I was completely surprised a few years ago to find that the picky eater in my house LOVED spaghetti squash – he said that this recipe in particular felt like real pasta! Spaghetti squash is such a delicious way to get your veggies in, and with an easy sauce added, this becomes an easy and cheap Whole30 and Paleo recipe! Added bonus: this is also great if you’re currently doing a Keto diet!
Spaghetti squash can be found on sale throughout late fall and winter months, and any marinara sauce of your choice will do. I personally love Simply Ragu; it has no sugar or weird ingredients. It’s even Whole30 compliant!
Spaghetti squash is often hailed for its high fiber content and its low calorie-density. When cooked, the meat of the squash becomes stringy and noodle-like, making it an easy substitute for pasta. I mean, if the picky eater in my house loves it, I can’t imagine that other picky eaters won’t enjoy it!
Cooking spaghetti squash is easy, but because you need to roast the squash beforehand, this isn’t a meal that can be ready in 30 minutes. One way I buy myself extra time in the kitchen is by cooking the Spaghetti Squash ahead of time. You can throw it in the oven a few days before this meal, roast it, even remove the meat of the squash from the squash, and then store it for later use. It’s an easy way to save yourself some time at dinner, but honestly cooking the squash is simple and does not require a lot of effort.
Many of the reasons that people on the Whole30, paleo, or keto diets miss pasta is because of how versatile it is. This spaghetti squash recipe is one that is quick and easy, but there are endless possibilities for sauces and vegetables. You can even make this recipe vegan by substituting vegetables instead of meat, or can make it an even heartier meal by having both meat and extra veggies. I highly encourage throwing in some extra veggies that might be in your fridge– it’s a quick and easy way to use up left over vegetables in this Italian style classic meal.
Lastly, in this particular recipe, I did not include my homemade marinara sauce. I’ll have to post it at a later date, if only because of how delicious it is. There are just some days where homemade sauce is not in the cards, so I wanted to be honest about how delicious this recipe is even without the lengthy process of making your own sauce. Jarred sauce is a cheap and easy way to keep you on track with your goals, whether that is Whole30, paleo, or keto, and can offer a healthy alternative when you need to eat but have no energy to cook.
The instructions for making this Spaghetti Squash with Ground Beef Sauce are incredibly simple:
- Preheat your oven to 400° F.
- Cut your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. You should see all the pulp and seeds in the middle. For easy removal, it’s actually easier to remove the pulp and seeds after roasting, but you can remove it at this stage also.
- Brush the spaghetti squash with some olive oil, or other oil of your choice, and place them face up on a tray.
- Cook the spaghetti squash for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is cooked through. It should all be soft and pliable. The sign your spaghetti squash is done is that it has started to lightly brown the surface of the spaghetti squash.
- While the squash is cooking, you can make your ground beef sauce. Place your ground beef in a large pan over medium heat. Stir the meat so that it cooks evenly.
- If you want to add in any chopped veggies (onions, zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms are a few of my favorites!), add them in with the beef and allow them to cook.
- Once the vegetables are cooked through, add your marinara sauce of choice. Like I mentioned before, I love using Simply Ragu, and usually have a few jars in my house for easy weeknight meals like this!
- Let your sauce simmer on low until your sauce is ready. I recommend using a lid to cover the sauce, since bubbling marinara sauce can easily splatter everywhere and make a mess!
- Once your spaghetti squash is cooked, set it aside until it is cool enough to handle. Then, using a fork, pull apart the meat of the squash into spaghetti-like strands. Place directly onto a plate for eating.
- Top your spaghetti squash with your delicious ground beef sauce, and you’re ready to eat!
For as easy as this recipe is, I can’t believe I don’t make this more often. It’s nutritious, delicious, and cheap. It also cuts down on any pasta cravings that you might have, and adds so many more servings of veggies to your day.
Spaghetti Squash with Ground Beef Sauce
- 2 medium spaghetti squash, or one large
- 1 lb ground beef (or other ground meat)
- 2 jars pasta sauce
- Preheat your oven to 400°F
- Prepare spaghetti squash by cutting it in half lengthwise and using a spoon to scoop out the middle portion of seeds and pulp.
- Lightly brush the spaghetti squash with olive oil and place the halves face up in an oven safe dish or tray.
- Place squash in oven for 30-40 minutes until cooked through. The thickness of your squash will determine how long you will need. I usually take them out once I see a slightly browned surface.
- While the squash is in the oven, begin preparing the sauce by cooking the ground meat in a large saucepan over medium heat. You can use ground beef, turkey, etc. If omitting meat and only using vegetables, place 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan before cooking vegetables.
- Place any extra veggies into your meat mixture and allow them to cook through.
- Add your pasta sauce!
- Let your sauce simmer on low until your squash is ready.
- Once the squash is done, let the squash cool until they're cool enough to handle. Then use a fork to "spoon" out the spaghetti squash into stringy squash "noodles."
- Place squash in a bowl and then top with your pasta sauce!