The first time that I cooked spaghetti squash, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Oh the possibilities. The tender strands make a great substitute for pasta. You can serve it with meat sauce, with pesto, even baked in the oven as a casserole. One of my favorite preparations is with a classic hearty meat sauce. This dish is not only packed with protein and low-carb, it also tastes delicious.
Making a new kind of squash for the first time can be a little intimidating, but I assure you that this squash is very simple and easy to prepare. It is even, dare I say, fun to make because of the noodle-like strands. It takes about an hour in the oven, but requires only a few minutes of hands-on time.
Before slicing into the squash, I suggest putting the squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes first to soften it up. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard, or feel free to toast them in the oven, similar to pumpkin seeds. Place the halves with the cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the insides with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and oregano – just enough to cover the insides of the squash. Roast the squash in the oven until you can poke it easily with a fork.
While the squash is roasting I usually prepare the meat sauce. Multitasking is a word I love. For the basic meat sauce, you can substitute beef or chicken for the ground turkey. Also just a note- the longer that you let the sauce simmer, the more the flavors will develop. You can also freeze any leftover sauce you may have.
When the squash is done, let it cool a little so that you can handle the squash without burning yourself! Then the fun part – and one that kids love to help with – scrape the insides with a fork to create the stringy ‘noodles.’ One squash with the meat sauce will serve up to 6 people, but it will also keep well as leftovers. It’s so tasty you won’t miss the pasta!
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- For the sauce
- 1 lb ground turkey or beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 jar of tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halves with the cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Roast the squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until you can poke the squash easily with a fork. Let it cool until you can handle it safely. Then scrape the insides with a fork to shred the squash into strands.
- While the spaghetti squash is roasting, melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown the meat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped tomato, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, while the spaghetti squash finishes roasting. Serve over spaghetti squash with basil for garnish.