Southwest Spaghetti Squash Casserole

posted by Andrea | 06/11/2019

Several years ago, we experimented with growing spaghetti squash in our garden.

We figured we’d get 5 or 6 squash and could give it a try over the summer months… little did we know we would get more than 30 squash from our ONE plant! 

At the time, I didn’t really know how to prepare spaghetti squash, our family had never eaten it before, and we ended up giving about 20 of our spaghetti squash away as we just didn’t know what to do with it (besides make our favorite spaghetti casserole with squash instead of pasta). 

Fast-forward 5 or 6 years, and I can’t even begin to count how many spaghetti squash I’ve roasted — we eat it ALL the time! 

Last summer, we grew more than 40 squash in our garden, and while we did give a few away, we ate the vast majority of them from August through December (I kept them in a cold part of our basement).

Since then, I’ve bought 2 or 3 spaghetti squash every grocery trip (depending on the size of the squash) and I’ve tried so many different recipes — many of which our whole family has gobbled up without any complaints from the kiddos. 

Truly, I can’t even remember the last time I served actual pasta noodles (besides the occasional box of Mac ‘n Cheese). I don’t think pasta is bad; we’ve just come to love the taste of spaghetti squash (it was acquired — especially for the kids) and it’s one more way we get a few extra veggies into our bodies

Today’s recipe for Southwest Spaghetti Squash Casserole is one of our favorites. 

Since I almost always have a container of roasted, shredded spaghetti squash in the fridge, and several containers of cooked black beans and meats in the freezer, it only takes me a few minutes to have this casserole ready for the oven.

It’s perfect for busy afternoons and evenings because you don’t really need to prepare any side dishes — just some chips, salsa, guacamole, and maybe a salad if you’d like. 

I usually make this recipe in 2 smaller pans as it’s a GREAT meal to bring to anyone who is gluten-free or dairy-free (omit the cheese). And it freezes well! 

If I still haven’t convinced you to try spaghetti squash, or if you have and just don’t love it (for whatever reason) feel free to sub pre-cooked pasta, rice, or quinoa in place of the squash in this recipe! 

Yield: 8

Southwest Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Southwest Spaghetti Squash Casserole

This casserole is one of our family's favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash. It's so easy to make ahead, it freezes well, the leftovers taste great, and it requires very few side dishes to "round out" the meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 large bell pepper; diced
  • 1 medium red onion; diced
  • 3 c. spaghetti squash; roasted and shredded
  • 3 green onions; diced
  • 1.5 c. black beans (or a 14.5 oz can)
  • 1.5 c. frozen or fresh corn (or a 14.5 oz can)
  • 2 c. cooked chicken, turkey, or ground beef (or just add more beans and veggies)
  • 1.5 c. salsa (however spicey you want to make it!)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. shredded cheese (we like using a mix of cheddar and pepper jack)
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro; roughly chopped
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH: avocado, onions, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet, add diced peppers and onions and sauté until soft (5-7 minutes)
  2. While the veggies are cooking, preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish (or 2 smaller dishes) and set aside.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients (except cheese and garnishes) in a large bowl -- adding more salsa if necessary.
  4. Add cooked veggies to squash mixture and dump into prepared pan(s).
  5. Top with shredded cheese, cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through.
  6. Remove foil and bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is very melty (but not brown).
  7. Serve with optional garnishes, chips and salsa, and a salad.

Notes

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 515 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 92mg Sodium: 822mg Carbohydrates: 44g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 11g Protein: 33g
Nutritional information is approximate and does not account for additional ingredients or added toppings.

Doesn’t it look amazing!! 

In my own experience, this recipe is NOT watery (which is the biggest complaint I hear from people cooking spaghetti squash.)

I don’t know if watery squash means it has been roasted/cooked too long prior to making the casserole — but I honestly haven’t had issues with that, so I don’t know how to remedy it.

If you feel your squash is very watery, sprinkle a little salt over it (after you roast it) and let it sit in a colander for an hour. Then press extra water out before putting it in the fridge or making this casserole.

I’m excited to grow more squash in our garden again this year — I’m certain this yummy Southwest Spaghetti Squash Casserole will be on regular rotation in our menu plan!

What do you think… will your family eat Spaghetti Squash? 

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

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11 comments

  1. Jenny

    06/11/2019

    This sounds great! I’m guessing this is NOT something that one would make ahead and freeze. That would probably have a different texture and be watery. Maybe that’s what happened. But could probably make in the morning, refrigerate, and just heat maybe 20 minutes, covered, then uncover and add the cheese and heat for 20 min. more. What do you think?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I ALWAYS make this in the morning and store in the fridge until ready to heat. and no, I probably wouldn’t freeze it!

    [Reply]

    Carol Reply:

    Andrea, why do you think it would not freeze well?

    Has anyone (reading this) frozen it….and how did it come out?

    I hesitate to question you, Andrea…….you’re always spot on!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    In general, squash does not freeze well. Have you ever frozen shredded zucchini? It’s complete watery mush when you defrost it — which is fine if you’re going to make bread or other baked goods with it — but super nasty if you just wanted to eat zucchini.
    I haven’t even taken the time to try freezing spaghetti squash as it has a very similar consistency to zucchini and I don’t want to “waste” it with failed freezer attempts. I might give it a try this fall when we have a bazillion squash in our garden, but based on past experiences freezing squash for baking, I’m fairly confident the text of this dish would be horrible if frozen.

    [Reply]

    Carol Reply:

    Thank you for your reply. We ate about 1/3 of the dish the night I made it, we’ll have it again tonight and then I might go ahead and freeze the last portion as a “test”. If I do, I’ll let you know the outcome.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, good idea to freeze as a test — I do this all the time!

    [Reply]

  2. Brandette W.

    06/11/2019

    Last week we finally tried your Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole. It was absolutely amazing!! We have had spaghetti squash before, but I have never been able to successfully use it as a pasta sub. This time it worked, it worked very well. My husband raved about it, he actually told his friend about it he loved it so much. I think the key to it is to use a pasta sauce you love, that way it tastes just like you like it.

    I am going to try this SW one next. Question about your directions though. It explains to mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl, but then doesn’t explain what to do with those. You add the cooked veggies from the skillet to the squash and dump it into the baking dish. But, when do the ingredients in the mixing bowl come into play? Just wanted to bring it to your attention so the recipe can be modified if needed.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay!!!! we just had the pizza casserole with spaghetti squash tonight (just finished eating actually). The kids all had 2nd helpings and the whole pan is completely gone! I’m THRILLED you liked it so much too!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Brandette! I forgot to address your questions about the instructions… I guess I’m a bit confused and I wonder if you’re not seeing my full recipe for some reason??
    Here’s what it states in the post:
    3. Mix the rest of the ingredients (except cheese and garnishes) in a large bowl — adding more salsa if necessary.
    4. Add cooked veggies to squash mixture and dump into prepared pan(s).

    So, per the instructions you sauté the veggies and add them to the bowl containing all the other ingredients, then dump everything into the prepared pans and top with cheese.
    Hope this clears up any confusion.

    [Reply]

  3. Annette Silveira

    06/11/2019

    This looks so good. These flavors are our favorites. I’m definitely giving it a try.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    we love the Mexican flavors too! Hope you like it!

    [Reply]