The question: Is squash a vegetable or a starch? I was told it was off limits because it’s high carb.

The answer: Squash is a vegetable and, in my opinion, it’s a vegetable you shouldn’t declare off limits. Yes, it’s true that winter squashes such as acorn, butternut, buttercup, hubbard and pumpkin are starchy vegetables and, as such, they contain more carbohydrates than vegetables like leafy greens, cauliflower and bell peppers. (Zucchini and other summer squashes are non-starchy vegetables and are low in carbohydrate.)

One-half cup of cooked butternut squash, for example, has 11 grams of carbohydrate and 41 calories while the same sized serving of cooked broccoli has 5.6 grams of carbohydrate and 27 calories. But those extra carbs shouldn’t stop you from eating winter squash. For starters, an extra 5.5 grams of carbohydrate isn’t much – it’s the carb equivalent of 1/8 cup of cooked pasta (1 cup of cooked pasta has 44 grams of carbohydrate).

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In terms of nutrition, winter squash is a far cry from refined starchy foods (the type of carbohydrate foods you should limit). Unlike white bread and other refined flour products, winter squash is a good source of potassium and fibre. What’s more, some types are packed with beta- and alpha-carotene, antioxidants thought to help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. Higher intakes of alpha-carotene have also been linked to a lower risk of dying from upper digestive tract cancers, type 2 diabetes and chronic lower respiratory disease.

There’s no official recommended intake for beta-carotene (or alpha-carotene for that matter) but experts contend that consuming 3 to 6 milligrams per day will maintain blood levels of beta-carotene in a range that’s associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases. You’ll meet that recommendation by eating just one-half cup of cooked pumpkin (5.1 milligrams beta carotene) or one-half cup of cooked butternut squash (4.7 mg).

You’ll get more beta-carotene from vegetables if you eat them lightly cooked rather than raw. Including a little oil in your meal – only a teaspoon worth – will also increase the amount of beta-carotene that’s available for your body to absorb.

If you’re watching carbs in order to lose weight, there’s no need to avoid eating squash. In fact, if you swap squash for other starchy foods like rice and pasta you’ll save calories and carbs. For instance, if you substitute spaghetti squash for pasta, you’ll save 140 calories and 23 grams of carb per cup – and get double the fibre and six times the potassium.

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is the national director of nutrition at BodyScience Medical. She can be seen every Thursday at noon on CTV News Channel’sDirect (www.lesliebeck.com).

Our Health Experts will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail’s Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Contents

Spaghetti Squash vs. Pasta

Spaghetti squash has become a popular substitute for pasta in certain dishes. This is because the texture and appearance of its flesh, when cooked, is similar to thin strands of spaghetti. This versatile winter squash can be incorporated into anything from a simple side dish to a main dish for a delicious vegetarian meal. So, how exactly does spaghetti squash compare to regular pasta?

SQUASHING THOSE CARBS: Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, it is a good thing to have an idea of how many carbohydrates are on your plate and in your typical daily intake. Spaghetti squash happens to be very low in carbs, with only 10 grams in one cup. On the other hand, real spaghetti has about 43 grams of carbohydrate in one cup. This “pasta” is also low in calories, with only 42 calories in one cup cooked, compared to about 220 calories in one cup of regular spaghetti. When you substitute spaghetti squash for pasta, you can save around 170 calories and 30 grams of carbs in a one cup serving! It is important to remember that carbs are the primary source of energy for the body, so we should not be afraid to incorporate them into our diet. However, for those who have diabetes or who want to have better control over their carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels, this can be a great substitute.

Spaghetti squash has similar amounts of fiber as compared to regular pasta. There are 2.2 grams of fiber in one cup of spaghetti squash, and 2.5 grams in one cup of regular spaghetti. On the other hand, whole wheat spaghetti has about 8 grams of fiber.

