Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs


Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs is a delicious, low-carb recipe to enjoy whether you’re watching your carb intake or not!

If there was ever a time to try spaghetti squash – a popular fall and winter squash that resembles spaghetti noodles when cooked – it’s here and now with Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs!

Here’s the skinny (literally) on spaghetti squash: good ol’ SS is mild in flavor, easy to cook, and is a popular replacement for pasta not only because of it’s aforementioned appearance, but also because it contains just 42 calories and 10 grams of carbs per cup, vs pasta’s whopping 210 calories and 42 grams of carbs per cup. That’s insane!

There’s just one problem with swapping spaghetti squash for spaghetti – it’s NOT spaghetti! It doesn’t feel like spaghetti, it doesn’t taste like spaghetti, and I think many people are disappointed after trying spaghetti squash for the first time, thinking it was going to be the answer to their low-carb prayers. I wish!

All is not lost, however, because even though spaghetti squash doesn’t have the same taste and texture as regular spaghetti noodles, it’s still delicious topped with hearty meatballs, rich marinara sauce, and a modest amount of melted mozzarella cheese on top, just like regular spaghetti & meatballs. Plus it can be served in its own shell. Whee!

Start with 2 medium-sized spaghetti squash, which will serve four people. Look for spaghetti squash that are free from soft spots and are heavy for their size. A few scuff marks on the outside are fine, but we’re looking for relatively smooth skin here (hey, aren’t we all?)

Using a sharp paring knife, pierce the squash 5 or 6 times around the center, then microwave on a plate for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Spaghetti squash is a harder-skinned squash, so the time in the microwave will help you cut the squash in half lengthwise with a super sharp knife.

Remove the seeds with a spoon then place the squash halves cut side up on a foil-lined and non stick-sprayed baking sheet, brush the flesh with olive oil, season liberally with salt & pepper, then roast at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash goes in easily.

Now comes the fun part. :) Let the squash rest for 10 minutes, until it’s cool enough to handle, then use a fork to start scrapin’! Every which way, in all directions, to loosen up the spaghetti-like strands of squash. Since the skin is pretty thick and hard, you can really get after it without being afraid that the shell will collapse.

Once the strands have been freed and fluffed, top ’em with 4 meatballs. You can use pre-made or homemade meatballs – just make sure they’re cooked and hot. I made a batch of my Sneaky Meatballs using 90/10 beef instead of turkey while the squash was roasting.

Top the meatballs with 1/4 cup marinara sauce (locals: use Gino’s,) followed by 1/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese.

Pop the stuffed squash halves under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown & bubbly, then you are fine to dine!

Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Serves 4


Low-Carb Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs is a delicious, low-carb recipe to enjoy whether you're watching your carb intake or not!


  • 2 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1lb prepared meatballs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the center of the spaghetti squash several times on all sides with a small, sharp knife then microwave for 3 minutes, flipping once. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a very sharp knife, then remove seeds with a spoon. Lay halves cut side up on a foil-lined, non-stick sprayed baking sheet then brush with oil and season liberally with salt & pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash meets no resistance. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. While squash is roasting, prepare and bake meatballs.
  3. When squash is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh every which way with a fork to loosen and fluff strands. Top with 4 meatballs, 1/4 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese each, then broil until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.


This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Where spaghetti is soft and chewy, spaghetti squash is crisp-tender and mild in flavor. That said, it still tastes incredible under yummy meatballs (healthy meatballs, I might add!) bright marinara sauce, and melty mozzarella cheese.

I also really like using spaghetti squash in this way because many recipes will have you drowning the strands in butter or oil, which, hello, tastes amazing, but kind of defeats the purpose of enjoying a low-cal food like spaghetti squash. If you’ve been hesitant to give spaghetti squash a try, I highly recommend this recipe as your inaugural attempt!

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  1. Amy M 10.18.2012

    Good thing I just bought a spaghetti squash! Excited to try this and I really like the idea of using the squash itself as a bowl. Have fun on kcci tomorrow!

  2. Lindsey 10.18.2012

    Yum! I too oftn forget about SS! Looks delicious!

  3. I have never tried spaghetti squash, but I’ve already seen it on sale at the grocery store this year.. I have to try it soon! Gonna make it for the ultimate judge: my Italian carb-loving mom!

  4. I LOVE spaghetti squash as “pasta”…with marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, etc. ;) The only bad part about it, really, is the prep part. Cutting it in half and scraping out the seeds is not the most fun thing in the world. But once you are past that, it is smooth sailing!

  5. i never thought about putting it backkk into the squash! that is such a cute idea! Love it!

  6. Thank you so much for posting this, I’ve never made spaghetti squash myself but I have eaten it and need to make it soon!!

  7. mere... 10.18.2012

    I have been craving a meatball sub ALL day long. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t eat grains at all (Paleo diet). I literally spent the last 40 minutes searching the internets for a recipe involving meatballs and no grains. I couldn’t come up with a good substitute that met my food lust and his dietary restrictions. I had just decided it was hopeless and went to my Google Reader instead to hunt down a non-meatball recipe to make instead. But first thing on my Reader? This. Recipe.
    You seriously just made my whole night; Thanks for the recipe!

