Oct 2, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Ragu


 
Roasted Spaghetti squash topped with a simple-yet-delicious meat sauce simmered with tomatoes, onions, carrots and celery.


I originally posted this recipe way back in 2009, before I owned a decent camera and I just had to give this a photo makeover (the photo was so bad I'm surprised anyone made it at all). It's so darn good you won't miss the pasta, and think of all the calories you're saving by making the swap! It's also low-carb, clean, gluten-free and perfect for my paleo followers out there too!


The beauty of this dish is you can totally make this family friendly. I know my kids prefer to have their meat sauce with pasta (plus they need their carbs too) so I cook some pasta for them and serve this with spaghetti squash for my husband and I. It's a very generous amount and extremely satisfying.


Of course, you can swap the beef for turkey if you wish, and you can certainly make the spaghetti squash in the microwave which is so much quicker. The sauce can be frozen for a later date and reheated when for a busier night. I've never tried freezing spaghetti squash, anyone out there know if I can? So there you go, a meal that can make the whole family happy – gotta love that!



Spaghetti Squash with Meat Ragu
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 cup squash, scant 3/4 cup sauce • Old Points: 3 • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 175 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 19 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 14 g • Sugar: 8 g
Sodium: 263 mg (without the salt) • Cholesterol: 40 g

Ingredients:
  • 8 cups cooked spaghetti squash (from 2 medium, about 6 lbs total)
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste

For the Meat sauce:

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • (4 oz) 1/2 onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped  
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped 
  • 1 lb 95% lean beef  
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I prefer Tuttorosso)  
  • 1/4 cup white wine (yes, you can leave this out if you dont drink wine) 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste


Directions:


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane. Season with salt and bake about 1 hour, or longer if needed on a baking sheet, cut side up.


If you prefer the microwave, cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and fibers and place on a microwave safe dish and cover. Microwave 8-9 minutes or until soft.


In a large deep sauté pan, melt butter and add oil. Add onions, celery and carrots and sauté on medium-low for about 3 to 4 minutes, until soft. Add the beef and season with salt. Brown the meat and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces with your spoon until cooked trhough. When cooked, add the tomatoes and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and simmer until it reduces a bit, then add bay leaf and cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer at least an hour, stirring occasionally.



When spaghetti squash is cooked, let it cool for about 10 minutes. When cool, use a fork to remove flesh, which will come out in spaghetti looking strands. Keep covered and set aside keeping warm until sauce is ready. Serve topped with meat sauce and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

106 comments :

  1. My husband LOVES spaghetti squash, so he will be excited about this recipe. Thanks!

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  2. This is the first time I visit your blog and I love it in a word! (As being a person who wants to be a weight watcher lol)
    Cheers from Istanbul,
    Banu

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  3. Looks yummy! I love spaghetti squash!

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  4. Another great looking dish! You're making me so hungry, lol.

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  5. This looks amazing. Have to try out spaghetti squash.

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  6. Never cooked Spaghetti Squash before but I will give it a try although I doubt if it is available here in the supermarkets or street markets. I hope it is! Thank you again my friend!

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  7. That looks good! I have been wanting to try using spaghetti squash more often.

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  8. I just made this last night. It was so good. I am so happy to have found your blog yesterday.

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  9. I love spaghetti squash. I always roast it cut side down on a cookie sheet and I spray it with olive oil cooking spray, the pan too.

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  10. Made this tonight and it was delicious. Added some minced garlic and italian seasoning. My boys even ate it and they are very picky! Thanks for the hint on the Tuttorosso tomatoes. They are great! Made the Santa Fe Crockpot Chicken the night before and it was great too! Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

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  11. That's great! Love when you can get kids to eat their veggies!

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    Replies
    1. I love spaghetti squash...I made baked spaghetti squash and cheese on Sunday. l even added baby mushroom caps.

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  12. I'm going to make this tonight! Thanks for the fab idea!

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  13. Love it--what is the point value if you substitute ground turkey instead of beef???

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  14. I used very lean ground beef, I think the points are the same for ground turkey.

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  15. If I don't want to use wine, what do you suggest that I substitute?

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  16. You can just leave the wine out if you prefer not to use it.

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  17. Since all of the points are in the sauce, I could use just a 1/2 cup and points would be cut in half, right? Sounds like a dumb ? but I don't like my "pasta" swimming in sauce. That would really be a light dinner on days I don't have a lot of points left. Add a side salad or another vegie, and I'm good to go!! :)Thanks!

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  18. Yes, that sounds about right!

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  19. Gina - This looks YUM-O! I plan to substitute the meat with Smart Ground Original which is a veggie protein crumbles. Its 70 calories per 1/3 cup. How would that change the points?

