cheesy spaghetti squash bake in one pan

A creamy cauliflower spaghetti squash casserole. A casserole!  Really struggled on the name for this one. Because there was a day when I thought I’d never make something called a casserole. You too right? I know I wasn’t alone. Remember when it meant lots of cans emptied into a dish and called dinner? Not the biggest fan of that.

up close photo cheesy spaghetti squash bake in one pan

But lots of healthy food packed into one dish that comes out of the oven to feed everyone at once? So we can eat without being surrounded by ten cutting boards of toppings and a blown up kitchen? I’m a fan of that.  It’s a rare occasion in my house still. I’ll admit. But when we ate this the other night? And when my daughter could come home late from soccer and heat some up instead of having to assemble a bunch of tacos or a sandwich (that I had to clean up at 10pm?)… it all made sense. Why the casserole still exists.  And I thought maybe I’d never stop making them till the day I die.

I get dramatic when my kitchen stays clean. It gets my endorphins going just talking about it again.

But you know what’s crazier than the ease and yumminess of this dish? THE MACROS. Insane. This is a huge pan, and I calculated a serving at about 1/4th of it which is 400 g. And it’s less that 300 calories. Which means full belly PLUS bigger dessert and we KNOW how I feel about that.

Taking a scoop of cheesy spaghetti squash bake

What you need for this (ahem) Casserole

I didn’t buy anything special, so hopefully these are items you might have lying around too. Although I DID have leftover cauliflower cream sauce from this Chicken Divan that’s to die for and also has killer macros and is totally a casserole but I’ve been avoiding calling it that.  This is the perfect thing to make when you’ve ALREADY made a batch of the sauce because then you can really just dirty the one dish! But making a fresh batch will work too… FINE. OR– I’ve got a substitution for you down in the recipe. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Extra lean ground turkey if you want the super hero macros, regular if you’re ok with great macros. BEEF if you don’t care. Italian sausage if you’re really living on the edge … we could go on!
  • Spaghetti squash duh
  • Half an onion
  • A can of tomatoes
  • Some garlic because ALWAYS garlic
  • Cauliflower cream sauce
  • Fresh spinach (but kale or arugula would be great too)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Basil
  • And a few simple seasonings

Taking a scoop of cheesy spaghetti squash bake

How to make the (ahem) casserole

Literally one pan. Which is straight black magic in my book. I didn’t even know what to do with myself with so little mess. It goes like this:

  • Saute your onion
  • Add the meat and spices till cooked
  • Then the tomatoes, spinach, and garlic
  • Stir in the Cauliflower cream sauce which makes it look gross. Consider yourself warned.
  • Then mix in your cooked spaghetti squash (lazy secret- I just microwave mine for ease!)
  • Cover it with cheese and pop it in the oven!
  • While it cooks you have time to wash the one cutting board you used to dice the onions. Or to make a side salad if you love them like me because heaven knows you don’t actually NEED more veggies.

Dipping bread into cheesy spaghetti squash bake

Oh and did I mention that since your giant portion will come to like 25 carbs, there’s most definitely room for a little bread? And you’re gonna want it to sop up all the yummy sauciness. I always have bolillo rolls lying around for sandwiches so even though I didn’t plan ahead with some yummy homemade french or crusty bread, a couple of these sliced up for the fam did the trick.  I like to spray mine with a tiny mist of olive oil spray and throw in the toaster for a minute. Broiler if I was doing a bunch of course. On the grill if we’re already grilling. You get it.

It’s bread. Can’t go wrong really. And it makes you feel like you’re having a decadent bowl of the most comforty comfort food. But you feel like a magician because threeeeeeee hundred calories. Baby food.

Cheesy spaghetti squash bake in one pan with a wooden spoon

If you live somewhere wonderful with seasons I hope you eat it in socks and a cozy sweatshirt followed by pre-dessert hot-cocoa with all of your freed up carbs. I’ll envy you and just keep cranking the AC.  Because my clean kitchen is worth it.

If you love a cozy, but macro-friendly casserole– high in protein, low in fat and carbs, high in taste and VOLUME, you’ll find lots more recipes like this one in my One-dish meal cookbook HERE.

