These Low-carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash boats are SO good, you’ll want to dive in headfirst! Ground meat, kale, red bell pepper, and a mix of rich spices make this dish extra special.
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to eating healthy. These stuffed spaghetti squash boats are hearty and filling and of course, they taste great! There are endless possibilities for low-carb meals so you can enjoy every bite of your meal guilt-free.
Fall and winter is the peak season for spaghetti squash. If you are like me and love eating it but need some inspiration, check out these Chicken Spaghetti Squash and Chickpea Spaghetti Squash recipes.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Spaghetti Squash – choose two fairly small spaghetti squashes or one large squash.
- Ground Meat – use 1 lb of your favorite meat, it can be ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, etc. For this recipe, my favorite is ground lamb. Alternatively, use 2 cups of cooked green lentils to make this recipe vegetarian.
- Chili Powder – I love chili powder, it is slightly spicy and it brings out the meat flavors. You can substitute with cayenne pepper if you like.
- Cumin – rich and earthy, cumin adds depth to the mix of flavors. However, you can omit it if you don’t have any on hand.
- Coriander – coriander and cumin have a similar flavor, but they taste really good together. If needed, you can use Garam Masala or Masala curry powder instead. In a pinch you could also use a little oregano.
- Paprika – it is rich and spicy, similar to chili powder. They can replace each other, however I recommend using both in this recipe.
- Onion – use one medium yellow onion. You can also use white onion instead.
- Garlic – you’ll need 2 cloves of chopped garlic. If necessary you can replace it with garlic powder.
- Red Bell Pepper – orange or yellow bell peppers work too.
- Tomato Paste – if needed, you can substitute it with tomato sauce or tomato puree, just adjust the quantity. Usually 1 tbsp of tomato paste equals 3 tbsp of tomato puree or sauce.
- Kale – the rich greens and tough texture of kale can be replaced with collard greens or spinach leaves.
- Shredded Cheese – use any kind of melty cheese of your choice. My favorite is a mix of cheddar and parmesan.
- Parsley – use a little chopped parsely for garnish, but you can omit if you don’t want to use it. It just makes these squash boats look so pretty!
How to Make Low-Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- First, cut the spaghetti squashes in half lengthwise. Grab a spoon and scrape out all the seeds and slimy parts and discard them.
- Next, you have two options for cooking the spaghetti squash, bake it in the oven or use your Instant Pot.
Place the squash on a baking sheet and oil lightly all over. Then, place it in a 400F preheated oven for about 40 minutes until soft.
If using the Instant Pot, place the squashes on the trivet then add 1 cup of water to the bottom. Seal the lid and set it to 8 minutes on high pressure. A large squash might take 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel and finely chop a small onion and two cloves of garlic. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Then de-seed a red bell pepper and dice it.
- Grab a bunch of kale, de-stalk it first, and then cut it into fine stripes.
By now, you might hear your pressure cooker beep meaning it’s done. Make sure you immediately release pressure manually. Remove the lid, let all the steam out and turn it off so the spaghetti squash doesn’t continue cooking.
- Next, preheat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot add a drizzle of avocado oil and 1 lb of ground meat. Use a spatula to break up the meat and move it around constantly. Add spices, salt and pepper and stir well so all the meat gets covered.
- Once the meat is nice and brown, remove it from the pan and set aside. Depending on the fat content of the meat you used, you might want to remove the excess fat from the pan using a paper towel.
- Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan with the remaining fat and sauté until transluscent. Then add 1 tbsp of tomato paste to the pan and stir well to combine.
- Now add the diced bell pepper and stir for a few minutes, then add the meat back into the pan. Give it one last stir and place the lid on the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add the thinly sliced kale to the pan. Put the lid back on and let it steam for another 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, place your spaghetti squash halves on a baking sheet. Use a fork to fluff the squash a little.
- When the filling is finished cooking, stir the kale to combine with the rest of the ingredients. Then laddle the meat filling and stuff your spaghetti squash. Sprinkle about a 1.5 cups of melty cheese over the squash boats. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly brown.
- When done, take your low-carb stuffed spaghetti squash out of the oven. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top to garnish and dive in!
Low-Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- 2 small spaghetti squashes - or 1 large
- 1 lbs ground meat (lamb, beef, turkey) or 2 cups cooked green lentils for vegetarian
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bunch kale
- avocado oil
- sea salt
- 1.5 cups shredded cheese - I love a mix of cheddar and Parmesan
- parsley - for garnish
- Cut spaghetti squash(es) in half leghtwise and then bake or pressure cook.To bake: add to a baking sheet, oil lightly inside and out and bake at 400F for 40-45 mintues.To pressure cook: add 1 cup water to the bottom of the cooker, then the trivet, then add halved spaghetti squash UNoiled to the trivet and set to 8 minutes on high pressure. Release pressure manually. Remove the squash halves and place on a baking sheet.
- In the meantime, finely chop onion and garlic, dice bell pepper, and destalk and slice kale, and set aside.
- Preheat a large pan over medium heat and once hot add a drizzle of avocado oi. Add ground meat and break apart.
- Season the meat with coriander, cumin, paprika, chili powder, sea salt and pepper and keep breaking apart. Once nice and brown, remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
- Remove excess fat from the pan and then stir fry onion and garlic until starting to brown.
- Add tomato paste, diced bell pepper, and browned meat, reduce heat to low, put on the lid, and let simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add sliced kale and put the lid back on and let steam for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle the meat kale filling into the spaghetti squash halves, sprinkle with grated cheese, and place under the broiler for 4-6 minutes or until the cheese melted and browned to your liking.