Unlike many of the winter squash varieties, spaghetti squash does not pack in the carbs and sugar. It is a great foil for pasta when modifying dishes to low carb, as in this low carb lasagna. Watch out for sugary tomato-based pasta sauces however.Jump to Recipe
Spaghetti Squash vs. Zucchini Noodles for the “pasta”
Some low carb pasta recipes use zucchini noodles rather than spaghetti squash but I think spaghetti squash is not only tastier, but also easier.
Why it is Easier to Use Spaghetti Squash
The spaghetti squash does have to bake in the oven for about an hour but that is hands free. I’ve just never gotten into the spiralizing craze and maybe that’s why I think it’s easier.
Spaghetti squash doesn’t take any specialized equipment, just stick it on a baking sheet and turn the oven on 350 for an hour (you can also turn it upside down on a plate and microwave).
If you do this part of the recipe a day ahead you can just keep it covered in the refrigerator (whole or scraped out strands) until you are ready to make the lasagna.
You do have to scrape the seeds out of the squash before baking and you will also need to scrape the strands out of the squash when it has cooled.
The other nice thing about spaghetti squash is that you can buy it at the store or the farmers’ market and keep it on your counter until you are ready to use it.
Fresh zucchini doesn’t have nearly the shelf life as Winter squash and should really be kept in the fridge if you are going to wait to cook it.
The grocery stores do carry frozen zucchini noodles however, if you want to go that route.
Flavor and Nutrition Differences
I grow both zucchini and spaghetti squash on the farm and personally think spaghetti squash has more flavor than zucchini because it has less water. The flavor and texture differences are going to boil down to your own tastebuds however.
They both have much more nutrition than pasta, and the carbs, sugar and calories of zucchini and spaghetti squash are pretty comparable.
So…..the bottom line is either one is a great alternative for pasta in a low carb keto lasagna!
Tips for Making Low Carb Lasagna Quick & Easy?
First: Using spaghetti squash instead of pasta for the base makes this “lasagna” a heck of a lot easier than classic lasagna (and tastes just as good if not better).
While I was working as a diet coach, I saw what a huge challenge it was for people to cook whole food dishes.
People were either too busy with families and careers or they never really learned how to cook so it was just a little too intimidating.
My goal is to make it as easy, painless and quick as possible, while still being delicious. The spaghetti squash itself does take some time to bake so do it ahead. The rest of the filling is very quick and easy.
Second: Make use of pre-cut or pre-frozen vegetables. This recipe uses canned tomatoes, garlic from a jar, and a minimum of equipment.
If you want to chop up fresh garlic and make your sauce with fresh tomatoes, it “might” taste better, but fresh tomatoes don’t always equal better flavor (depends on the tomato and how it was grown).
Frozen and canned vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh in many circumstances. In the case of vegetables and fish that are flash frozen, the nutritional value is often preserved and much higher than buying off of a grocery store shelf, where it has been exposed to air and warmth for days (if not weeks).
Other Recipes Using Spaghetti Squash:
Low Carb or Keto Lasagna
- 1 large spaghetti squash (or two small) a large one will weigh 4-5 lbs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 lb ground pork substitute hamburger, sausage, ground chicken or any ground protein
- 1 Teaspoon minced garlic from jar-alternatively mince 2-3 fresh garlic cloves
- 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 Teaspoon chipotle spice powder
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 29 oz canned diced tomatoes (equivalent to 2 cans)
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan I used freshly grated parmesan but it isn't necessary
- 1 egg
- 2 Ounces mozerella cheese Fresh or shredded
Directions for the squash (can be done ahead)
- Preheat oven to 350 (or just use microwave).
- With a large, sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half. With a strong spoon, scoop out the seeds. Then, if using the oven, lay the squash flesh-side down on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour (flesh will be soft and easy to penetrate with a fork). If using the microwave place the squash flesh side down on a plate and microwave about 20 minutes (or until soft.).
- Let the squash cool so you can handle them and then take a fork and rake the flesh into a bowl. It will come out in strands….like spaghetti! Set the empty squash shells aside and save for later use as a baking "vessel" if you want.
- Cover the bowl of strands and put in the refrigerator to use when ready.
Directions for the Lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large skillet, saute the onion in oil over med high heat for around 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the ground pork to the pan and saute with the onions until no longer pink. When meat is no longer pink, add the garlic, spices and tomatoes.
- Turn the burner down to medium-low heat and let the meat sauce simmer about 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, add the ricotta, parmesan and egg in a bowl and stir together until thoroughly combined.
- Now you are ready to layer the lasagna. Put some meat sauce in the bottom of a glass baking pan or in the saved shells of the spaghetti squash. Then add a layer of the spaghetti squash on top of the meat sauce and then a layer of the cheese mixture. Add one more layer of the meat sauce and then top it off with little dollops of mozzarella cheese if using fresh or a layer of shredded mozzarella if using packaged.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so before serving so it can "set".
Although I am not currently taking clients for diet & health coaching, I have been a coach for many years with the online service called coach.me. It is a great platform for all kinds of coaching – anything from specific diets, writing a blog, getting up early, or getting rid of that pesky procrastination.
There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a referral to some of the tested, experienced online coaches on Coach.me
If you’d like to start with a plan for a low carb or keto lifestyle, check out this detailed guide in ebook form. It may be all you need to lose weight on this lifestyle. Or it may be used as a supplement to one-to-one coaching.