Cheesy spaghetti squash bake in one pan with a wooden spoon

Creamy Cauliflower Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Comfort food meets MAKE ME FIT food. This is so healthy and light, but still super tasty and filling and makes your house smell amazing! And there's nothing like pulling out one pan of hot, cheesy food for dinner.
5 from 14 votes
Author Lillie
Course Casserole
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Calories 293 kcal

Disclaimer: the grams I’ve listed manually after each ingredient are accurate for a single recipe, but they will not multiply if you choose the 2x or 3x option. Please make sure and multiply on your own!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a medium onion diced 200 g
  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes DRAINED
  • 5 cloves garlic frozen dorot cubes over here!
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped (150 g)
  • 400 g cauliflower cream sauce from this recipe
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash I got 600 grams of squash out of mine for this recipe
  • 3 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (84g)- just regular part-skim, NOT low fat in this one- it's so light, I figured it could afford a little bit of real cheese flavor! But feel free to sub in what you want.

Instructions

  • Cook spaghetti squash however you like. You can roast it cut side down like Martha Stewart which is my preferred method. Or just poke it a few times and stick the whole thing in the microwave for 5-8 minutes which is what I did for this! Since it was going to be tossed with so many other things, I decided to simplify that step. While it's cooking, continue with the rest of the steps.
  • Heat a heavy bottom shallow pan over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add diced onions and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Let cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  • Add ground turkey and seasonings. Once the ground turkey is chopped up and cooked through, you can add more salt to taste if needed.
  • Add drained tomatoes and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped spinach and mix it in, letting it cook for a couple of minutes to wilt and get nice and mixed in.
  • Stir in 400 grams of cauliflower cream sauce and the fresh basil- it looks ugly now, it's gonna be ok!
  • Carefully cut the hot microwaved squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and insides with an ice scream scoop careful not to pull out too much of the good stuff.
  • Using a fork, scrape the squash into strings to get them all loosed from the skin and add them to the ground turkey mixture. Mix it all together well in the pan with tongs.
  • If you're using an oven safe pan, smooth the top of the mixture and top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes till the top is melty and bubbly.  If you want it to brown a bit like mine, broil for an additional 3-5 minutes. But watch it closely so it doesn't burn!
  • If it's not an oven safe pan, transfer mixture to a casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake as described.

Notes

  • A sub for the cauliflower sauce: If you don't already have cauliflower sauce in your fridge like I did, you might not want to go to the trouble of that extra step. You could sub in an equal amount of your favorite jarred marinara and the macros will not be that different! Of course the whole dish would be more tomatoey but I'm sure it'd be great! I love the Victoria Marinara from Costco for just 6 carbs per serving.  And if you used it in place of the cauliflower sauce, it would only add about two carbs and less than one gram of fat per serving of casserole. I might add 1-2 more cloves of garlic to the meat mixture with this substitution though, since the cauliflower sauce has a lot of additional garlic in it.

Nutrition

Serving: 400gFiber: 4.5gCalories: 293kcalSaturated Fat: 3.1gFat: 7.3gProtein: 33.7gCarbohydrates: 24.8g
Keywords bake, casserole, garlic, gorund turkey, italian, mozzarella, spaghetti, spinach, squash, tomatoes

Tried this recipe?

Tag @LillieEatsAndTells on Instagram with #LillieEatsandTells! We'd love to see your creations!

Cheesy spaghetti squash bake in one pan with a wooden spoon

Creamy Cauliflower Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Comfort food meets MAKE ME FIT food. This is so healthy and light, but still super tasty and filling and makes your house smell amazing! And there’s nothing like pulling out one pan of hot, cheesy food for dinner.
5 from 14 votes
Author Lillie
Course Casserole
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Calories 293 kcal

Disclaimer: the grams I’ve listed manually after each ingredient are accurate for a single recipe, but they will not multiply if you choose the 2x or 3x option. Please make sure and multiply on your own!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a medium onion diced 200 g
  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes DRAINED
  • 5 cloves garlic frozen dorot cubes over here!
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped (150 g)
  • 400 g cauliflower cream sauce from this recipe
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash I got 600 grams of squash out of mine for this recipe
  • 3 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (84g)- just regular part-skim, NOT low fat in this one- it’s so light, I figured it could afford a little bit of real cheese flavor! But feel free to sub in what you want.

