Finding a delicious, low carb pasta substitute is similar to hoping sugar-free ice cream tastes like gelato: wishful and often disappointing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t healthy ways to enjoy comfort food without sacrificing taste.
Cue spaghetti squash. We won’t pretend it tastes like traditional pasta (it’s a squash, after all), but it is equally as satisfying and can be substituted into almost any pasta recipe.
Bonus: You can eat the noodle-like contents straight from the squash itself!
So before denouncing carbs and saying sayonara to spaghetti, give these fiber-filled noodles a try. Though the main ingredient may feel foreign, the following recipes will make you feel right at home.
1. Baked eggs in spaghetti squash nests
Stir some chickpea flour and Parmesan into your squash, and you’ve got a gluten-free batter ready to be baked to a golden crisp and filled with eggy goodness.
Not only is it adorable, but doesn’t everything taste better when it’s made in a muffin tin? We think so.
2. Egg and avocado spaghetti squash boats
These days every brunch menu seems to feature avocado and eggs on toast. Stand out from the crowd by baking the healthy fats into spaghetti squash instead. This lower carb alternative tastes best with heaps of salsa.
3. Spaghetti squash frittata
Frittata is the perfect recipe for a week’s worth of single-serving breakfasts or to serve to friends for brunch.
The final product may look fancy, but this recipe is super easy to make, and kale, mushrooms, and onion pack in great flavor. The spaghetti squash adds both volume and fiber, making this a huge and healthy treat.
4. Spaghetti squash hash browns
It simply doesn’t get any better than a breakfast staple with a veggie twist. Here, spaghetti squash subs in for potatoes. A tablespoon of coconut oil also replaces heaps of butter, for those who are dairy-free.
The end product is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and you’d better believe it still pairs perfectly with eggs!
5. Spiced coconut squash breakfast porridge
If you wake up with a raging sweet tooth, swap out the instant oatmeal for this warm bowl of comfort instead.
With spaghetti squash standing in for the grains, it may take a few minutes longer to put together, but you’ll get the veggie’s antioxidants in return. Not a bad trade.
Top with fruit, and you’ll satisfy that sweet craving and sneak in an extra serving of produce.
6. Spaghetti squash pad Thai
Made of white rice, traditional pad Thai noodles aren’t the most high fiber option. Choose spaghetti squash instead for this non-conventional take on a Southeast Asian standard.
It’s lower in carbs, yet higher in minerals like potassium, and vitamins like folate. Plus, they’ll soak up the tangy, savory flavors of chili sauce and soy as well as any other noodle out there.
7. Spaghetti squash comfort bowl
We don’t blame you if you dive right into this bowl on a stressful day. You’ll love the lightly steamed veggies — no soggy gray broccoli here!
There’s also cumin-spiced beans and, of course, the strands of squash. But what will get you going is the creamy roasted garlic sauce, which we want to put on positively everything.
8. Spaghetti squash crust pizza
Spaghetti squash may be a well-known substitute for pasta, but this recipe shows you how those chewy shreds make a killer stand-in for pizza crust just as well.
Bound with almond and garbanzo flour, it bakes into a base to hold your favorite veggies, resulting in a gorgeous, gluten-free dish. Granted, it’s best to eat it with a fork rather than your hands, but we don’t care!
9. Spaghetti squash fried rice
With peanut oil, eggs, and lots of garlic and green onions, this recipe includes all the usual suspects of fried rice — minus the rice, obvs.
You may have tried the popular paleo substitute of cauliflower for the grain, but spaghetti squash works great too. Plus, it gives the dish a unique texture that you’ll never find at your local Chinese place.
10. Spaghetti squash Greek salad
Greek salad is a fantastic option when you’re looking for something light yet flavorful. But what about those times you want something light, flavorful, and filling?
While that may seem like a pipe dream, it isn’t. This salad bowl substitutes squash for romaine, creating a hearty dish that’s still light enough to keep you going for the rest of the day.
11. Spinach, kale, and spaghetti squash fritters
Latkes get a funky update with the use of spaghetti squash and the addition of sautéed spinach and kale for a double dose of greens. Another twist? These are baked in an oven, rather than pan-fried, for perfectly crisp bites.
12. Vegetarian spaghetti squash tacos
Tacos don’t always have to mean ground beef. These celebrate the taste of Mexican street food, vegetarian style.
The main players are spaghetti squash, black bean, tomato, and avocado filling. This recipe may call for some extra steps, but plenty of leftovers means you don’t have to cook for a few days after this!
