Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce is a great alternative to high-calorie, high-carb traditional spaghetti and meatballs and is Whole30 compliant.
Ok guys. here goes recipe #2 in Simply Sissom’s Whole30 January Challenge and it is one I know you are going to make over and over again!
FACT: I LOVE creative healthy food trades. You know, cauliflower instead of rice type stuff.
FACT: My family isn’t always appreciative of my “creative culinary skills” when it comes to dinner time.
Sooo.. when I find a HEALTHY recipe, (you know.. the kind that are made with All. The. Veggies.) and they eat it (even if under duress), well… I count it as a WIN! Annnnd if said recipe fits into my Whole30 January Plan, well… I proceed to make it All. The. Time.
In short, I kinda have a thing going with spaghetti squash. How can you not love a vegetable that tastes like pasta?
With only 42 calories and 10 carbs in a 1-cup serving of cooked spaghetti squash, this vegetable is definitely “resolution friendly”. The texture is tender, the flavor is subtle… and most importantly, it looks like spaghetti (crucial when attempting to “trick” a 4 year old into eating spoonfuls of veggies).
“Spaghetti” squash with meat sauce is the perfect weeknight meal when you want something healthy and not too heavy. The meaty marinara gives “staying power” and the squash itself is loaded with fiber.
Pasta like Veggie + Homemade Meaty Marinara = Match (it’s science).
This recipe is simple, requiring only 1 pot (you can even eat right out of the squash.. how cool do we feel about that?). Note: When attempting to make a healthy food swap in a clandestine manner.. don’t serve your kids “spaghetti” inside of a squash… they WILL get suspicious.
The marinara is full of flavor and EVERYTHING good (seasoned beef, fire roasted diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, and fresh herbs). I could eat it on the daily, and probably will be since I made 4 versions before declaring it perfect. Hazard of the job. I’m not mad…
I used to think that preparing spaghetti squash was TOO MUCH WORK to be worth it. Not so!
Don’t be intimidated… it’s SO easy. Here’s the breakdown:
- Use a sharp knife to “stab” the skin of the squash all over (this prevents it from blowing up in your microwave and CANNOT be skipped).
- Place whole squash into the microwave for 4 minutes. This will help it to soften enough so that it can be easily sliced. No reason to risk losing a finger.
- Slice the ends of the spaghetti squash so that you have a flat base and the squash can be stood up vertically.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the squash in half lengthwise.
- Drizzle the squash with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 for 35-45 minutes, or until the “spaghetti strands” are tender.
- Use 2 forks to gently scrape out the flesh of the squash. Now… treat it just like it’s spaghetti.
Time Saving Tips and Tricks:
Prep: The meat sauce can be prepped ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Make Ahead: You can assemble the entire recipe ahead of time. I like to make 6 servings (3 spaghetti squash) at at time. Place the contents of 1/2 of a spaghetti squash into each of 6 containers. Top with desired amount of marinara and store for up to 3 days (probably more) in your refrigerator.
Freezer: The meat sauce is definitely freezer friendly. I like to make a double batch and use half for the spaghetti squash and store the other half in an airtight ziplock bag for a night when I need a quick healthy dinner.Print
Spaghetti Squash with Healthy Meat Sauce
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings
- 2 small spaghetti squash, sliced in half lengthwise
- olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 lb. ground meat (beef, turkey or chicken)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 TBS tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
- SPAGHETTI SQUASH: Heat oven to 425. Use a sharp knife to stab the squash 10-15 times. Microwave squash for 4 minutes and allow to cool. Slice of the ends of the squash and stand it up vertically. Slice squash lengthwise. Remove seeds/strings from squash using a spoon. Lightly rub the inside of the squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove squash from oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Use a fork to gently scrape the sides and bottom of the squash to create “spaghetti.”
- HEALTHY MEAT SAUCE: Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and allow to cook 1 minute. Add onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add ground meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add basil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil, and then lower heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Stir to combine. Season as needed.
- ASSEMBLY: Top spaghetti squash with 1/4 of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional). Serve and enjoy.
- If you don’t have time to make homemade marinara you can use store-bought. Just brown 1 lb. of meat and add a 1 jar of store-bought sauce. To give it more of a homemade taste, I like to add a little dried basil and oregano while it’s warming on the stove.
- Don’t buy the biggest spaghetti squash. Smaller = easier to cut.
- Prep-Ahead recipes are my all time favorite! Join the BRAND NEW Simply Sissom Community Private FB Group and let’s meal prep together! Each week I share an exclusive recipe in the group via FB Live that is REALLY simple and make-ahead friendly. Join us!
- Want to prep 5 whole-food meals for a family of 4 in just 45 minutes? Check out my new program, Savvy Mama Meal Prep: Quick and Easy. Use code SMMP50 to save 50%.
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