Instructions

  • Cook spaghetti squash however you like. You can roast it cut side down like Martha Stewart which is my preferred method. Or just poke it a few times and stick the whole thing in the microwave for 5-8 minutes which is what I did for this! Since it was going to be tossed with so many other things, I decided to simplify that step. While it’s cooking, continue with the rest of the steps.
  • Heat a heavy bottom shallow pan over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add diced onions and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Let cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  • Add ground turkey and seasonings. Once the ground turkey is chopped up and cooked through, you can add more salt to taste if needed.
  • Add drained tomatoes and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped spinach and mix it in, letting it cook for a couple of minutes to wilt and get nice and mixed in.
  • Stir in 400 grams of cauliflower cream sauce and the fresh basil- it looks ugly now, it’s gonna be ok!
  • Carefully cut the hot microwaved squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and insides with an ice scream scoop careful not to pull out too much of the good stuff.
  • Using a fork, scrape the squash into strings to get them all loosed from the skin and add them to the ground turkey mixture. Mix it all together well in the pan with tongs.
  • If you’re using an oven safe pan, smooth the top of the mixture and top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes till the top is melty and bubbly.  If you want it to brown a bit like mine, broil for an additional 3-5 minutes. But watch it closely so it doesn’t burn!
  • If it’s not an oven safe pan, transfer mixture to a casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake as described.

Notes

  • A sub for the cauliflower sauce: If you don’t already have cauliflower sauce in your fridge like I did, you might not want to go to the trouble of that extra step. You could sub in an equal amount of your favorite jarred marinara and the macros will not be that different! Of course the whole dish would be more tomatoey but I’m sure it’d be great! I love the Victoria Marinara from Costco for just 6 carbs per serving.  And if you used it in place of the cauliflower sauce, it would only add about two carbs and less than one gram of fat per serving of casserole. I might add 1-2 more cloves of garlic to the meat mixture with this substitution though, since the cauliflower sauce has a lot of additional garlic in it.

Nutrition

Serving: 400gFiber: 4.5gCalories: 293kcalSaturated Fat: 3.1gFat: 7.3gProtein: 33.7gCarbohydrates: 24.8g
Keywords bake, casserole, garlic, gorund turkey, italian, mozzarella, spaghetti, spinach, squash, tomatoes

Tried this recipe?

Tag @LillieEatsAndTells on Instagram with #LillieEatsandTells! We’d love to see your creations!

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Love this recipe! The cauliflower cream sauce is one of my favorite parts of it. I like to make up extra to keep in smaller servings in the freezer. So good!

  2. 5 stars
    I have never tried this with the CAULIFLOWER sauce, but have always done The version with Marinara instead amd love it!

  3. 5 stars
    yOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS RECIPE! iT’S SO FLAVORFUL AND MY WHOLE FAMILY LOVED IT! THE LEFTOVERS ARE EVEN BETTER! THIS IS ON THE REPEAT LIST IN OUR HOUSE.

  4. 5 stars
    We had THE creamy CAULIFLOWER SPAGHETTI sQuash CASSEROLE for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! How can this taste so good and have such good flavor with so many veggies?? THis Recipe will be in regular rotation in the cooler months. I had zuccHini to use up so i threw that in, too. This was a hit fOr my family. I love it when recipes taste goOd and are gOod fOr you, too.

  5. 5 stars
    Have come back to this recipe several times for meal prep. I love it for dinners or lunches at work. I have always subbed the jarred marinara sauce and it turns out delicious.

  6. 5 stars
    This was SO delicious!! I followed your exact recipe and I don’t think it was too thick at all. It was nice and creamy and the flavors were great! My husband ate two bowlfuls and wanted more. We had plenty for leftovers. Thanks–this is a keeper!

