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. Watch out for sugary tomato-based pasta sauces however. Try this recipe with diced tomatoes for less sugar.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. It 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 do have 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 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 if you want to go that route.
I grow both zucchini and spaghetti squash on the farm and personally think spaghetti squash has more flavor than zucchini. The flavor and texture differences are going to boil down to your own tastebuds. They both have much more nutrition than pasta, and the carbs, sugar and calories are pretty comparable. So…..the bottom line is either one is a great alternative for pasta in a low carb keto lasagna!
Is Low Carb Lasagna Quick & Easy?
Well, it’s 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 was too intimidating. My goal is to make it as easy, painless and quick as possible, while still being delicious.
This recipe, therefore, 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 often fresh tomatoes do not equate to more flavor. 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.
The spaghetti squash itself does take some time to bake so do it ahead. The rest of the filling is very quick and easy.
Low Carb or Keto Lasagna
- 1 large spaghetti squash (or two small) a large one will weigh 4-5 lbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 lb ground pork substitute hamburger, sausage, ground chicken or any ground protein
- 1 tsp minced garlic from jar-alternatively mince 2-3 fresh garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1-2 tsp chipotle spice powder
- 1 tsp 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
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 you mix up the 2 cheeses and the egg in a medium sized bowl.
- 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".
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