I love pasta, but also love it when my jeans fit. 😀 So it’s always a good idea to have some pasta substitutes around for when the craving hits. This one uses spiralized butternut squash baked with a simple spaghetti sauce. It’s delicious!
- Butternut squash noodles (frozen 12 oz package)
- Zucchini noodles (frozen 12 oz package)
- Ground beef (1 pound)
- Olive oil (for browning beef)
- Marinara sauce (24 oz )
- Garlic cloves (2)
- Shredded cheese, 2 cups (Italian cheese blend or mozzarella)
- Seasoning: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning
How to make this Butternut Squash Spaghetti Bake
Like most casseroles, the individual pieces are cooked and then assembled. The time in the oven is very short, just long enough to melt the cheese and make it delightfully gooey. 😀
Start with the ground beef. Cook it in a skillet over medium heat. Add seasonings and then continue cooking until well browned. Add in the minced garlic, then add the marinara sauce. Simmer this for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, preheat the oven and start cooking the veggies. I buy the frozen packages of spiralized vegetable noodles (so convenient!) so only need to microwave them, one at a time, for 6-7 minutes each. Once each is done, drain the excess water from the noodles before proceeding.
Mix the sauce with the spiralized butternut squash and zucchini, then add in half of the shredded cheese. Transfer this mixture into a casserole dish. I used a 2 ½ quart size, but a 9x13 would work as well. Spread the rest of the shredded cheese over the top.
Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and casserole is warmed through.
Variations and substitutions
Of course, there are plenty of ways to change this up to suit your preferences, here are a few ideas:
Marinara sauce: you can use any marinara or pasta sauce you prefer. If trying to minimize carbs, I have found Rao’s to have the lowest carb count of any on the shelves. Look for the “sensitive” version for the lowest. Don’t be afraid to be the nutty person reading every label in the pasta sauce aisle to compare – it’s incredible how much added sugar some brands have!
Veggie spirals: the recipe I originally found for this, at dearcrissy.com, used 2 packages of butternut squash spirals. I like the combo of the two different types, but all squash is another way to go as well!
In addition, many stores now carry fresh spiralized veggies. These will also work well, just be sure to cook them first according to the package instructions.
Of course, you can always spiralize your own. I own a spiralizer and it works great for zucchini. Butternut squash? Well, let’s just say it’s a bit more challenging. Unless you are growing your own and simply have to do something with all your squash, I personally recommend purchasing pre-spiralized noodles to save yourself the headache. Just sayin.
Ground beef: though I haven’t tried it yet, I think pork sausage is fabulous in marinara sauce and I’m sure would be terrific in this casserole.
What I have tried is impossible burger. You’ve heard of this, yes? Available at Burger King and many restaurants nationwide, Impossible burger is a meat substitute which tastes surprisingly close to the real thing. I was thrilled to find a package available at my local grocery store recently and knew I had to try it. I used it in this casserole, and it was a hit! It made a completely delicious vegetarian butternut squash spaghetti bake. Which is quite a mouthful, but it does describe what it was. LOL
This is an all-inclusive meal: protein and veggies are covered very well. No “starch” which of course is the intent. 😀 I like to serve with a simple green salad just for a contrasting texture and taste.
Butternut Squash Spaghetti Bake
- 12 oz butternut squash spirals frozen
- 12 oz zucchini spirals frozen
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for browning beef
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 24 oz marinara sauce
- 2 cups cheese shredded (Italian blend or Mozzarella)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add ground beef and seasonings. Cook until thoroughly browned.
- Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds. Then add marinara sauce and stir to incorporate.
- Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
- Cook the veggie spiral packages one at a time according to package directions. Drain excess liquid from each package.
- Mix sauce and veggie spirals together in the skillet or a large bowl. Add half the shredded cheese and mix.
- Transfer to a 2 ½ to 3-quart casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until casserole is warmed through and cheese is melted.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.