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  20. We tried this tonight and the kids ate it up. We told them that it was spaghetti, the second that one of them heard "Squash" she stopped eating even though she was almost done. I modified the recipe a bit, we (except my husband) don't care for the chunks of tomatoes so we used Tomato sauce instead.. We didn't use the wine or the bay leaf either. It was pretty good for the modifications we made.

    We had 1/2 cup of sauce and 1 cup of squash so we counted that as only 2.5/3 points + .2 oz of cheese(4 total. It was DELICIOUS...Thanks for the recipes we are excited to try more....

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  21. making this tonight!! your recipes are a GOD SEND!! I can only eat so many Smart Ones dinners!! plan on using diced tomatoes since that's what I have on hand, will any adjustments need to be made inorder for that substitution to work?? Thanks again!

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  22. It's cheaper making your own Smart Ones! It should be fine with diced tomatoes.

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  23. Gina,
    You have wonderful recipes. I am making this one right now. I did add a little italian spices because it was not quite spicy enough for my family the way it was but yummy ! We make a different recipe everyday! Love all we have tried. Had lasagna rollups last week, oriental meatballs and we are planning to make crock pot chili but it is hot again in California!
    Nancy

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  24. Great Nancy! It's unseasonable warm in NY the past few days here too. Luckily the crock pot doesn't heat the kitchen up. Enjoy!

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  25. We made a vegetarian version of this tonight (Meatless Monday). It was tasty! This was my first time having spaghetti squash. I'll definitely have this again!

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  26. I bet it would be great with a mushroom ragu for meatless monday!

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  27. I am eating this recipe right now and I LOVE IT. I followed the directions but did add mushrooms I needed to use up. OH, I didn't put the wine in the sauce; I'm drinking it with the meal. Gets a BIG smiling face for me!

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  28. Puts a big smile on my face too!

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  29. Would you hav the points plus calculation for this WONDERFUL recipe???

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  30. I made this and have to say...absolutely delicious! Made a few changes, used ground turkey and added a pinch of thyme & oregano. Will definitely make again..........Thank you!

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  31. I am making this tonight and it smells amazing. I have tasted the sauce as it is simmering and it's tasty. My husband just informed me that we won't be using jar spaghetti sauce anymore and I will be making this sauce:) Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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  32. Just discovered your site and LOVE it!!! Everything looks awesome! How many points + would this recipe be? Thanks!

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  33. I am making this sauce now but serving it over whole wheat spaghetti instead of the spaghetti squash. Smells amazing in my kitchen right now. Thanks for the recipe. I never go wrong with your website.

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  34. Update:

    This turned out amazingly! Best pasta sauce I have ever made! I added a little thyme and oregano to the sauce. I also used a higher fat ground beef but only because its what was in the freezer.

    Thanks for this recipe. I'll never let it go!

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  35. Quick question: Since I am counting calories and not points, are the calories listed just for the suace, or does that include the spaghetti squash? We don't have that here and I am going to try the sauce over whole wheat noodles. Thanks in advance for your response!! And LOVE the site!!

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  36. Nevermind, just noticed that the calorie count was not listed...scratch that, but thanks anyways! I have several other recipes I'm ready to try!

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  37. Jen Lepley-Callan11/9/11, 8:19 PM

    This was awesome!! It was the first time our house had ever had a spaghetti squash in it. We loved it. However, holy cow, I needed a chain saw to cut my squash was not expecting that! I think in my mind I was expecting it to be similar to a pumpkin...Any tips?

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  38. I made this recipe tonight and it was absolutely delicious...you have the serving size as 1/6th. Im wondering if you can tell me what the serving size is in cups...thank you!

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  39. Little Miss Sunshine1/12/12, 11:58 PM

    Very good. We'd never tried spaghetti squash. I accidentally let my squash get cold; I think I would have liked it even more if the squash was still hot. The meat sauce is the BEST sauce I've ever had! Prep was pretty easy, with the exception of cutting the squash...I had to call the husband in to take care of that for me, even after I nuked it for a couple of minutes. Thanks for another great recipe!

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  40. This was delicious! I made it today and was so pleased when my boyfriend even wanted a 2nd helping! I love your site & have tried several of your recipes. Each one is amazing! Who said eating healthy can't be tasty too?

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  41. I made this for supper tonight, and my husband and I both loved it. It was our first experience with spaghetti squash, and I liked the crunchy texture. I will definitely make this again. I am on Weight Watchers, and this was a great way to enjoy the deliciousness of spaghetti sauce without the extra points that the pasta adds.

    I recently told my husband that we both really need to learn how to cook all over again. I was taught how to cook by my mother who is now 86. Your recipes are helping me to cook delicious foods that are much healthier... thanks so much! I truly appreciate all of your hard work.

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  42. what is the serving size in cups?

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  43. Hi Gina,
    Great recipe it was delicious.