While one cup of spaghetti squash has only 1 gram of protein, the same amount of white pasta has around 7 grams of protein, and the same amount of whole wheat pasta has around 9 grams of protein. However, spaghetti squash is a good source of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and B vitamins. This veggie contains important antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin as well. Finally, it is naturally gluten-free!

The Verdict: If the goals are to lower carbohydrate and calorie intake, spaghetti squash takes the win! This is especially important for those who have diabetes or want to lose weight. Spaghetti squash’s versatile and filling nature definitely makes it a worthy substitute. Overall, spaghetti squash is a lower carbohydrate and more nutrient dense version of traditional pasta dishes. Spaghetti squash is also a great gluten-free substitute for those who have allergies or intolerances to gluten. However, eating a higher carbohydrate food like spaghetti occasionally is okay too – especially when you choose a whole grain variety that contains high amounts of fiber. These slow-digesting carbohydrates will keep you feeling fuller for longer, are great for digestive health, and will help to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Tip: Don’t forget about all of the other great and healthy forms of pasta! Barley, quinoa, sprouted grain, chickpea, black bean, spinach, buckwheat, rice, and shirataki, just to name a few!

Also, check out this recipe for an idea on to use spaghetti squash today.

Contributors:
Laura Reynebeau – UWGB Dietetic Intern

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Keto Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Meatballs is a quick and easy alternative recipe perfect for keto diets. This dish includes low-carb tomato sauce and pasta brands. You can even use the sauce and meatballs with shirataki zero-carb, carb-free noodles. This recipe is freezer-friendly and great for meal prep.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.

Winter is ushering in and so are the winter vegetables like spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash provides a great way to ditch the carbs and still enjoy a pasta-ish like dish!

Does spaghetti squash taste like pasta? No, but paired with the right ingredients it tastes great. The texture is a lot more similar to pasta than zucchini noodles are, in my opinion.

Can I Eat Pasta on the Keto Diet?

No, pasta has starch and high net carbs and aren’t recommended for keto.

What is the Lowest Carb Pasta?

Shirataki Noodles also known as Miracle Noodles Zero Carb have zero carbs and are great for keto. Click the link to check them out on Amazon.

Is Spaghetti Squash Ok for Keto?

Absolutely! One cup of spaghetti squash has 5.5 net carbs. If you pair it with low carb ingredients, it will make the perfect macro-friendly meal.

Is Spaghetti Squash Healthy?

Spaghetti squash saves 80 calories per serving and 31 grams of carbs in comparison to pasta.

Can I Eat Egg Noodles on Keto?

Egg noodles have starch and carbs. I recommend zucchini, spaghetti squash, or miracle noodles.


Low Carb Substitutes and Alternatives for Pasta:

Zucchini noodles (zoodles), spaghetti squash, and miracle noodles are all great options.

Keto Marinara Sauce Brands

My favorite low-carb spaghetti sauce brand is Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce. You can purchase it here on Amazon. It’s made with all natural ingredients and doesn’t have any added sugar.

How Do You Cook a Spaghetti Squash? What is the Best Way?

There are 3 ways to cook spaghetti squash. My favorite method is to use the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Method: This method takes 15 minutes. Add the squash to the pot with water.

Microwave: Poke holes and microwave for 15 minutes.

Oven: Poke holes and bake for 40 minutes.

For longer spaghetti noodles, cut the squash crosswise. Check out this post on How to Cut Spaghetti Squash.

Keto Pasta Recipes

Keto Low Carb Shrimp Alfredo Zucchini Noodles

Keto Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo

What Can I Do With Spaghetti Squash Seeds?

I’m not very crafty so the seeds that I scoop out and remove go directly into my trash can. Just like pumpkin seeds, you can roast squash seeds if you wish. Check out this post on How to Roast Squash Seeds.

Is Spaghetti Squash Marinara Freezer Friendly?

Yes. I have tested it two ways. I have frozen the squash strands separate from the sauce and meatballs and I have frozen them together. Both yield great results.

