December 19, 2021

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

A friend shared this recipe with me and I'm so glad she did. It's been a regular in our fall and winter meal rotation ever since. It's such a good one for so many reasons. It's basically taco night in another form (minus the carbs and with spaghetti squash added) so the whole family loves it. It's a one-dish meal so there's no need to dream up any side dishes. Spaghetti squash is just plain fun-- the kids love to help fork the tender strings of it out after it's been cooked. I like spaghetti squash fine with just butter and salt and Parmesan, or with marinara sauce, but it's not really exciting in those ways; this dish, though, showcases a lot of it in a really flavorful way. If you bake the spaghetti squash ahead of time, this meal comes together so quickly and only needs to bake long enough to melt the cheese. Everyone can top with their version of the perfect toppings and it's a party in your mouth.

1. It's great to bake the spaghetti squash ahead (even the day before) so it isn't hot when you have to scrape it out. Plus, if the squash is already cooked (and scraped!) this meal is a super quick on to put together. 
2. You could omit the beans (or omit the meat), and could change/add other vegetables as desired. This is a flexible recipe. 

Spaghetti Squash Casserole
adapted from 

1 spaghetti squash
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 package taco seasoning (or 3 - 4 T homemade)
1 C grape tomatoes, halved 
1 C corn kernels
1 onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
2 C shredded cheddar 

To Serve:
sour cream
wedges of lime
hot sauce if desired 

Heat oven to 400. Halve spaghetti squash and scrape out seeds. Place face down on greased baking sheet or casserole dish. Prick all over with a fork or paring knife. Bake about 40 minutes or until it is tender when you poke it. Let it cool (this part is great to do ahead). 

When cool, use a fork and scrape out the inside of each squash half. Squash will come out in strings that look a lot like spaghetti. Scrape it out until you get all the way to the hard outer shell. Discard shells and set aside squash. 

Brown meat in a large skillet over medium heat until fully cooked. Add onion, taco seasoning, and 2/3 cup water and cook another couple of minutes until most of liquid has cooked off. 

Add tomatoes, corn, and black beans and cook another couple of minutes. Stir spaghetti squash into this mixture. Season with salt.

Transfer mixture to 9 x 13 casserole dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and browned slightly.  

Serve by topping individual servings with desired toppings and a sprinkle more salt at the table.

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