Pro cooking tip of the day: If you stuff really good things (a Southwest-spiced blend of ground turkey, black beans, veggies, and cheese, for example) inside of another good thing (spaghetti squash), you can end up with an EVEN BETTER THING —> Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats.
I know. How did I get this job?
In all seriousness, stuffing vegetables with all types of tasty fillings has become one of my favorite ways to use seasonal produce. It’s familiar territory worth visiting again and again.
Why I Love This Taco Spaghetti Squash
- Stuffed vegetables are filling. This Taco Spaghetti Squash recipe offers a whopping 29 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per boat. I found about two-thirds of one stuffed spaghetti squash kept me full an entire afternoon, an impressive feat considering I am usually ready to eat an entire box of granola bars by 3 p.m.
- Stuffed vegetables can be adapted throughout the seasons. On my list this fall: Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa and Cranberries and Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and Bacon. Next summer? Italian-style Stuffed Zucchini, Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers.
- You’re getting an extra serving of veg without even trying. Looking to add one more serving of veggies to your day? This Taco Spaghetti Squash (and all stuffed veggie recipes) builds it in automatically.
- Clean up is minimal.
- Delicious factor is maximal.
I served these Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats to friends who concluded that 1) it was the best way they’d ever eaten spaghetti squash and 2) I must be on a mission to turn everything into a taco (the last meal I’d brought over to their house was a slow cooker taco casserole). I happily accept both compliments!
The taco-inspired filling is spiced with chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin. Ground turkey and black beans make it lean, healthy, and satisfying. It’s also easy to adapt. Feel free to mix in other veggies (I used red bell peppers, but green bell peppers, spinach, or even very finely chopped carrots would also work), swap the ground turkey for ground chicken, and adjust the level of spice to your liking.
- To Make Dairy Free. To make the recipe dairy free, you can simply omit the cheese.
- To Make Vegetarian. Try replacing the turkey with a different type of beans (red kidney would be nice) or even crumbled tofu. If you use tofu, I’d recommend upping the spices to taste, since it can be a bit bland on its own.
More Spaghetti Squash Recipes
Finally, in true taco style, don’t forget the fixins. We enjoyed ours with avocado, cilantro, and a big dollop of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, my healthy swap for sour cream.
Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats
- FOR THE SQUASH:
- 3 medium spaghetti squash about 2 pounds each
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey 93% lean or chicken
- 1 bunch scallions about 6, chopped, with white and green parts divided
- 1 red bell pepper cored and chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can black beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices (14 ounces)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar Monterey jack, cheddar jack, or pepper jack cheese, divided
- For serving: chopped fresh cilantro diced avocado, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roast the spaghetti squash according to this recipe for Roasted Spaghetti Squash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat the 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, all of the white parts and half of the green parts of the green onion, bell pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat, until it is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and fire-roasted tomatoes. Increase the heat to high and cook until the mixture is thickened and most of the tomato juice has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.
- Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to shred and fluff the inside flesh so it’s no longer attached to the walls and makes a “nest.” Divide the taco filling evenly among the boats, using a fork to lightly mix it with the spaghetti squash. Arrange the stuffed squash on baking sheets and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake until the cheesy is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve hot, sprinkled with any desired toppings.
- The squash can be roasted and “shredded” up to 1 day in advance. The entire dish can be assembled up to 1 day in advance as well. Bake as directed just before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or gently in the microwave. I do not recommend freezing the fully assembled boats, as the spaghetti squash will become mushy.
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Cannot wait to try this! I love taco anything!
I hope you love it, Rachel!
This sounds very nice. I would probably just make 2 squash (4 servings) and freeze the rest of the filling for a later time. I’m glad you mentioned subbing in something else for the bell pepper – I just made some soup with bell peppers in it last week, and rediscovered that I have a hard time digesting them. Not sure yet what I would use in their place.
That’s a great idea, Susan. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Perfect for National Taco Day today! I love squash and am so excited for all the delicious winter squash coming into season!
hey girl- these boats look so good!
Thanks so much, Shawnna!
Wow, I totally approve of this taco boat!
I just made this and it was delicious! My very picky daughter liked it as well. I will definitely make this one again. Thanks!
YAY Deborah, I’m so glad to hear this recipe was a winner! Thanks for taking the time to report back. :)
Made this recipe last night and because my husband doesn’t care for squash, I made a smaller amount. I did still have leftovers so what I did was scoop out all the squash and filling so I could heat it up a little at a time.
That’s what I did for lunch today but I changed it up a bit – added a bit more cheese on top to reheat and then had it with nacho chips. It was very good – who would even consider putting a squash mixture on a chip! So glad I did!
Chris, that’s a great idea for the leftovers! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and sharing this review!
I just made this for dinner and my family loved it. We all went for seconds so there are no leftovers. Will make double batch next time- delicious!
Erla, I’m so glad to hear the recipe was a hit! Thanks for taking the time to give it a try and report back!
This is so good!! We’ve made it twice and will continue to make it.
Amanda, I’m happy to hear the recipe is a hit! Thanks for taking the time to leave this awesome review!
Yum! Tasty and so filling! Thank you for the recipe ;)
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lacy! Thanks so much for taking the time to review the recipe!
Very tasty and still light!
Thanks for taking the time to review the recipe, Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I’m making this tonight for dinner and I have ground lamb. Do you think it would work well being lamb and be a tad gamey? Thanks in advance.
Hi Margaret! I have not tried this recipe this way, but you could certainly experiment with it. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!
Quote from my 9 yr old son –
“This is the first time I’m eating something healthy and I actually like it”
I am so happy I found this recipe – easy, versatile, delicious. THANK YOU!
I’m so happy that it was a hit, Katrina! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This turned out great! Super flavorful and a great way to add in spaghetti squash.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Brianna! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I just made this recipe today and it was FANTASTIC!! My husband and I both loved it. It was easy to make and I had everything on hand (major win!). I can’t recommend this enough. Make it ASAP! Thanks Erin for another wonderful recipe.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Jess! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Taste is amazing! I wasn’t sure about all of that squash at first but I will be making this on a regular basis.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Jo-Anne! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
My daughter gave me this recipe and it was very good. We used hot sausage instead of hamburg. Thank you for this recipe. I am going to look for more of your recipes!!
Hi Jeannette! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I made a vegetarian version of this with beyond meat and it turned out great! Added some cholula on top for extra flavor and spice. Was not disappointed!
Hi Holly! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Delicious! Everyone loved it. Easy to make and will definitely make again. Thanks!!!
HI Erin! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I made this tonight for my husband and I. I am a vegetarian so I subbed the turkey meat for a meatless crumble option and he didn’t even know it wasn’t real meat! It was so good and we enjoyed it a lot!
Hi Tabitha! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!