More Keto Recipes

Keto Copycat PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Keto Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
Keto Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
Keto Cheesecake
Keto Peanut Butter Cookies
Keto Avocado Brownies
Keto Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Fat Bombs
Keto Pumpkin Spice Fat Bombs

The Cure For the Keto Flu is Bone Broth and MCT Oil

The keto lifestyle can sometimes cause me to get dizzy and have brain fog. It can be really hard to focus. Each night before bed I like to drink bone broth. Kettle and Fire is my favorite brand. They have beef and chicken flavors. I add a little liquid aminos and hot sauce for flavor. You can sip it from a mug or eat it like a miso soup in a bowl.

I add 1 tablespoon of MCT oil to my coffee in the morning. This helps add additional fat to support keto macros and also helps with keto flu.

WWatch the video!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef (You can also use 1/2 pound ground pork and 1/2 ground chuck if desired)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning, If strict keto read the label carefully to examine ingredients
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Raos marinara sauce
  • shredded parmesan cheese to top the marinara
  • chopped parsley (optional for garnish)

Instructions

Spaghetti Squash

Microwave Method:

  1. Make cuts all around the spaghetti squash with a knife. Place in the microwave (medium-high) and microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Open and flip the squash. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Open and flip. Total cook time will be 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the squash. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  4. Cut the spaghetti squash. Cut the spaghetti squash crosswise for long noodles, instead of lengthwise (the long way). Cutting it lengthwise will produce shorter noodles.
  5. Scoop out the seeds and flesh from the middle.
  6. Shred the squash using forks. Use paper towels to blot the strands and remove excess water.

Instant Pot Method:

  1. Place the trivet (comes with the Instant Pot) in the Instant Pot.
  2. Add 1 cup of water to the pot.
  3. Place the spaghetti squash on the trivet. Cover, seal, and cook for 15 minutes on Manual > High Pressure Cooking.
  4. Quick release the steam when the pot indicates it has finished.
  5. Remove the squash. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  6. Cut the spaghetti squash. Cut the spaghetti squash crosswise for long noodles, instead of lengthwise (the long way). Cutting it lengthwise will produce shorter noodles.
  7. Scoop out the seeds and flesh from the middle.
  8. Shred the squash using forks. Use paper towels to blot the strands and remove excess water.

Oven Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Make cuts all around the spaghetti squash with a knife.
  3. Place foil onto a sheet pan. Add the spaghetti squash. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Flip the squash and bake for additional 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the squash. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  6. Cut the spaghetti squash. Cut the spaghetti squash crosswise for long noodles, instead of lengthwise (the long way). Cutting it lengthwise will produce shorter noodles.
  7. Scoop out the seeds and flesh from the middle.
  8. Shred the squash using forks. Use paper towels to blot the strands and remove excess water.

Meatballs and Marinara

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the beef to a large bowl. Break down the beef with a large spoon.
  3. Add in the onions, garlic, egg, Italian Seasoning, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Combine all of the ingredients.
  4. Use your hands to form meatballs. Make them into your desired shape and size. Makes 10-12 meatballs.
  5. Line a sheet pan with a silicone baking mat. Add the meatballs to the mat.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine were ready around 17 minutes. If you overcook the meatballs they will be dry.
  7. While the meatballs bake, heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the marinara and meatballs. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the marinara starts to bubble.
  8. Serve over the spaghetti squash.

Notes

Spaghetti squash holds water. After shredding it is important to dry the strands to prevent excess water in the dish. This is very similar to zucchini noodles.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • David’s Garden Seeds Squash Winter Spaghetti SL0002 (Yellow) 50 Heirloom Seeds
  • Rao’s Marinara Sauce, 15.5 oz
  • McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning, 6.25 oz
  • AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat – 2-Pack

Yield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 347 Total Fat 24g Carbohydrates 7 netg Protein 28g Macros are provided as a courtesy and calculated using MyFitnessPal. Calculate your specific macros using the exact brand ingredients you use and the macros calculator of your choice.