  8. I adore spaghetti squash!

  9. Lauren 10.18.2012

    I make spaghetti squash all of the time but I love your idea of eating it right from the squash. Once again, a brilliant food discovery. :)

  10. Jv 10.18.2012

    We love spaghetti squash in our house! You can use it for stir fries and is great for leftovers too.

  11. Never had spaghetti squash before. Looks delish!!!

  12. Yum! I have a spaghetti squash on the counter for this exact purpose. So good!

  13. Kristine 10.18.2012

    I have literally had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter from the farmers market for well over a week – terrified to cook it.

    As soon as I saw your EASY recipe it was decided. I topped ours with pesto, chicken and fresh mozzarella and it was DELICIOUS. I honestly couldn’t tell we weren’t eating actual pasta.

    Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  14. Kathi 10.18.2012

    I cook mine whole in the oven for an hour at 350, (poke a few holes in it first) then turn off the oven and let it sit for another hour. It slices like buttah!! This recipe looks great, would never have thought to serve it this way!

  15. Sarah B 10.19.2012

    What kind of camera are you using? Your photos look amazing!

  16. Trisha 10.19.2012

    I love spaghetti squash because it gives me the satisfaction of regular spaghetti without the bloated carbed out feeling afterward. Never did I think of it as an opportunity for one less dirty plate. You’re a genius! But I think all of your readers already knew that. ;)

  17. Tami S 10.19.2012

    I use spag squash as a quick weeknight meal. I usually just split in half put cut sides down in a bowl (ok to overlap) with a little water and microwave for 12 minutes. Then toss with Arrabiata sauce.

    I haven’t tried microwaving it prior to cutting it so that would take a little of the time off the time I steam it.

  18. Chelsey 10.19.2012

    My roommates LOVE when I make spaghetti squash, except I make it a little differently:

    I put the entire squash into a pot of boiling water and cook it as I would spaghetti. When it is soft enough for me to slide a knife through its skin towards the center. I take it out, throw out the seeds, and hollow the “spaghetti” out. Voila!
    I usually make it with a bolognese: saute onions and garlic, add mince meat, add a can of crushed tomatoes, generously sprinkle basil, oregano, salt and pepper,and that is it.

    Tastes just as good as a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese

  19. Darcy 10.19.2012

    I love spaghetti squash, it’s a great alternative to spaghetti and so good for you! I’ve also cooked it all the way in the microwave, great option if you’re short on time or impatient :)
    Totally off subject but I finally picked up a jar of cookie butter from TJs and OMG, that stuff is amazing! A little to rich/sweet to each too much straight out of the jar (which is probably a good thing) but I’m thinking about all the things I can dip in it or add it to!

  20. I have never tried spaghetti squash before, but I am totally bookmarking this to try next time I’m craving a good marinara sauce. For what IS pasta but a delicious vehicle for delicious sauce?

  21. Courtney F. 10.19.2012

    I did the squash boat last night and put pulled por and bbq sauce on top! It was super good! Your boat looks fab too!!

  22. I just adore spaghetti squash. I love how you serve it in the shell/skin here. Beautiful.

  23. I love replacing spaghetti with spaghetti squash! I’ve done it with homemade bolognese, and I’ve been wanting to try meatballs as well…

  24. ErikaMC 10.19.2012

    I just made this last week and love it. I will miss squash season so I plan on stocking up on them as much as I can.

    I don’t read your blog until mornings so I always miss when you appear on the news! Can you tell us sooner than the night before??

  25. Nancy 10.19.2012

    Just made this for dinner, so yummy!

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  31. Kristin 11.30.2012

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe … I had been wanting to try spaghetti squash for a long time but was afraid, ha. Fear no more!

  32. vanessa 02.12.2013

    ate this tonight – thank you for the idea! delicious!

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  34. Jennifer 02.17.2013

    I just made these along with your sneaky meatballs and OMG soooo! Good! I don’t know that I will ever eat regular pasta again. I think I would like the spaghetti squash with just some butter, salt, & pepper, just as much if not more than I like this dish and this dish is pretty darn good! Thanks for the recipe :)

  35. Kerry 03.01.2013

    These were the best meatballs I’ve ever made!! I added 3/4 cup Parmesan Romano and I sautéed the garlic and onion before adding the spices. Amazing!!!

  36. Julie 03.04.2013

    Made this tonight with turkey meatballs & regular spag sauce with turkey instead of just marinara. It was sooo good. My son had spaghetti noodles instead of the squash. He tasted mine and said it tasted just like his. Delicious!!!! Thanks for the recipe. Loved it!!

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  39. Clare 08.17.2013

    I just made this for dinner last night! Everyone loved it and had no clue it was so healthy!

  40. Gwyn 09.18.2013

    Oh my!!! I will have to make this, I have 4 spaghetti squash in my garden!!!

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    Yum, this was delicious, and actually quite easy!

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