This tasty "spaghetti" dinner made with ground turkey uses spaghetti squash instead of pasta noodles for an extra serving of vegetables. Serve with a big green salad and a slice of French bread to soak up the extra sauce.
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Why you should make Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Sauce
I love getting extra veggies in my meals, and this dish is a great way to do it!
You can use either ground turkey breast or lean ground beef to make the meat sauce for this spaghetti. Usually, I use ground beef because I like ground beef a little better, but some people prefer turkey or don't eat beef.
It's up to you to pick whatever choice of meat you prefer.
On another note, this recipe for "spaghetti" uses spaghetti squash instead of actual pasta. No, spaghetti squash doesn't taste like pasta, but it does a nice job of soaking up the sauce & kinda looks like spaghetti (if you use your imagination a little).
I like using spaghetti squash because it adds even more vegetables to your dinner.
You certainly can use whole grain spaghetti noodles if you'd like. You can also use a combination of both to have spaghetti squash & noodles. Like I said before, it's up to you to pick your preference.
I didn't make this recipe because it's "low-carb"... I just think it tastes good and sometimes I don't want a huge plate of pasta with meat sauce at dinner.
This meal comes together in under an hour, with not too much hands-on cooking time. I like to make the meat sauce while the spaghetti squash is baking.
How to Make this Turkey Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Squash
Both the meat sauce and the spaghetti squash take about the same time to cook. I like to start with the squash, so it has time to cool a little bit before I scrape it out of its shell.
However, the longer you cook the meat sauce, the longer it has to develop the flavors. So basically, either option works well.
Tips for Making
Make Ahead Tips
This excellent to make ahead of time. You can meal prep this to serve for later by cooking the spaghetti squash and saving in a container in the fridge. Same with the meat sauce.
The meat sauce also freezes well, so you can double the recipe and save some for leftovers at a later date.
Variations & Substitutions
You can easily use ground beef in place of the turkey in this recipe.
If you buy ground turkey breast, you might want to add a few teaspoons of oil to keep the turkey breast from sticking to the pot and/or getting too dry.
Alternative prep & cooking methods:
The meat sauce would be great served over regular pasta, and it is also tasty when served in bell pepper halves & topped with cheese. That's my favorite way to use leftover spaghetti sauce.
On another note, you can also prepare your spaghetti squash however you like best. I love using the Instant Pot to prepare it!
What to serve with this dish
I typically serve my spaghetti with a big green salad and a slice of French bread to help soak up the extra sauce. Yum!
Spaghetti meat sauce is always a go-to comfort food for me. I've never been a huge fan of pasta, so I love getting the extra veggies in by serving it with spaghetti squash. However, I always add a carb on the side like garlic bread.
I also appreciate that you can make this ahead of time and that leftovers keep well in the fridge and the freezer, so you can make extra and have some for later.
MORE SQUASH RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE:
Turkey Meat Sauce with Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash about 2.5 pounds
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey or lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes no salt added
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes no salt added (or use whole tomatoes and crush them by hand)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt-free Italian seasoning
- ⅜ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf optional
- Parmesan cheese optional, shredded
Make the spaghetti squash
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise (vertically). Scoop out seeds.
- Grease a baking dish with 1 teaspoon oil, and place squash halves cut side down.
- Bake 35-45 minutes or until a knife easily goes through squash skin.
- Once cool, scrape insides out into strands. Set aside.
Make the meat sauce
- Add the ground turkey, onion and green bell pepper to a Dutch oven or medium-large pot. Cook over medium heat until done, about 10 minutes. Drain if needed.
- Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their juices, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, tomatoes (with their juices), oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, sugar, and bay leaf if using.
- Bring to a boil, partially covered. Reduce to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Taste and add extra seasoning if needed. Remove bay leaf.
- Serve over spaghetti squash, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
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This was originally published August 2, 2012. Recipe, text, and photos have been updated.