20 Satisfying Ways to Eat Spaghetti Squash

If you’re looking to incorporate more veggies in your diet post-holidays, go for the spaghetti… squash, that is. It may look like any ordinary squash from the outside, but once roasted, a simple scrape of a fork reveals beautiful little pasta-like strands. Low in calories and carbs but not in flavor, spaghetti squash is a great alternative to actual pasta. Still stumped on how to use it? Here are 20 ways to cook with this uber versatile squash.

1. Gremolata: This bright and beautiful gremolata is chocked full of lemon zest, garlic and chopped herbs. Toss it with a few fresh tomatoes and you’re good to go. (via A Family Feast)

2. Spinach, Tomato and Goat Cheese: When cut in half lengthwise, this squash makes two perfectly cute (and edible) bowls. Use it to your advantage and stuff that baby with spinach, tomatoes and creamy goat cheese. Top it all off with roasted seeds for extra crunch. (via BS’ in the Kitchen)

3. Roasted With Chickpeas and Kale: Slow-roasted spaghetti squash strands are tossed with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and lemon before colliding with sauteed kale and chickpeas for a meal packed with flavor and protein. (via Love and Lemons)

4. Pad Thai: Now you can eat as much pad thai as you want and not feel bad about it. You won’t even notice the difference. Go on, try it and see for yourself. (via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)

5. Asparagus Quiche: Use the squash in a totally unexpected way, like the crust for this asparagus quiche. It might just be better than the real thing. (via Tasty Kitchen)

6. Avocado and Egg Boats: Baked egg and avocado take this already delicious squash to a whole other level. It might look fancy, but if you can crack an egg you can definitely handle this one. (via iFoodreal)

7. Garlic and Herbs: Take a step back and go with simply classic flavors like toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley. The point isn’t to cover up the taste of the squash, but to make it shine. (via Pinch of Yum)

8. Burrito Bowls: Okay, so it might not be Chipotle, but if you’re going to eat squash you might as well stuff it with beans and smother it in melty Mexican cheeses. (via Making Thyme for Health)

9. Spinach and Artichoke Alfredo: In the mood for something warm and comforting but still want to fit into your skinny jeans tomorrow? You’ll be able to have seconds with this easy-peasy recipe. (via Taste and Tell)

10. Curried and Stuffed: If tofu isn’t your thing, substitute it out for boneless chicken breast. Either way you won’t be disappointed. (via Vegetarian Times)

11. Skinny Baked Shrimp Scampi: Made with only two tablespoons of butter, this dish is both healthy and delish. It’s also easy to throw together during the week, but still decadent enough for a weekend dinner party served alongside a good bottle of white wine. (via Pineapple and Coconut)

12. “Pasta” and Sauce: Pick a sauce and dig in. Heck, you can even eat all three and no one would blame you. (via Brit + Co)

13. Buffalo Chicken: The saying must be true. You can really put Frank’s Red Hot Sauce on everything. (via Sweet Treats and More)

14. Roasted Garlic Lasagna Boats: This great make-ahead meal looks pretty darn cute when it’s finished. You’re guests will leave satisfied and impressed that you were able to whip up such a fancy meal. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. (via Half Baked Harvest)

15. Pasta Primavera: Make this pasta with shrimp, chicken or both if you’re feeling extra crazy. Just make sure there’s more than enough to go around. You’ll thank us later. (via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)

16. Quinoa and Parmesan Fritters: Fry up full-sized fritters and serve alongside a garden salad for a full meal, or make smaller patties for totally poppable bite-sized appetizers. (via Julia’s Album)

17. Maple Syrup and Shallots: If there’s someone we trust when it comes to comfort food, it’s The Pioneer Woman. And if she says it’s good, then that’s the end of it. (via The Pioneer Woman)

18. Enchilada Stuffed: Guess what? Cutting this squash in half widthwise makes for a deeper bowl with room for MORE filling. This versatile recipe can be made vegan, vegetarian, or with chicken (or ground beef) for all you meat lovers. Be sure to make room in your weekly dinner rotations for this bad boy. (via Feasting at Home)