    A friend gave be a easy way to cook spaghetti squash. Use a fork or knife and puncture the squash 20 times. Put on a microwave safe dish (whole) and mircowave for 20 minutes. Let cool and cut in half. So easy and delicious.

    Anne

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    Replies
    1. yes, I tried this way and it is yummy...I haven't had any type of squash in 20+ years...did not like as a child but wow I am amazed that this was so good...this will replace most of my pastas

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  44. I made this last year and was surprised at how good it is. Does anyone know if it can be made and frozen for lunches?

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  45. i'm a new cook, you could say, i never cooked until a few months ago. thank god for you, gina! i have tried a few of your recipes already and i love that they were pretty easy to follow, even for a beginner like me :) i made this tonight - i was nervous because i've never made homemade sauce or spaghetti squash! i skipped the celery, wine, and bay leaf and added a bit of dried oregano and thyme and it turned out great! thank you so much for all of your great, healthy, recipes!

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  46. I tried this recipe... the squash came out crunchy. is this normal? If not what do u suggest i did wrong?

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    Replies
    1. It needed to cook longer. Sometimes cooking it cut side down helps.

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  47. This is probably a dumb question but does the calories include the squash or is it just the sauce? I'm also looking for freezable recipes as I have a 4,6 and 8 yr old and need to make quick and healthy meals. Are most of your recipes freezable?

    BTW, I absolutely LOVE your site!!! I'm not sure exactly how I came across it but I am on cloud nine over the fact that I did. Instead of having a healthy lifestyle consisting of bland food, I now a large selection of food to choose from. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful recipes!

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    1. Thanks Chantal, yes it includes the spaghetti squash, see serving size above. All my freezer friendly recipes are labeled so, you can access them in the list on the right column or I also have a Pinterest board.

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  48. I made something just like this last week, and I thought to myself, I wonder if Gina has ever posted a cool recipe for spaghetti squash and meat sauce. So crazy! I will definitely be making this recipe soon!

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  49. How funny that you repost this today! This week I made it out of your archives. It was delicious!

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  50. Love all the squash recipes! Keep 'em coming! Just made your cheesy spaghetti squash casserole last weekend, and it turned out perfect. My super-picky husband enjoyed it too. Thanks!

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  51. I've frozen spaghetti squash before. I found that it gets large frozen water crystals, so this time I'm going to use vacuum seal bags. I find it's expensive except this time of year, so it'll be good to stock up a bit in the freezer.

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  52. I freeze spaghetti squash all the time in tupperware and it gets water when you thaw it but you can just drain it and it's fine.

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  53. I love a good spaghetti squash recipe and this one was superb! Feel free to visit www.BetterOffHealthy.com for more healthy recipes!

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  54. I made spaghetti squash once and I wasn't completely sold. I'll try it with the meat sauce though!

    ~Sherine
    Confessions Of A City Girl / Enerjiee

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  55. I love spaghetti squash, we always make it with a sauce with bacon and curd cheese!
    (: Anna

    http://a-dash-of-anna.blogspot.co.at/

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  56. Hiya,

    I am having real trouble with the squash. When I cook it in the over as suggested, it has a lot of water in it and comes out like a mash and not in thick strands like yours does in the photos.

    Does anyone else have this problem? I am in the UK and spaghetti squash isn't readily available so I order it in so perhaps the quality of it is the reason behind this?

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Clare

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    Replies
    1. that happened to me too, you overcooked it. You have to check it every 10 min.

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    2. Agree that it is overcooked, but I don't think you need to check it every 10 minutes. Start checking it at around 35-40 minutes, and you'll get an idea of how much longer it needs to cook. If it's still watery, throw it into a hot saute pan for a minute or so before serving to help dry it out a bit.

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    3. Also be sure you're using the fork to pull the strands across from side to side instead of top to bottom of the cut halves - you have to pull WITH the grain. Pulling top to bottom will create the mashed/short strands.

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  57. It looks so good! Gonna try it some time!
    bobsyouruncle-x.blogspot.com

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  58. Spaghetti squash is easier to deal with if it's cut in half on the short side.

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  59. ooh, spaghetti squash! yum :)

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com

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  60. I have made this before and it is absolutely delicious. I added some garlic and hot sauce - as we like it a little on the spicy side. It is an old stand by. I also make the sauce with some fresh tomatoes - and freeze. It is so easy to pull the sauce out of the freezer when I am in a hurry.

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  61. What can I substitute for the celery?

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  62. Gina- I am not understanding how you calculate your points, I just put everything into the recipe builder that had points, the butter, the oil, the wine and the meat. It came out to 19 points plus for the whole recipe, that would be 2 points plus per serving? Did you mean to say it fed 4 people?

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  63. I make this with veggie "meatballs." One thing we go through a lot of it flavored olive oil, which I use in this recipe. I put a little tuscan herb olive oil on a paper towel and brush the squash before baking. When making the sauce, I use the butter olive oil. The oils can be a little spendy, but we get them from a local shop so we are supporting our local economy - and they are delicious :-)

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  64. Could you make the sauce in a slow cooker?