  7. 5 stars
    I have stuffed chicken breast before, with feta cheese and arugula or something like this. And my Family was indeed impressed 😉 The Caprese combo sounds pretty amazing.

  8. Delicious! My first recipe from Lillie and it turned out great. I was hesitant because I didn’t know if the flavor of these recipes were going to be satisfying but definitely isn’t lacking in flavor at all! Very good. I did make that cauliflower sauce and added a lot more garlic because I do that with every dish. I doubled this recipe and since I didn’t have ground turkey I used ground pork instead. I’m sure that messed up the macros but I’ll try it with ground turkey next time. Was great with the pork though! I did pair this with some homemade dinner rolls as well. Will certainly make this again.

  9. I’m not sure how I’m in the minority here but I found this recipe to have way too much garlic. Between the garlic listed in the ingredients plus the garlic from the cauliflower cream sauce it’s all I taste. I wish I had made it with a jar of Rao’s instead of the cauliflower cream.

    1. I too found it too garlic-y. Next time I’ll try marina sauce maybe. This made 2 casseroles for me, and no one in my fam but me is eating it.

  10. Yes I too love winter. You never have to feel guilty about taking the snow day off! Cuddle up with your honey and binge watch. Warmer weather entails so much work! Gardening and such. Plus the heat of warmer seasons, I can do without.. The kitchen is too hot to spend any time there!

  11. I made this yesterday and it was a hit. I will definitely make again and again.
    I’m on a very low carb eating plan that allows real, natural fats and meat protein, but does not allow garlic, milk or flour. I’ve discovered since starting this just after Easter that I have a bit of a gluten sensitivity, too, as gluten causes inflamation and achiness in my joints. I’m willing to “cheat” just a smidge by using a very small amount of garlic powder, and I can certainly substitute heavy cream for milk, but I’m not sure what to do to replace the flour. Can it be omitted completely?

  12. This looks really wonderful. I do think spaghetti squash is a great option for enjoying traditional noodle dishes on a grain-free diet. Thanks for posting this on Food Flicks Friday.

  13. Hi there! This was delicious. How many servings does this make? I want to make sure I’m measuring this out correctly. Thanks!

  14. Thank you for this post. I’ve always believed that chicken had to be cooked to 180 using an instant read thermometer to be safe. Always dry. I do more grilling outdoors, but I’ll definitely have to look for one of those pans. Should be good for any type of meat.

  15. Great recipe! Easy to make, and tastes even better once reheated! Love that the cauliflower sauce makes enough for leftovers/other meals. Guilt-free decadence. <3

  16. I was wondering if you had ever made this without the meat? I would like to make it a vegetarian dish but wanted to know your thoughts.

  17. Lillieeeee….you are my hero! Thank you for this AMAZING recipe. How is this SO good!?! You truly are a macro-friendly recipe wizard! Thanks so much for sharing all your goodness.

  18. I have 8 kids ranging in age from 2-14 and every single one LOVED this! We are having it for the 2nd time tonight and they were so excited. My two year old had four large servings last time. So so good!!

  19. I’ve loved every recipe or inspiration for a recipe I’ve tried of yours! Thank you so much for creating these macro friendly yummies! I have really been craving vegetables and this hit the spot!

  20. Keep the fall recipes coming! A few years ago I got called for grand jury duty and put it off, then got called for county!! Some luck I have lol. Only went one day and it wasn’t that bad. Good luck

  21. I am someone who doesn’t likes veggies AT ALL. I was trying to branch out but seriously didn’t have super high hopes for this recipe because it’s basically packed with vegetables. I made it and lo and behold, I loved it. It has great flavor and it does not taste like I am eating a bowl of spaghetti squash with a cauliflower sauce. It is my new and improved comfort food. I actually crave this now and always keep it in my fridge for a quick and healthy meal option. It tastes just as good throughout the week as it does the first time. Lillie, you are so good at what you do!