19. Gorgonzola, Pecans and Dried Cranberries: Sometimes unexpected combos can surprise you. The sweetness from the cranberries and the tang of the gorgonzola create a perfect union on this bed of roasted spaghetti squash. (via Cookin’ Canuck)

20. Twice Baked: This one takes a bit of time… but good things come to those who wait, right? It’s safe to say that this squash is twice as delicious. (via A Sweet Life)

Which one of these recipes will grace your table this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash if you want long pasta-like strands and spaghetti squash that isn’t watery! Just cut the squash widthwise, into rings and roast it.

As I plan content for the year ahead, I really want Eating Bird Food to be a resource for you! Wondering how to prepare a certain ingredient? Have questions about why certain foods are considered healthy and others aren’t? Want to learn more about meal prepping? I want to be your go-to girl for all things healthy eating.

So in light of that, let’s talk all about spaghetti squash! You’ve probably seen it at the grocery store or pinned recipes with spaghetti squash on Pinterest, but have you ever made it? If not, get excited because I’m diving into all the nitty gritty details for you!

WATCH HOW TO COOK SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

What is Spaghetti Squash?

Let’s back wayyy up… what the heck is spaghetti squash? It’s a yellow, oval shaped squash that is in season in the fall and winter months. When cooked, you can shred the insides into long, noodle-like strands. Hence the name: spaghetti squash. The texture is a tiny bit more fibrous than pasta, but makes a great substitute for regular spaghetti noodles.

What Does Spaghetti Squash Taste Like?

Don’t hate me for this answer, but it doesn’t really have a ton of flavor. Although, I do think it has a little bit of sweetness to it. It is amazing as a sub for pasta because it lets whatever sauce you’re using shine. You can get crazy with your sauce flavorings and know that the spaghetti squash will truly be a base and not impart too much flavor.

How Do You Cut Spaghetti Squash?

First thing first, before you even get to the cooking part, you have to cut it. I’ll be honest and say I don’t love cutting spaghetti squash, but it’s so much easier if you have a large, sharp knife. We have a Shun chef’s knife and I recently got this knife from Material that I love as well. Another option is to poke a couple small holes in the squash using a fork and then microwave the entire squash for about 5 minutes to soften the squash a bit and make the process a little easier. Go slow and be extra careful!

When it comes to which way to cut spaghetti squash there are two main ways — widthwise and lengthwise. I used to cut my squash lengthwise all the time until I realized that the squash’s strands run horizontally in circles around the inside of the squash and if you cut it widthwise into rings you get longer spaghetti strands. And the rings help reduce moisture as well so the spaghetti squash isn’t watery after it’s done roasting.

Of course, there are certain spaghetti squash recipes (like these lasagna bowls and these tuna noodle casserole bowls) that require cutting spaghetti squash lengthwise, but I prefer cutting it widthwise if I’m not making spaghetti squash bowls!

After cutting, spaghetti squash is really simple to cook! There are a few different methods you can use.

How to cook spaghetti squash

1. Bake/Roast

  • Whole: Preheat your oven to 375°F degrees. Use a knife to prick a few holes in the squash. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (flipping half way through). You’ll know the squash is done when it feels tender when pierced with a knife. Let squash cool before cutting it open, scooping out seeds and separating the strands.
  • Cut widthwise: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice ends off the squash, then cut widthwise into halves or rings. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. (I love using a grapefruit spoon for this.) Place squash on rimmed baking sheet. Use hands to coat each piece with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and separate the strands into long “spaghetti noodles”.
  • Cut lengthwise: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Flip your halves over so the cut side is on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes. You know your squash is done when you can press in the skin fairly easily. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes and then use a fork to scrape out/shred the inner part, making “spaghetti noodles”.

