This spaghetti squash casserole has three ingredients and is substantial enough for a main meal with a tossed salad on the side. It is a wonderful meal to add to the weekly rotation. This recipe requires just a few ingredients that are gluten-free and low carb.
Cooking the Spaghetti Squash
To begin making this low carb spaghetti squash casserole, you will need to cook a medium to large-sized spaghetti squash. This should result in about 4 to 6 cups of cooked spaghetti squash strands which you will then use to assemble the casserole. Spaghetti squash is such a wonderful low carb way of enjoying something spaghetti-like with a Bolognese meat sauce with ground beef and/or pork. The squash flesh is reminiscent of strands of spaghetti once cooked, yielding a healthy version of a classic comfort food.
There are a couple of different methods you can use to cook the spaghetti squash, and both are incredibly easy. The first method is pressure cooking it in an Instant Pot whereas the second method involves cooking it in the oven.
Instant Pot Method
To do this, simply poke the squash all over with a knife. This is to ensure the squash doesn't explode during cooking in the pressure cooker. Next, you should add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker, which is essential to allow the cooker to come under pressure in the first place. The Instant Pot comes with a trivet which you will want to add into the Instant Pot bowl as well. At this point, you can place the squash on the trivet and pressure cook it on high for 20 minutes.
Once the timer has counted down, release the pressure by pushing the steam valve to the venting position. I like to do this with an oven to prevent injury since the steam will be quite hot. Once done, you can cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and scoop out the flesh to add to your casserole. See this post for even more Instant Pot spaghetti squash cooking tips.
For the oven method, preheat the oven to 350°F. The preparation of the squash will be a little different from the Instant Pot method in that you will be cutting the squash in half and removing the seeds before cooking it. I also like to coat the flesh with some olive oil and salt to add some protection from the heat of the oven along with some seasoning. At this point, place the halves on a baking sheet with the cut sides facing down. The total cook time should be 25 minutes, but you may need to bake the squash a little longer depending on your oven or particular squash.
For both cooking methods, if the squash is particularly wet, you can place it in a strainer set over a bowl so that the moisture leaches out. Once you are satisfied with the squash, you can move onto the next steps to making this squash casserole recipe.
How to Make Spaghetti Squash Casserole
If you cooked the spaghetti squash in the oven, you can keep the oven on as the temperature for cooking the casserole will be the same. Otherwise, if you used the Instant Pot method to cook the squash, preheat the oven to 350°F.
1. Assembling the casserole is easy. Start by assembling your ingredients - the spaghetti squash, bolognese sauce, and shredded cheese.
2. After you have cooked the squash in one of the above mentioned ways, add the squash strands to a casserole dish.
3. Now add store-bought or homemade Bolognese sauce, which can include a mixture of ground beef and ground pork, or your preferred ground meat like ground turkey or chicken.
4. Toss everything until the spaghetti squash and sauce and evenly combined.
5. The final step is sprinkling shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of the casserole and baking it in the oven until heated through.
6. It should take a total time of 25 to 30 minutes for the cheese to become melted and bubbly.
Serving the Casserole
This squash casserole recipe makes a perfect main dish. Moreover, even if you enjoy a plant-based diet or would simply like to incorporate a few meatless meals into your rotation, you could make the meat sauce vegetarian by replacing the ground meat in your Bolognese with lentils. Consider trying it with a tossed green salad or even some steamed greens or green beans on the side. A sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley would make a pretty and healthy garnish as well.
It would also be excellent as a side dish for a family potluck or as part of a holiday dinner spread. If children in your family don't enjoy more traditional preparations of squash, they may enjoy this meal because of the luscious meat and tomato-based sauce and oozing cheese.
Can I Make the Casserole in Advance?
Yes, you can! This spaghetti squash casserole holds up quite well, so you could cook the squash and make the ground beef Bolognese sauce (if you choose to use homemade rather than store-bought), before assembling it in the baking dish. Then, you can cover it and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it.
Just make sure to bring the baking dish up to room temperature before you put it in the hot oven as you don't want it to break. You could also cook the squash and sauce, and store them separately until you are ready to heat the casserole in the oven.
Other Casserole Recipes You'll Love:
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- 1 med-large spaghetti squash 4-6 cups cooked
- 1 recipe Bolognese sauce (or 4 cups jarred sauce)
- 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
- Instant Pot: Poke the squash with a knife all around. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooker. Add the spaghetti squash on a trivet. Cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Then quick release the pressure. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Oven Method: Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.
- Use a fork to pull out the squash strands. You can add then to a strainer to let excess water drip down.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (if not already hot from oven roasting the spaghetti squash).
- To a large casserole dish (9x13) add the spaghetti squash noodles and bolognese sauce. Toss gently to combine.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over top, then bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
To add moisture to a casserole, consider incorporating ingredients like sauces, broths, or creamy components such as sour cream or yogurt. Additionally, using juicy vegetables or adding a layer of cheese on top can contribute moisture during the baking process. Adjusting the cooking time and temperature can also impact the casserole's moisture level.
If the squash is particularly wet, you can place it in a strainer over a bowl to let excess moisture drain out before assembling the casserole.
Follow recommended cooking times—20 minutes in an Instant Pot or 25 minutes in a 350°F oven. Adjust based on squash size or your oven.
If needed, you can soften spaghetti squash by placing it in a strainer to drain excess moisture after cooking.