Spaghetti Squash Casserole

look at that...

look at that…

My favorite season is here which means I’ll be cooking squash-and-pumpkin everything for the next three months. I’m so excited. I just can’t hide it… seriously, squash makes me so happy. This spaghetti squash casserole made with ground beef is the absolute perfect way to welcome the season. It’s super easy to make and if there’s just two of you, it’ll feed you for days. I planned on freezing the leftovers but it was just so good that we finished it all so quickly. I think one day I ate it for breakfast and dinner. Is that weird?

Spaghetti squash is a versatile fruit (yes, it’s a fruit). Some say the flavor of the squash itself is a little bland – but in my mind, that’s a good thing. That means you’re not limited in what you can do with this squash; it can take on the flavors of whatever other spices or sauces you are cooking with. When you cook this type of squash, it produces slightly crunchy spaghetti-like strands that you can use in any recipe calling for noodles – for example, Chicken Spaghetti (paleo), Paleo Drunken Noodles, or Paleo Kheer (dessert)!  This squash is also a great way to sneak in fiber and make one pound of meat stretch for several meals (see my Breakfast Cups!). Can you tell that I use this squash a lot?

spaghetti squash and ground beef casserole

spaghetti squash and ground beef casserole

You can cook spaghetti squash several different ways (oven, boiling, crockpot, microwave). I usually cook my squash in the oven because I think it gives the squash more of a roasted flavor. I cut it in half (or I get Roby to do this), scoop out the seeds and put the squash on a baking dish cut side down. Sometimes I’ll put a little oil, salt and pepper on the halves. Then, I’ll pop it in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes or until I can easily glide a fork or knife into the squash (roasting time depends on the size of your squash).

Growing up in an Indian household, I’m used to food having a lot of flavor. I’m not saying I need food to be spicy but if it’s bland, in my book that = boring. Because spaghetti squash is kinda sorta bland, it’s important to add a lot of spices to this dish. I used fresh garlic, serrano peppers, paprika, cumin, thyme, chili powder, red pepper flakes and of course, the big S&P. I also made sure to create a base of onion, serrano pepper and garlic to help flavor both the oil and the meat.

I think you’ll really like this casserole. It’s nicely spiced and it’ll keep you feeling full and warm this fall.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced (more if you like it spicy)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound grassfed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, adjust to taste (be sure to season well)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • green onion, garnish

Instructions

    To prepare squash using the oven method
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a little oil, salt and pepper to cut sides.
  3. Place squash cut side down in a baking dish.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife (cooking time depends on size of squash).
  5. To prepare meat
  6. In a pan, add oil on medium heat and then add the onion, serrano pepper and a pinch of salt.
  7. Once onions turns translucent, add garlic and after a couples minutes add the ground beef and spices. Continue cooking until the beef is done.
  8. Prepare the Casserole
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Combine the cooked beef, spaghetti squash strands, green bell pepper and the diced tomatoes.
  11. Add the whisked egg to the mixture, combine well and pour into a casserole dish.
  12. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden on top.
http://myheartbeets.com/spaghetti-squash-casserole/

Comments

  1. katrina says

    This sounds great! I was just thinking about adding more Italian style seasonings and vegetables to it for something reminiscent of baked spaghetti. But I was wondering… how do you drain crushed tomatoes? I’ve never heard of doing that before.

    • Tricia says

      Hi Ashley, my husband and I cooked this dish last night….delicious! And so unique! We just drained the tomatoes using a colander, easy to do. Better to drain so that it’s not too much liquid. Thank you for posting this! Your blog & photos are fantastic!

  2. JeriO says

    This looks like the perfect fall meal! I’ve missed traditional “casseroles” since moving to Paleo so this could be a cool option. What’s neat about your recipe is there is room to use spices to make it Italian, Spanish, Indian, etc. Love the flexibility! Thanks for the recipe. I have a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter right now!

  3. Elena says

    I made this recipe twice this week! My whole family loves it and I’m looking forward to trying some of your other recipes. They all look delish!

    • says

      Elena, that’s awesome! I’m so glad you and your family love the recipe! I’m posting a creamy pumpkin chicken casserole on Friday – if you liked this recipe then I think you’ll like that one too. Stay tuned :)

  4. Lucia says

    I’m a bit puzzled.. after you bake the sqaush do you chop it? Or cut it into spaghetti-shaped strands? Or just mash it in? Sorry.. totally unfamiliar with this kinda thing!

  5. Christina says

    I made this tonight! I found your website through another one of your recipes from Pinterest. It was a hit! We have half of it left so it will be another meal this week. My husband even liked it who is not a fan of squash of any kind and my young children ate it :-) thanks for such a great recipe.

  6. Anna says

    I use online recipes constantly, but this is the first time I have ever taken the time to comment on the outcome. WOW!! So incredibly divine! My whole family loved it and I was goddess of the kitchen for a night. My meat and potatoes husband and 4yr old twins are a tough crowd, this made everyone happy.

  7. Ryan Basye says

    I made this for my wife tonight using diced leftover chicken instead of the burger and 28 oz of tomatoes. We thought that it have used even more tomatoes. It is nice to find more uses for squash. Thanks for the great recipe, we are looking forward to exploring the Paleo style of cooking.

  8. Staci says

    Hi! can this be made ahead of time, put in the fridge in casserole dish, and baked at dinner time? thanks. can’t wait to try this!

  9. Mary says

    This is the best casserole I have ever eaten. I have substituted ground turkey for the beef and it tastes just as good. I have used curry since I did not have turmeric. Everyone who tries it asks for the recipe!

  10. Erin Honeycutt says

    Hi Ashley! I’m glad to have found your blog. I was looking for a Paleo spaghetti squash recipe to use for a huge amount of leftover squash I had. I made your casserole recipe, and it was delicious! Better yet, my kids loves it. I have been back to try other recipes too. The Naan bread is amazing, and I have the Watermelon Gazpacho on my menu this week. Thank you for being here- you are a great resource!!

  11. heather says

    Is there any way to make this without the nightshades? Or is there a sub for the egg you think might work? I have some food issues, but otherwise this recipe looks fabulous!

  12. Nina says

    Hi!
    I just made this, and it’s soooo good, but it was still slightly watery and didn’t have the casserole consistency once I started to serve it.
    I used the egg, and I drained the tomatoes, any idea what I did wrong?

    • says

      Nina, the water could be from the spaghetti squash. Maybe try patting it dry after it’s cooked? Or you could try adding another egg to better hold it together. It’s not going to be exactly like a casserole, sorry! Hope you still like it enough to make it again though!

  13. Laura L. says

    This is absolutely, hands down one of my favorite dishes ever!!! Will definitely be putting this on the weekly menu rotation, YUM!

Trackbacks

  1. […] 6. Spaghetti Squash Casserole Casseroles are a great way to feed a lot of people with one dish, and they’re easy to make and involve little babysitting. This casserole uses spaghetti squash as a base, which is a great idea because it has just the right texture for a casserole. The next big contributor is grass-fed beef, which puts you right in line with the Paleo balance of meat and vegetables. This is going to give the casserole a nice heartiness to it, and on a cold winter’s day nothing will put you back on track better than a generous piece of this. The great part is you don’t need to make anything else to go with it. […]

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