2. Microwave

Slice your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise or widthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place the cut side down in a microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with about 1 inch of water. Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until you can press into the skin fairly easily. Remove and let cool for about 15 minutes and then use a fork to scrape out/shred the inner part, making “spaghetti noodles”.

3. Instant Pot

Slice your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise or widthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place the steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Place the squash halves on top of the basket and secure the lid. Make sure the vent is turned to “sealed” and set the pressure cooker to 7 minutes on high pressure. Use the quick release when finished. Remove and let cool for about 15 minutes and then use a fork to scrape out/shred the inner part, making “spaghetti noodles”.

How to freeze spaghetti squash:

Let the cooked squash cool completely before transferring the noodles to freezer-safe bags. To prevent the squash from freezer burn, you’ll want to squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags. The squash should keep for up to 7-8 months in the freezer. When you’re ready to use your squash you can transfer from the freezer to the fridge to thaw until you’re ready to reheat, but if you don’t have time to thaw the squash, that’s okay — frozen spaghetti squash can be reheated quickly in the microwave, a steamer basket or even sautéed on the stovetop.

Is spaghetti squash healthy?

Spaghetti squash is low in calories, containing only 42 calories in one cup cooked. It also contains a small amount of carbohydrates, 10 grams, and a good amount of fiber, 2.2 grams or 9 percent of your daily needs. When substituting spaghetti squash for pasta you can save about 170 calories and 30 grams of carbs in a one cup serving!

I love using spaghetti squash in so many recipes. It’s a great spaghetti substitute when you’re looking for a grain-free option, but I also love batch cooking spaghetti squash to have on hand for weekly salads and bowls.

Are you ready to tackle spaghetti squash? Do you have any other spaghetti squash questions I can answer? If not, let’s get cooking! See below for my go-to recipe.

Description

A simple recipe for cooking spaghetti squash if you want long pasta-like strands and spaghetti squash that isn’t watery! Just cut the squash widthwise, into rings and roast it.

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1–2 teaspoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Slice ends off the squash, then cut widthwise into halves or rings. If you cut the squash into rings, try to make the rings about the same size, around 1-1/2 inches.
  2. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. (I love using a grapefruit spoon for this.)
  3. Place squash on rimmed baking sheet. Use hands to coat each ring with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping rings once about 15 minutes in.
  5. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and separate the strands into long spaghetti noodles using a fork.
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 114
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 56mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: roasted spaghetti squash, spaghetti squash, how to cook spaghetti squash

Check out some of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes and get cooking!

  • 22 Spaghetti Squash Recipes
  • Spaghetti Squash Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls
  • Tempeh Spaghetti Squash
  • Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

The first signs of winter have made an appearance, and this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is the only sort of recipe it feels appropriate to be eating. It has all the characteristic lasagna comforts that we need when the thermometer dips—the stretchy cheese, the chunky, hearty red sauce, the load-up-your-fork and think-warm-thoughts appeal—but is lightened up enough to be a healthy weeknight meal.

I came up with this easy spaghetti squash recipe when I was testing out Crockpot Spaghetti Squash. We had an unusually high number of cooked spaghetti squash halves hanging out in our refrigerator awaiting their purpose.

Over the years, stuffed spaghetti squash boat recipes have become one of my favorite ways to serve spaghetti squash, especially these Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats and these Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and Bacon. They’re incredibly filling, endlessly customizable, and taste ultra comforting, all while making it easy to sneak in your servings of veggies.

The inspiration for this spaghetti squash recipe came on a cold day when I was craving warm Italian food, which always seems to be the right remedy for a chilly day. I decided to try making lasagna with my extra baked spaghetti squash halves.

As you dig your fork into this recipe, you’ll find the components of classic lasagna, with one noticeable departure. Once you taste it, my very astute hunch is that you won’t mind the change one bit!

Why Make This Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Rational human that I am, I do love myself a big plate of carb-loaded pasta, but in the case of this spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, we truly did not miss the noodles one bit. I adored the fact that I was eating something that tasted deeply comforting but was, in fact, largely made of vegetables.

