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Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce and Tomato

I have reduced grains and other starches in my diet due to health reasons, so I was looking for filling, comforting meals without pasta or potatoes. When I was tinkering with this spaghetti squash recipe, I discovered something fun to eat! —Becky Ruff, Mc Gregor, Iowa
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 45 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. Place squash in a 13x9-in. baking pan, cut side down; add 1/2 in. of hot water. Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes. Drain water from pan; turn squash cut side up. Bake until squash is tender, 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and mushrooms over medium heat until beef is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Add half of the garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, pasta sauce and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes.
  • When squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate strands. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add remaining garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in squash, salt and remaining pepper; heat through. Serve with meat sauce and, if desired, cheese.

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce Tips

How do you soften spaghetti squash before cutting?

To soften spaghetti squash so it’s easier to cut, poke a few holes in the skin and microwave it for 4-5 minutes.

Why is my spaghetti squash so watery?

To avoid watery spaghetti squash, cook the squash cut side down, which locks in flavor and ensure even cooking. Turn and cook the squash cut side up for a few minutes to remove any excess moisture.

What happens if you overcook spaghetti squash?

If you overcook spaghetti squash, it will become a mushy mess. Once the squash is fork tender, it’s ready to eat. Get more recipes for spaghetti squash, such as turkey stroganoff and chicken stir-fry. Research contributed by Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant
Nutrition Facts
1-1/4 cups squash with 1 cup meat sauce: 443 calories, 17g fat (5g saturated fat), 71mg cholesterol, 770mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 11g fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 starch, 3 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.
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  • Cheri
    May 16, 2020

    This has become our go to spaghetti recipe, even our 8 year old loves it. I can't find plum tomatoes in our town, so I substituted with a pint of grape tomatoes. I also added Italian Seasoning to the sauce and the squash. You definitely have to prepare the squash as directed, but we can eat spaghetti again and we love it.

  • Poch
    Jan 19, 2018

    I liked this recipe very much. I didn’t have fresh mushrooms or plum tomatoes so my modifications were a can of undrained sliced mushrooms and one regular tomato. The sauce was nice and thick. Be sure to finish the squash like it says to add the garlic flavor.