13. Spaghetti squash chow mein
Who says spaghetti squash can only replace Italian pasta?
Try it out in this version of a Chinese takeout favorite, where, taking the place of refined noodles, it’s stir-fried with a rainbow of other veggies along with a fragrant concoction of soy, fish sauce, and rice vinegar.
It’s a wheat-free meal for any gluten-sensitive eaters, as well as a grease-free meal for just about anybody, thanks to a fraction of the oil used in regular chow mein.
14. Cajun chicken spaghetti squash bake
This recipe pairs the delicious veggie with chicken, peppers, cheese, and lots of other veggies for a steamy Cajun dish. This is a great meal for a group, but leftovers also taste great over a salad if you’re cooking for one!
15. Spaghetti squash lasagna bake
Swapping spaghetti squash for pasta is the perfect way to make a healthy version of everyone’s favorite childhood dish.
For all our plant based friends out there, this version packs in tofu for added protein and uses vegan cheese, but feel free to make it exactly how your grandmother taught you — minus the pasta!
16. Mushroom lentil spaghetti squash casserole
Getting in your nutrition as a vegan doesn’t have to be stressful — or flavorless, if you know what you’re doing.
This hearty, balanced meal combines protein-rich tofu, fiber-filled lentils, and vitamin-packed veggies to cover all your bases. It does take a good number of steps to make but, vegan or not, you’ll be happy with the results.
17. Creamy vegetable casserole
With spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts swathed in a cauliflower sauce, this casserole is a yummy way to get in that vital daily intake of fiber. A bit of goat cheese and fresh rosemary add a fancy touch to a dish that screams comfort food.
18. Whole30 Tuscan spaghetti squash casserole
Alfredo sauce without the dairy? Not only is it possible, it’s delicious, thanks to garlic, cashews, and coconut milk. This special sauce cooks with kale, pork, and our beloved squash for a recipe the whole family will love (even picky eaters).
Pro tip: You can’t really overdo it on the kale, so go nuts! Add as much as you want.
19. Roasted garlic spaghetti squash lasagna boats
These sausage-stuffed boats are the perfect meal for fall: warm, filling, and oh so cheesy. They also look super fancy but are easy to prepare, making it the ideal recipe for a dinner party (or date night).
Pro tip: To lighten it up, substitute roasted veggies for the spicy sausage.
20. Lazy days spaghetti squash bowl
When you don’t feel like cooking, there’s this. You’ll be putting in minimal effort for gourmet, wholesome results.
Let the spaghetti squash roast in the oven, nuke the broccoli in the microwave, use a store-bought pesto to help all the veggies come together, and eat the meal straight out of the squash skin. Done.
21. Spinach artichoke spaghetti squash
Whoever decided that combining spinach with cheese was a genius way to encourage people to eat more greens, kudos to you.
And though spinach artichoke dip may not have the healthiest reputation, it’s easy to modify. Simply cut back (ever so slightly) on cheese, up the amount of veggies, serve in a squash, and trade in those chips for a fork.
22. Southwestern stuffed spaghetti squash
Move over, burrito bowls. In this recipe, spaghetti squash takes over as the vehicle for beany, cheesy goodness. Bursting with jalapeños, garlic, and good ol’ gooey cheddar, it’s a melty, spicy fiesta of flavors.
23. Spinach, tomato, and goat cheese stuffed spaghetti squash
This garden-inspired meal tastes like a pizza but comes without the grease and heavy crust.
Filled with spinach, diced tomato, and goat cheese, and topped with herbs and seeds, it’s everything you love about summer flavors but perfect for a crisp autumn lunch or dinner.
24. Eggplant Parmesan spaghetti squash boats
This recipe batters and bakes eggplant rather than frying, cutting down on a ton of unnecessary oil. The veggie is then tossed into a tangle of spaghetti squash and topped with mozzarella for a lighter eggplant Parm that doesn’t compromise on taste.
25. Chicken enchilada stuffed spaghetti squash
It’s time to think outside the tortilla. Sure, enchiladas are great as is: chicken and veggies wrapped in a corn tortilla blanket and topped with sauce galore. But they can also be better.
This recipe uses squash as the base and is filled with chicken breast, cheese, black beans, and traditional enchilada sauce. For a lower carb version, use spinach in place of the corn and black beans.
26. Thai red curry spaghetti squash bowls
If you thought Thai curry could only be enjoyed with rice, here’s a refreshing alternative.
Spaghetti squash soaks up the fragrant spicy-sweetness of the coconut milk-infused curry paste for a meal that keeps all the healthy, “bad” cholesterol-lowering fats of the original dish with just a fraction of the starch.