Making lasagna with spaghetti squash strands instead of noodles also means that this recipe is low carb. (If you’re looking for another noodle-free lasagna dish, try my Eggplant Lasagna.)

Final selling point: no noodles means no time-consuming layering. Where lasagna is typically a labor of love, these spaghetti squash lasagna boats are fairly quick, especially if you cook the spaghetti squash in advance.

Is Eating Spaghetti Squash Good for You?

  • Yes! While low in calories, spaghetti squash is also packed with fiber, vitamin C and B6, and antioxidants.
  • It also contains high amounts of the mineral, manganese, which is important for overall bone health.

How to Make Lasagna with Spaghetti Squash

OK, so “lasagna” might be a bit of a generous use of the term considering everything is stuffed inside the spaghetti squash halves instead of layered separately in the pan. If that’s the style of recipe you are looking for, you can check out this Spaghetti Squash Casserole, but I’m standing by this one too.

The Ingredients

  • Spaghetti Squash. The star of this show! Once cooked, the texture will resemble cooked pasta noodles.
  • Chunky Red Sauce. I opted to make this spaghetti squash lasagna with ground turkey to keep it lean, mean, and protein rich. If you prefer, you can make the spaghetti squash lasagna with chicken or lean ground beef.
    • To keep the recipe quick and easy, I also applied one of my favorite shortcuts and used good-quality store-bought pasta sauce instead of making tomato sauce 100% from scratch. For a boost of flavor, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and splash of red wine vinegar. By the time the sauce simmers on the stove, no one will be the wiser, and you’ll appreciate the time savings.
  • Creamy Ricotta Filling. Or if you a) grew up in the Midwest or b) are curious about our Midwestern ways, you can use cottage cheese in place of the ricotta.
  • Frozen Spinach. For an extra serving of healthy veggies and burst of green. No need for fresh spinach here—in lasagna, there’s little taste difference, and frozen is equally nutrient rich, more convenient, and less expensive than fresh.
  • Melty Cheese. Mozzarella is classic, but I prefer something with a little more oomph like fontina or smoked provolone.
  • Parmesan. Salty, nutty, and a lasagna necessity.

The Directions

  1. Cook the squash. You can bake it in the oven or try my slow cooker method.
  2. While the squash bakes, heat oil in a skillet, and add turkey and seasonings. Stir and cook until browned. Add the garlic. Stir in the pasta sauce and vinegar.
  3. Once the squash is baked, fluff the squash to separate the strands.
  4. Place the spinach in a large bowl and add the ricotta filling ingredients. Stir to combine. Add spaghetti squash strands to the bowl. Stir to combine, then place the squash halves cut side up on the baking sheet.
  5. Fill the squash: Add the ricotta filling, then top with tomato sauce, and cheese. Bake until heated through.
  6. Brown the top (optional): Turn the oven to broil. Broil the squash until bubbly and browned. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and ENJOY!

How Do I Cut a Spaghetti Squash?

In order to make baked spaghetti squash recipes, we need to first cut our spaghetti squash into two halves.

  1. Grab a sharp knife, and make small incisions along the side of the squash where you plan to cut it.
  2. Now, microwave your squash for about 5 minutes. Let cool until it’s no longer too hot to touch.
  3. Lay your squash on a cutting board, and slice off the stem. Then, cut along the line of incisions you made earlier.
  4. Once cut in half, use a spoon or ice cream scoop to remove the seeds from the inside of your halves.

You may be wondering, “How can you tell if spaghetti squash is bad?” When you slice your spaghetti squash in half, the color should be bright and yellow. If you see any discoloration or the texture is mushy, the squash is bad.

  • Once cooked, spaghetti squash will taste like a firm-but-soft noodle with just a tiny hint of sweetness.
  • The taste of spaghetti squash is very mild, which is why it makes a great substitution for pasta in many recipes.
  • The mild taste of spaghetti squash also makes spaghetti squash recipes like this one especially kid friendly.