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    1. I think Gina actually does have a version of this sauce for the crockpot. I've made it before and it's good!

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  65. I love spaghetti squash! I've never tried it with a meat ragu, but I think I'm about to...

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  66. I cook spaghetti squash frequently and fin that it is much better to bake it for 25-30 minutes (max) to have a more "al dente" fake pasta. 1 hour give you squishy squash.

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  67. I froze half of my last batch of spaghetti squash, so I'll report back and let you know how the experiment worked. :)

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  68. I freeze individual portions of spaghetti squash w/meat sauce and have had no problems defrosting/reheating in the microwave. Enjoy!

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  69. Gina-
    This is the latest in a long line of your recipes that I have tried, and as usual, it didn't disappoint! Thank you so much for all your hard work.

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  70. Thank you, wonderful! Question: How do you all cut the squash? I know, lengthwise, but I have so much trouble getting through it I feel like I need a chainsaw!

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  71. Loved the Baked Spaghetti Squash with Cheese, can't wait to try this one!!

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  72. Gina, I am making this next week as well as the chicken soup with shitake mushrooms and rice. My husband commented that we are eating so well.

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  73. I tried spaghetti squash with a little butter, salt & pepper for the kids and they didn't like but I'm going to try again like this!

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  74. long time reader, first time commenter because i have to say that this was DELICIOUS and so, so easy! thank you, gina!

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  75. This looks delicious! It's about time I try out spaghetti squash in place of pasta, you make it look so good!

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  76. We are great fans of spaghetti sauce. Just wanted to let you know that I have frozen cooked spaghetti sauce before with some success - just slightly undercook it (still slightly crunchy but shreds easily). Then put it in containers and freeze. It does have additional moisture when it thaws, but I drain most of that off, cover it and microwave it which finishes off the cooking and doesn't get mushy. Good luck

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  77. Can't WAIT to make this later this week!!

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  78. Goodness, I just bought a spaghetti squash on impulse because it sounded wonderful and then I was wondering how I should make it. This seems just right. Perfect timing!

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    1. Made it and may I say: Yummilicious! Thanks!

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  79. Made this tonight with ground turkey and it was so delicious!

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  80. I went into this with an open mind because I've been wanting to try new things. I made my own ragu that was my grandmother's recipe but I tried it over the spaghetti squash.

    I missed my pasta SO much....

    It wasn't terrible and it is an alternative if you want to cut out pasta but it is not the same. Just my own opinion though :)

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  81. Kristy Creamer10/9/13, 9:34 AM

    I had been wanting to try spaghetti squash, so when this recipe popped up, I was thrilled! I changed two things though. One, we didn't have any wine, so that was omitted. Two, as the meat ragu was cooking away, happily, happily on the stove top, garlic powder and Italian seasonings just jumped right in there! I didn't try to stop them either, they had been begging to join the party anyway.

    Oh. My. Goodness! This is delicious! I was so very happy that I was making it for myself to take to work for dinner all week. I don't want to share! Delicious!!!!!

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  82. This is simmering on the stove right now. Can't wait to taste it!

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    1. Update: this was yummy. The meat could use some seasoning though. It was a little bland. Easy and quick though.

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  83. Easy to make, simple ingredients. Came out just like photo. Made only the ragu- not the squash.
    quite bland.
    **** 4 stars

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  84. thank you, thank you, thank you! i made this for my paleo boyfriend and me last night and it was phenom! i'm a self-professed squash hater, but will force myself to eat my veggies just because they're healthy for me. my boyfriend went for seconds and i can't wait for leftovers tonight. maybe i was wrong about hating squash...

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  85. I made this last night and it was delicious! The spaghetti squash is perfect with this sauce! I did add a little oregano and basil to the sauce after I tried it as the recipe is. Even my squash hating hubby liked it! Definitely a keeper! Thank you!

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  86. I don't know about freezing spaghetti squash as is but I make your spaghetti squash lasagna in bulk and freeze and it doesn't change the texture of the squash at all.

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  87. To make this totally dairy free could I double the olive oil and not use butter at all?

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  88. Yes, you can freeze spaghetti squash. I put mine in zip lock freezer bags, getting out almost all the air, write the date on the front, and it is ready when I need it..

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  89. I have made this recipe 3 times (leaving out the onion & wine due to personal preference) and I have to say... it is easy but still very delicious!
    I tend to be heavy handed on the spices and find Rachael Ray's Italian spice blend really adds perfectly to this dish.
    I have a rather closed minded family when it comes to new or different foods, but this recipe was truly a hit. These recipes come out as described, taste great, and provide nutritious guilt-free meals. I LOVE this blog.

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