Cheesy Spaghetti Squash And Ground Turkey Bake Recipe

One of the best things about autumn is the arrival of winter squash. Butternut, acorn, delicata, and kabocha fill the shelves of the produce aisle, begging to be used in cozy fall feasts. One of the coolest types of squash you can get is, arguably, spaghetti squash, which is named for its resemblance to the pasta. If you've never cooked with spaghetti squash, you're probably wondering how exactly a round yellow vegetable resembles spaghetti, but that's the magic of it.

Once roasted, the soft insides of the squash can be fluffed into strands resembling spaghetti. Because the exterior stays hard, the squash basically becomes a tiny casserole dish, ready to fill with sauce and toppings. This obviously makes dinner more fun, but better, makes it healthy. While we love to load up on carbs, fitting in more vegetables is always welcome.

This recipe written with developer Michelle McGlinn is a high-protein, low-calorie option for cozy winter nights. Ground turkey is mixed with a creamy red tomato sauce and loaded into squash boats for a healthier pasta bake, but there's still plenty of comforting goodness thanks to the addition of cheese.

Gather the ingredients for a cheesy spaghetti squash and ground turkey bake

First, you'll need to grab spaghetti squash. Each one will be sliced in half for one serving, so plan to grab two squash about the size of your serving plate. From there, you'll need some pantry staples like olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. For the turkey sauce, grab lean ground turkey, Worcestershire, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, spinach, heavy whipping cream, Parmesan, and Italian seasoning. If you don't have a premade Italian seasoning mix, use a mixture of thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, and rosemary.

Step 1: Heat up the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 2: Brush the squash with oil

Brush 2 tablespoons of olive oil across the insides of the spaghetti squash.

Step 3: Season the squash

Season the squash with 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper.

Step 4: Arrange on a baking sheet

Place the squash halves cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Step 5: Ventilate the squash

Firmly poke the outside of the squash with a fork several times each.

Step 6: Roast until soft

Roast for 30-35 minutes, until tender.

Step 7: Heat the oil in a skillet

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Step 8: Crumble the turkey

Add the turkey and crumble until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the Worcestershire to the turkey.

Step 9: Add the aromatics

Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 10: Add the sauce ingredients

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and the remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Step 11: Add the Parmesan

Add the spinach, heavy whipping cream, and ½ cup Parmesan.

Step 12: Wilt the spinach

Stir until Parmesan is melted and spinach is wilted, then remove from the heat.

Step 13: Prepare the squash bowls

Turn the squash over and scrape the insides with a fork to create spaghetti-like strands.

Step 14: Add the filling

Divide the filling between squash.

Step 15: Top with Parmesan

Top with the remaining ½ cup Parmesan.

Step 16: Melt the cheese and serve

Return to the oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Could I make this ground turkey bake with pasta?

If squash boats aren't your thing, you can still make this recipe in a variety of different ways. If you'd simply rather eat spaghetti squash in a bowl, shred the squash and transfer the strands to bowls, then serve the turkey sauce over top. If squash isn't in season but you'd love a turkey-based, saucy dinner, this meal can be turned into a pasta bake.

Use a small, tubular pasta like penne, rigatoni, or ziti and cook to al dente, then combine with the prepared turkey sauce to coat. Add pasta water if the sauce needs thinning, then serve as-is or transfer to a casserole dish. Top the dish with Parmesan and bake until melted, about 10 minutes. Top with red pepper flakes as suggested. You can also try the same turkey tomato sauce with zucchini noodles for a similarly healthy, low-calorie pasta with the same texture as spaghetti squash.

How should I serve and store a spaghetti squash turkey bake?

Spaghetti squash are fun to serve because they can be eaten directly out of the oven in little squash bowls. Because they can leak (and were coated in oil), serve the squash in bowls or on plates to avoid a messy table. Serve with garlic bread, or to keep things healthy, pair with baked and breaded zucchini fries, roasted carrots, or green leafy salads, like a Caesar or Tuscan kale.

Spaghetti squash leftovers can be saved surprisingly well, too. If you have a large enough container, store the spaghetti squash as-is or wrap tightly in foil and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, simply microwave or bake the squash until warm. To save space, you can also transfer the contents of the squash to an airtight container, throwing away the shell. And if you have extra sauce that went without a squash to fill, save it and use it for a quick pasta lunch later.

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash And Ground Turkey Bake Recipe
4.9 from 11 ratings
Just in time for winter, this cheesy spaghetti squash and ground turkey bake will bring comfort to your dinner rotation.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
spaghetti squash on a plate
Total time: 1 hour
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 (2-pound) spaghetti squashes, halved and scooped
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
Optional Ingredients
  • Red pepper flakes, for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Brush 2 tablespoons of olive oil across the insides of the spaghetti squash.
  3. Season the squash with 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper.
  4. Place the squash halves cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  5. Firmly poke the outside of the squash with a fork several times each.
  6. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until tender.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  8. Add the turkey and crumble until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the Worcestershire to the turkey.
  9. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  10. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and the remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  11. Add the spinach, heavy whipping cream, and ½ cup Parmesan.
  12. Stir until Parmesan is melted and spinach is wilted, then remove from the heat.
  13. Turn the squash over and scrape the insides with a fork to create spaghetti-like strands.
  14. Divide the filling between squash.
  15. Top with the remaining ½ cup parmesan.
  16. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 663
Total Fat 41.4 g
Saturated Fat 16.5 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 137.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.2 g
Dietary Fiber 9.3 g
Total Sugars 17.2 g
Sodium 2,075.0 mg
Protein 41.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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