Recipe Adaptations

  • To Make Gluten Free. Make sure you are using a gluten free pasta sauce.
  • To Make Vegetarian. Omit the meat entirely or try swapping it for sautéed mushrooms. For extra protein, you can also add a can of rinsed and drained white beans.
  • To Make Keto. While I’m not a keto diet expert, spaghetti squash is typically very keto friendly, depending upon your serving size. You can always use a smaller squash, then supplement with additional sauce to suit your needs.

How to Store, Reheat, Freeze Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

  • To Store. Place cooked and cooled spaghetti squash lasagna in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through. You can also reheat leftovers on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until warm.
  • I do not recommend freezing this dish, as frozen spaghetti squash tends to become mushy and watery once thawed.
    • You can freeze leftover sauce separately and use to top pasta or freshly baked spaghetti squash later.

What Goes with Spaghetti Squash?

With its built-in servings of protein and veggies, this recipe is certainly capable of acting as a standalone, all-in-one meal, but here are a few ideas of what to serve with it:

  • Vegetables. Spaghetti squash lasagna with broccolini or Roasted Zucchini would be tasty.
  • Salad. I love pairing this with a fresh salad like Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons or Winter Salad with Kale and Pomegranate.
  • Bread. Rosemary Olive Oil Bread or Roasted Garlic Potato Rolls would be a hit with this dish!

Recommended Tools to Make Spaghetti Squash Recipes

  • Sharp Chef’s Knife. One of the most important kitchen tools. Ideal for cutting spaghetti squash.
  • Cutting board. This one has TONS of space! I love this no-slip cutting board as well.
  • All-purpose baking sheet. This works great for roasting the spaghetti squash.

4.94 from 15 votes Leave a Review ” Yield: 4 –6 servings Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 1 hr Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins Healthy Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with ground turkey, spinach, and ricotta. All the comforting flavor of lasagna, made easier and low carb!

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil — divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt — divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper — divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic — minced
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar good-quality tomato pasta sauce — I like roasted garlic or tomato basil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 (10-ounce) pack frozen spinach — drained and pressed as dry as possible
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese — or low-fat 1% or 2% cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded fontina, mild provolone, mozzarella, or similar melty cheese — divided
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  1. Bake the squash: Place a rack in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the cut sides with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil each and then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over all. Place the squash cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/4 cup of water into each baking sheet to prevent sticking. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the squash flesh is fork-tender and the skin gives a little when pressed. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

  2. While the squash is baking, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the turkey, 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook, breaking apart the meat into small pieces, until it is fully cooked through and browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the pasta sauce and red wine vinegar. Let simmer 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

  3. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to separate any large clumps. Add the ricotta, 1/2 cup fontina, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir with the fork to combine. When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to fluff the insides into strands and add the strands to the bowl. With the same fork, stir to combine, evenly distributing the ingredients as best you can. Return the squash halves to the baking sheet, cut sides up.

  4. Fill the squash: Pile the ricotta/squash filling evenly into each of the four halves. Top with tomato sauce, remaining shredded cheese, and Parmesan. Return to the oven and bake until the filling is fully heated through and the cheese is melty, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Brown the top (optional): Turn the oven to broil. Broil the squash until the cheese is extra bubbly and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Watch it carefully, and do not walk away so that it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • TO STORE: Place cooked and cooled spaghetti squash lasagna in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through. You can also reheat leftovers on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until warm.
  • Depending upon how much sauce you like, you may have extra. You can freeze the leftovers or use them later in the week over pasta or on spiralized noodles.

Course: Main Course Cuisine: Italian Keyword: low carb squash recipe, spaghetti squash lasagna All text and images © Erin Clarke / Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 of 4) — Calories: 555, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 125mg, Potassium: 967mg, Carbohydrates: 39g, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 14g, Protein: 48g, Vitamin A: 1283%, Vitamin C: 11%, Calcium: 551%, Iron: 3%

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