27. Chorizo ragu-stuffed spaghetti squash
Stumped for ways to use up those scraps of veggies in your fridge? Season and sauté them, throw them all in a spaghetti squash shell, top with cheese and chorizo, and call it a dinner of champions.
The ingredient list suggests some specifics, but we’re guessing anything goes — no matter what you’ve got on hand, you’ll be scarfing down more than two helpings of vegetables with just half a serving of the recipe.
28. Spaghetti squash with pesto, peas, and shrimp
These little shellfish have so much to offer, including calcium, potassium, and protein. Enjoy them in these squash boats, where they join just three other ingredients for a simple weeknight meal.
29. Very-veggie spaghetti squash
This veggie-packed dish is a take on the Italian pasta “primavera,” which is Italian for spring, but this recipe takes a fall twist by swapping pasta for spaghetti squash.
Swathed in a garlicky sauce made with feta cheese, there’s no doubt you’ll be dreaming of this dish in any season.
30. Spaghetti squash with lemon Alfredo sauce
You may have heard of Alfredo made with cauliflower, but this recipe goes to entirely new levels of luscious by puréeing the florets with a cup of coconut cream.
Lighter than usual, it’s a cream sauce you can put into the regular dinner rotation, without skimping on taste.
31. Spaghetti squash with mushrooms and Parmesan
When craving a heavy, creamy dish like risotto, turn to this recipe instead. Though it’s low calorie, the combination of meaty mushrooms and Parmesan taste anything but. Home-cooked dinners just got an upgrade.
32. Spaghetti squash with vegan tomato cream sauce
Tomatoes meet cashews for a silky sauce that blankets a pile of roasted spaghetti squash. A sprinkle of basil lends a pop of fresh green color and flavor. It’s plant based eating at its best.
33. Spaghetti squash puttanesca
From the anchovies (don’t wrinkle that nose, they’re crammed with omega-3s) to the olives, the usual suspects of a classic puttanesca are all here.
This recipe turns it up a notch by not only swapping out pasta for spaghetti squash but also by giving the dish a spicy kick.
34. Spaghetti squash with chèvre and lemon thyme dressing
Don’t feel like weighing down your spaghetti squash with a creamy sauce? Consider this alternative, which holds up particularly well to the lighter, olive oil base.
The lemon thyme sauce is easy to make and you can use the leftovers for a salad dressing. Plus, who doesn’t love goat cheese (aka chèvre)?
35. Spaghetti squash with tomato, spinach, garlic and pine nuts
Gluten-free and vegetarian… this recipe meets many dietary needs, and can be adjusted to those it doesn’t. Plus, it’s super healthy and delicious.
Packed with garlic, grape tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan (use a dairy-free substitute to make vegan), and tossed with olive oil, this meal makes a great side dish or light lunch. For a protein boost, add tofu or chicken.
36. Sweet spaghetti squash kugel with apples and raisins
Why reserve kugel just for holiday dessert tables? Make this noodle delight anytime of year with a few switcharoos, like spaghetti squash for the egg noodles and coconut sugar for the regular white stuff.
Plus, the addition of apples and raisins for some fruity freshness counters the eggy bake.
37. Spaghetti squash kheer
Notoriously weighed down with tons of dairy and sugar, most traditional Indian sweets can be heavy on the stomach. This spiced, milky dessert gets switched up the paleo way.
With vermicelli noodles swapped out for spaghetti squash, coconut milk, and a touch of ghee, you’ll have the requisite richness without compromising the health quotient.
Now you can have your kheer and eat it too!
38. Spaghetti squash cake with orange cream
You’ll feel like you’re part of cooking challenge when you read this recipe that bakes spaghetti squash into a creamy pie, but we promise, it’s easy!
This recipe uses cardamom to spice up the flavor, but if you don’t have any (or you’ve never heard of it), try swapping in cinnamon instead.
39. Cinnamon spice spaghetti squash cake
We believe you should try to sneak veggies into every meal. But only if it still tastes good — and this recipe certainly fits that bill!
Cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and maple syrup are all you’ll taste, so it’s the perfect treat to serve to carb-lovers and nutrition enthusiasts alike.
If nature is cool enough to supply us with squash that literally looks like spaghetti on the inside, we have to do something cool with it. But spaghetti squash doesn’t always have to be a low carb substitute for pasta.
It’s a standout ingredient on its own, thanks to tacos, egg bites, casseroles, chow mein, and squash cake with orange cream. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? Not that we’re complaining — we’re totally in love.