Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Casseroles have become a staple in our household! Super versatile, budget-friendly, easy to assemble, and you can eat off of it for DAYS! Now that my husband and I are working more evenings/nights, cooking ahead has been paramount to our budgeting. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. You gotta be a forward thinker sometimes when it comes to meal prepping and planning. Why do I love this recipe? Because it incorporates the best elements of classic spaghetti marinara without the heavy carb burden. Since it’s sans pasta and veggie-laden, this dish will leave you feeling energized and satiated rather than sluggish and bloated.

Am I Gluten-Free?

I get this question A LOT, especially if I post a gluten-free recipe. Honestly, I try to limit the amount of gluten in my diet when I can because I have endometriosis. For those who don’t know, endometriosis is an inflammatory disorder that causes severe abdominal pain, because my endometrial tissue is growing outside of the uterus. The cause is unknown, but foods that trigger inflammatory responses can worsen my pain, so I limit my intake of gluten and dairy when I can. All this to say, I’m not gluten-free or celiac, I’m just conscious of my body and its triggers. You may have a similar story. Understanding your body takes time and a lot of trial and error, but don’t ever be ashamed of the choices you make when it comes to your diet. I know I don’t, so neither should you. All too often people get shamed for choosing to eat or not eat certain foods, and it’s pretty frustrating to judge a person before actually learning their story. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Back to regular programming…

Oh My Gourd

Spaghetti squash in general is a great alternative to pasta for gluten-free folks. Although there are plenty of gluten-free pastas out on the market today, many of them are carb-heavy compared to traditional pastas. So if you are trying to be mindful of your carb intake or following more of a keto meal plan, this recipe is for you too!

Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 medium spaghetti squash, baked and shredded
1 can of your favorite marinara sauce (no sugar added is my only requirement)
1 lb 93% lean ground beef
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
S&P to taste

1. First, start by cooking the spaghetti squash. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, meanwhile cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, take out the seeds and squash gunk. Then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the two halves down on a nonstick baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes. Take out of the oven and turn halves face up. Let cool before scraping the strands. Once you’ve scraped all the spaghetti squash, transfer it to a glass bowl and set aside.
2. Now preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin browning the ground beef in a frying pan over medium heat with a little olive oil and S&P. Using a spatula, break up the meat as best as possible.
3. While that it browning, using a sauce pan, begin cooking your diced onions and bell peppers with 1 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of garlic salt over medium heat until slightly browned. Then add baby bella mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes.
4. Once the ground beef is cooked through (no longer pink), transfer the veggies to the frying pan with the beef. Add spinach and cook until just slightly wilted.
5. Spray a 9×11 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and transfer cooked spaghetti squash, beef, and veggies into dish. Now add your can of marinara sauce and stir until thoroughly combined. Now add the cheeses and keep stirring, saving some of the cheese for the top of the casserole. Finish by topping the casserole with remaining cheese and cherry tomatoes
6. Cook in 350 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

One of my favorite things about spaghetti squash is that it’s so versatile. If you don’t like marinara, try alfredo or pesto sauce with this dish. Or if you don’t like red meat, substitute the beef for ground turkey or chicken. This dish has so many possibilities, hope you like it just as much as our family does!

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