Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake

If you are looking for a dish that brings a BOATLOAD of veggies, protein and flavor to the dinner table, then Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake will be the bee's knees in your book.

(yes, I said that...and I'm not sorry)

Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake

Did you grow up eating spaghetti pie as a kid? I don't recall them showing up in my own childhood kitchen, but I do remember many friends from my youth talking about them with hearts dancing in their eyes....and I always found the concept of a spaghetti pie quite intriguing.  All of the wonders of spaghetti and meatballs morphed into casserole form. So interesting.

The curiosity of spaghetti pies never quite went away.

Fast forward to now...and I still haven't made an ACTUAL spaghetti pie.... but I still kind of wanted to....but, just healthier. And with veggies. A lot of them. Like, mostly veggies! And, so thats what I did. And I ended up with Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake

Okay, so its totally not a pie...because I had way WAY too much veggie goodness in this casserole to fit into a pie dish...so a bake it became. And I am not sorry. Because while this Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake isn't the prettiest thing to look at (there, I said it first), it is alllll kinds of delicious and nourishing. 

Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake

When my husband (not the biggest spaghetti squash enthusiast in the world, if I'm being honest) took a bite of this bake, he kept on eating....and eating....

"This is the best way I have ever had spaghetti squash!" he said, serving himself up a formal plateful (instead of eating out of the casserole dish). Score!

Time Saving Tip: Consider making your spaghetti squash ahead of time

I am NOT someone who is willing to spend 2 hours making dinner. Not even on my slowest, sit-around-the-house kinds of days. Nope. Not going to happen. 

However, spaghetti squash takes a bit of time to cook up! So, if you are planning to make this Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake for dinner, consider making up the spaghetti squash ahead of time so you aren't serving dinner and reading your kids bedtime stories at the same time.

I made my spaghetti squash the day before in my Instant Pot using this method. And it worked like a dream! 

If you don't have an Instant Pot, cooking it in your slow cooker is equally as magical and easy! 

Of course, you can also go old-school and roast it in your oven ahead of time using this method

Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake

Resistant Veggie-Eater Tip: Hide the Veggies

Yes, I know. This dish is MOSTLY veggies, so how exactly do you hide them? Well, for one...my husband (remember, the reluctant spaghetti squash lover?) didn't even know he was eating spaghetti squash at first. It was mixed with so many other things that it just kind of all blended all together!  Perhaps make a small side of pasta and serve this bake generously over the top as a sort of mega-veggie-loaded sauce to help ease them into it if they are iffy at first.

Is the green spinach scaring your family off? Just puree it up in your blender or food processor with a little sauce before adding it to the recipe....and they won't even know it's there. Trust me...that's how I got spinach into my daughter for the longest time, until she (finally) warmed up to it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, deseeded, cooked and shredded 
  • 1 pound ground beef, chicken or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce sauce (or to taste) (opt for homemade and/or a brand that is sugar free)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon dry basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs, whisked

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish (or one close in size).
  2. While the oven warms up, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, crumble the meat into the hot skillet.  Add garlic and onion and use a large spoon or spatula to break up the meat and stir. Cook until the meat is no pink and onions are translucent.
  3. Add the chopped spinach to the hot skillet and cook with meat mixture until spinach is slightly wilted. 
  4. Use a slotted spoon to scoop meat mixture into a large mixing bowl. The slotted spoon allows the extra liquid from the meat to drain off and not make the bake to be too wet.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, dry basil, and cooked spaghetti squash to the bowl. Mix everything together.
  6. Add the whisked eggs last, stirring them in until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  7. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until the edges start to brown and crisp a bit.
  8. Enjoy warm or let cool and store leftovers in fridge for up to 4 days.

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Veggie-Loaded Spaghetti Squash Bake