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Low-Carb Chicken Enchiladas in Stuffed Squash Shell

Low-Carb Chicken Enchiladas in Stuffed Squash Shell
Home » Low Carb Lifestyle » Low carb dinner ideas » Low carb enchilada with spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is a great choice for a low-carb ingredient that can replace pasta, rice, etc. For example, it can be used as a bed for sauces, for a ragu or in any dish where a traditional pasta might be found, even lasagna. In this recipe, I’ve used spaghetti squash to make what is called a “stuffed” recipe. The spaghetti squash shell is the bowl in this dish and it is stuffed it with shredded chicken, enchilada sauce and, of course, the spaghetti squash. 

Low carb chicken enchilada with spaghetti squash
Chicken enchilada with spaghetti squash stuffed into the squash shell

Jump to: RECIPE | How to Make Spaghetti Squash | Spaghetti Squash as Low-Carb Pasta

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Make the Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is pretty simple to cook and can be ready in 10 minutes if you make it in the microwave (45 minutes when roasted in the oven).

It is often preferable to roast winter squash in an oven to get the full richness of a nutty winter squash.  It’s not really necessary with spaghetti squash, however, as the flavor is so much lighter than most Winter squash.

I usually cook them like this:

  • Cut them in half lengthwise
  • Take a large spoon and scrape out the seeds
  • Turn them flesh-side-down onto a plate and microwave for 10 minutes
  • Let cool enough to handle them (or use a mitt) and then take a fork and scrape out the strands from the shell.  They come out looking like…….well, like spaghetti!
  • The texture is very similar to spaghetti noodles
Cooked spaghetti squash with fork pulling out the strands.
Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash makes an excellent side dish. I’ve used it as a side dish with this pork ragu but it’s great with any dinner entree (like this low-carb lasagna in a spaghetti squash shell.

Spaghetti squash with dried heirloom tomatoes and parmesan
Spaghetti squash with dried heirloom tomatoes and parmesan

Alternatively, if you are looking for a no-meat dish, try this Italian puttanesca.

Bowl of Italian puttanesca sauce on a bed of spaghetti squash.
Puttanesca sauce on a bed of spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash as Low-Carb Pasta

Pasta in and of itself doesn’t have much flavor and is used more often as a way to provide texture and substance. Sauces need something to cling to and spaghetti squash provides a good form for that, similar to noodles.

Many people on low-carb diets use zucchini noodles for a low-carb pasta base and that works fine also. 

Spaghetti squash is nutritious and I think it has more “mouthfeel” than the vegetable noodles that you can now get in the grocery store.

In our household spaghetti squash is the Fall pasta and zucchini noodles are the Spring and Summer pasta.

Ingredients and Substitutions for the chicken enchilada

The spice blend: The chicken in this recipe is easy, but it is fairly bland and needs a spice mix of some sort to liven it up.  I have used either a powdered harissa spice mix or an Enchilada spice blend.

3 spice blends on a wood board; enchilada, harissa and mole spice blends.

Both turned out excellent and were an easy way to get high flavor. There is a wide range of readily available spice mixes that would be good.  Choose your favorite and go with it.  

The protein: The type of protein could also be easily switched up.  Ground pork sauteed until no longer pink would be a good substitution for chicken.  

Hamburger or ground beef would work fine also.  Any protein of your choice would work as long as it is shredded or fine enough to mix well with the somewhat delicate strands of squash.

The cheese: Changing up the variety of cheese is another option, as is adding some sauteed onions or other vegetables.  It’s really a great dish to experiment with as it’s tough to destroy it! 

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Low-Carb Chicken Enchilada with Spaghetti Squash

Low carb chicken enchilada with spaghetti squash
Shredded chicken, enchilada sauce, cheese and spaghetti squash combine for a perfect low carb solution to chicken enchiladas. Use the squash shell instead of a bowl and you have “stuffed spaghetti squash”.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 284

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large spaghetti squash halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 ½ cups red enchilada sauce divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon spice mix I used harissa, use your favorite spice mix – many would work
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  • Add the chicken to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the chicken about 15 minutes, or until no longer pink on inside.
    Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool a bit so you can handle it.
    2 skinless chicken breasts
  • While the chicken is cooking, microwave the squash by placing the halved, seeded squash on a plate flesh-side down and microwaving for 10 minutes (or until flesh is tender).
    1 large spaghetti squash
  • When the chicken is cool enough to work with, shred the chicken breasts with two forks or your hands and place in a large bowl.
  • When the squash is cool enough to work with use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl with the chicken. Set the intact shells aside.
    Add 1 cup enchilada sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp spice mix to the chicken/squash mixture. Mix everything together thoroughly.
    1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon spice mix
  • Place the shells on a broiler-safe pan and divide the mixture between the shells. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and the shredded cheese.
    1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese, 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. If a deeper browned cheese crust is desired, move pan to the upper rack and turn the broiler to high for a couple of minutes (watch carefully).
  • To serve, cut each shell in half (they are filling, 1/4 shell is often enough for 1 serving). I considered this recipe to be 2-4 servings depending on the person.

Notes

The type of protein can be easily switched up.  Ground pork sauteed until no longer pink would be a good substitution for chicken.  
Hamburger or ground beef would work fine also.  Any protein of your choice would work as long as it is shredded or fine enough to mix well with the somewhat delicate strands of squash.
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Nutrition

Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 22gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1347mgPotassium: 508mgFiber: 6gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1145IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 289mgIron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




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