  22. This is insanely good, but I’m not surprised in the least. All the recipes of yours that I’ve tried have been crazy good. YOU HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE!!! Seriously, crunch wrap – game changer, protein milk shake amazingness – game changer, Carnitas – game changer. I can’t thank you enough for all your wonderful recipes. This spaghetti squash casserole tastes so decadent and delicious and creamy, it seriously is heavenly. Thank you so so much for making and sharing your delicious food!

  23. HI! i will make this on my next round. But one question, the entire casserole is 400g? or is that what “my” serving will be while tracking my macros? Thank you so much!

  24. I finally made this after meaning to since I found your page on Instagram moons ago. It is absolutely delicious!! I made double so I could freeze one casserole as I am meal prepping for the arrival of a new baby – and I am SO glad I did. I am not sure how it will freeze and reheat, but I’m looking forward to my next meal of this either way! Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad! And while I haven’t popped on in the freezer yet, I’ve heard from readers who have and say it turns out great. Let me know! And good luck with the upcoming baby Michelle! So exciting. xo

      1. I want to make this and also freeze a casserole. Do you know if people are leaving the cheese off before they freeze??? Or if it freezes well after its been cooked ed with the cheese. So many questions. Lol

        1. Shoot I wish I knew! I haven’t actually frozen this one. But I wouldn’t worry about the cheese.. I’m sure it’d freeze and then bake just fine! I’d only worry about the wateriness of the spaghetti squash…

          1. Hi! I was wondering if the original commenter tried to freeze and how it went. Planning to make a double batch this weekend, and I would like to freeze one.

  25. Loved it! All the garlic and creaminess oh my! Huge portion, as I was eating I kept thinking “ this can’t be right” 😂

  26. I can’t wait to try! Can you tell me how many oz of the cauliflower cream sauce to add? I don’t have a scale to measure 400g

  27. This recipe is FABULOUS! It’s a household favorite ! Even my 5 and 7 year old love it. The macros are amazing and the taste makes you feel like you’re totally cheating. Such a win! Bonus she mentioned once, if you make the cauliflower cream sauce and have too much just freeze 400g in a bag to make next time a quick fix! And trust me there will absolutely be a next time. Enjoy !

  28. Amazing!!!! All of my kids loved it. The cauliflower sauce is so good and blend of seasonings with spaghetti squash is just perfect!

  29. Oh my goodness I have been eyeing this one for a while. I finally made it tonight!!! As always soooo delicioso! Your recipes make me excited to eat and log. Thank you thank you for being such a yummy human being, who has loves making yummy eat very fitable food.

  30. Oh my goodness! This was an amazing recipe, Lillie! All of my kids devoured it and that is amazing to me!! I have very picky eaters. It is sooo flavorful and I’m still trying to understand the awesomeness of the macros! Yayyy! So much win! This casserole will be made again and again!

  31. This dish was SO delicious, easy, and husband approved! The cauliflower cream sauce is AMAZING. This will definitely be going into heavy rotation at my house, thank you!!

    1. Heather! So sorry I’m just getting to this! Ok, I would just figure you’re getting about a 4 oz serving of the ground turkey in a full serving of this casserole.. so I’d guess you got about 7 more grams of fat per serving and just about 3 or 4 fewer grams of protein.

  32. Every bite got better and better! My husband wasn’t sure about it at first, didn’t like the look of it? But even he went back for seconds. Will definitely make again! Thank you for the “lillie size portion” too!

    1. Taryn! Thanks for this comment and I’m so glad it was a hit! And that I’m not the only one who appreciates volume- haha.

  33. How do you weigh out your spaghetti squash? Do you weigh it after it’s cooked and input the cooked weight in MFP? It’s the one veggie that I always get confused about when it comes to macro counting.

    1. Good question! I’ve compared a ton of listings for nutrition facts and luckily the steamed and fresh come out SO close. Like 6 or 7 carbs per 100 grams. So I’m not too worried about it either way. But I log a “steamed spaghetti squash” and weigh it after I pull it from the skin. I remember feeling the same way though!

  34. This looks delish Lillie! I am definitely putting it in this week’s menu. Also fasting from social media & loving it so much! You’re one of my faves to follow otherwise. 💜
    Karli @healthconfessions