Spaghetti Squash Casserole
How’s your Thanksgiving leftover situation? Are you still eating pie for breakfast? Recovered from Black Friday shopping? Really, really wishing your pants fit like they did last Wednesday? Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole to the rescue!
It feels a little odd to be writing to you about Thanksgiving, since, assuming our travel plans are progressing according to schedule, I’m currently in Vietnam aboard a junk boat on Halong Bay. We spent our Turkey Day sipping tea and eating noodles at the Golden Triangle, the point on the map where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos all intersect.
I can’t wait to tell you about spending the night on Halong Bay, the time I hiked for three straight days, bathing elephants, the street food in Bangkok, and SO MUCH MORE once we return, but for now I’m going to tell you about something else golden, aside from the Golden Triangle: the cheesy top of this Spaghetti Squash Casserole.
Although I wasn’t home (or even in the Western Hemisphere) for Thanksgiving this year, this Spaghetti Squash Casserole is exactly the sort of recipe that, were I back at my house and reminding myself that leftover Pumpkin Pecan Pie for breakfast isn’t a sustainable life plan, I’d crave for dinner. It’s wholesome and loaded with healthy ingredients, yet cozy and filling enough to sustain my holiday cheer.
The casserole filling is an easy mix of roasted and shredded spaghetti squash, tasty ground turkey (feel free to swap chicken if you’re still turkey-d out), diced tomatoes, bell peppers, and Italian spices. All of the ingredients cook together in a single pan, and you can even get a head start by roasting the spaghetti squash up to three days in advance.
A shower of low-fat mozzarella gives this healthy squash casserole that iconic (dare I say mandatory?) bubbly, cheesy casserole top. Digging the serving spoon right into it is one of life’s biggest little joys.
I hope this Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe helps make your next few weeks more enjoyable by providing you with an easy, healthy dinner option on busy weeknights. Too often the holidays can become a source of stress and never-ending to-dos. With this Spaghetti Squash Casserole, you can consider dinner checked off your list, at least for one night…two if you count the leftovers.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole with ground turkey, tomatoes, and Italian spices. Easy, CHEESY, and a crowdpleaser. Low-carb, freezer-friendly recipe!
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
- 1 small/medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound (93% lean) ground turkey
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes with Italian spices, drained
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings of choice (or a mix of oregano, basil, and thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon if sensitive to spice)
- 1 cup freshly grated part-skim mozzarella or provolone cheese, divided
- Chopped fresh parsley or basil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place in a shallow baking dish, cut-side down, then pour 1/2 cup water into the dish, around the squash. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the flesh of the squash is easily pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, pull the squash strings out of the squash’s center with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl. The squash strings should look like spaghetti.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high. Add the turkey, onion, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until meat is browned and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Let cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked off, about 4 minutes, then add the reserved squash. Cook and stir until most of the remaining liquid has cooked off, about 1-2 minutes more, increasing the heat if needed. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. There may be some liquid remaining in the pan.
- Lightly coat a deep 8×8-inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. With a slotted spoon, scoop the squash mixture into the pan in an even layer, discarding any excess liquid (some in the pan is OK—just not too much). Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 5-10 additional minutes. For an extra-golden-brown top, place the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and/or basil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve hot.
- Make it ahead: Spaghetti squash can be roasted and shredded, then stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to make the casserole, add to the filling in Step 2 as directed.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- I haven’t tried freezing the casserole yet, but as a reader pointed out in the comments (thanks, Andrea!), spaghetti squash can get watery when thawed. If that doesn’t bother you, here’s what to do: Bake as directed, let cool, then tightly cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then heat in a 350 degree F oven, covered, until warmed through. Uncover and bake 5 or so additional minutes, until hot and bubbly.
Serving Size: 1
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 193
- Total Fat: 10g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Cholesterol: 71mg
- Sodium: 478mg
- Carbohydrates: 8g
- Fiber: 2g
- Sugar: 3g
- Protein: 20g