti squash is tender. For al dente squash (crispy), bake for 30 minutes. For firm squash, bake for 35 minutes. For soft squash, bake for 40 minutes. Baking the squash for longer than 45 minutes will make the squash mushy. Remove from oven.
- After the squash has cooked, let it cool slightly. Then take a fork to scrape the inside of each squash half. You'll notice the squash strands resemble spaghetti noodles.
STUFF THE SPAGHETTI SQUASH
- Leave the spaghetti squash "noodles" inside each half because each half will serve as a "squash boat" to hold the squash and the meat sauce. Alternatively, you can scoop out the squash strands and place them on plate or in a bowl; then spoon the meat sauce on top.
- Top each half with my rich and flavorful meat sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, if desired.
Can you freeze the spaghetti squash leftovers to reheat later?
Hi Cindy. Yes, you can freeze the leftovers but the texture of the spaghetti squash won't be exactly the same. However, the flavor will still remain very good. Be sure to wrap tightly so no air can get in and form ice crystals. Thank you for visiting my blog!