Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

I have been making various versions of a spaghetti squash bake for many years now. I often make it when we have guests, and everyone seems to like it, and many have asked me to share the recipe.

The other day I decided to add some ground beef to the casserole, and the boys liked this version even better. However, you could make this casserole without the beef and just add more mushrooms, and it would be delicious.

I like that this is a simple recipe with few ingredients. Also, you can assemble the casserole earlier in the day and put it in the fridge and bake it about an hour before you are ready to serve it. That’s one of the reasons I like to make this dish when we have guests. It allows me to clean up the kitchen after assembling it and then prepare other dishes. It makes entertaining stress-free.

You start by cooking the spaghetti squash. When I have a small spaghetti squash and not a lot of time, I usually cook it in the microwave for about 12 minutes. The key is to make numerous deep and long cuts with a sharp knife all over the squash, or it will explode. If I have more time, I usually cut it in half, remove the seeds, and put it cut side down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch water and bake it at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. 

While the squash is cooking, I sauté the onions, mushrooms and ground beef.

Then it’s just about assembling everything into a casserole dish.

Just a few simple ingredients…

After the spaghetti squash is cooked and the onions, mushrooms and the beef are sautéed, it’s time to assemble the casserole. I used a 10.5 x7 and a 7 x 5 casserole dish.

Start with a layer of tomato sauce.

Next comes a layer of spaghetti squash. 

Season the spaghetti squash with salt and pepper. 

Put a thin layer of cheese on top of the spaghetti squash.

Next comes a layer of sautéed beef, mushrooms, and onions.

The beef is covered with more tomato sauce (so that the spaghetti squash is surrounded by tomato sauce on both sides) and then comes more spaghetti squash. Make sure you season the spaghetti squash with salt and pepper. 

The spaghetti squash is covered with more tomato sauce and then topped with cheese. 

Here are both casseroles ready to go into a 350 degree oven. If you want to bake the dish later in the day, just put it in the fridge at this point.

And here are the casseroles 40 minutes later.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Beef and Mushrooms

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground beef – you could omit the beef and just add more mushrooms
  • 1 onion, diced
  • About 15 mushrooms, sliced
  • About 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used the 3-cheese blend from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 jar tomato or marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara sauce)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Cook the spaghetti squash. I use two methods, depending on how much time I have. When I have little time, I usually cook the squash in the microwave for about 12 minutes (for a small squash). The key is to make numerous deep and long cuts with a sharp knife all over the squash, or it will explode. If I have more time, I usually cut it in half, remove the seeds and strings, and put it cut side down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch water and bake it at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. After the squash is cooked, take a fork and run it through the squash to make “spaghetti.”
  2. In the meantime, sauté the onions, mushrooms, and beef until the meat is cooked through.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Unless you plan to bake the casserole later on.)
  4. Assemble the casserole, starting with a layer of marinara sauce.
  5. Next, add a spaghetti squash layer and season it with salt and pepper.
  6. Add another layer of marinara sauce.
  7. Next, sprinkle some cheese on the marinara sauce.
  8. Add a layer of ground beef. Since this will be your only meat layer, you can make it a bit thicker.
  9. Add a layer of marinara sauce.
  10. Put another layer of spaghetti squash and season the squash with salt and pepper.
  11. Add a last layer of marinara sauce.
  12. Finish by sprinkling some cheese on top.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted. If you refrigerated the assembled casserole, add a few minutes to the baking time.
The dish was kid approved. Smile

Questions: What are some of your favorite dishes to entertain with? The more I entertain, the more I realize the importance of easy, foolproof dishes that can be assembled ahead of time. After all, everyone should be able to enjoy the evening. Do you like spaghetti squash? If so, what’s your favorite spaghetti squash recipe? Feel free to post a link in the comments.

Be well,


  1. Nice! It looks comforting and delicious without all the guilt!

    1. Thanks, Pam!

      Yes, it is comfort food you can feel good about! :)

  2. Yep, I made the mistake of not making deep enough cuts in a spaghetti squash once, and it actually blew the door of my microwave open! Spaghetti squash guts everywhere!

    It depends on who I am entertaining - if my Mom comes over for dinner, I usually make things she wouldn't make just for herself living alone - like ribs or big pot roasts.

    1. Wow! I can't believe the squash blew open the door of your microwave! I had one explode once - what a mess!

  3. Anonymous11/01/2013

    this recipe looks so yummy~ I'd love to have a portion of it!
    My go-to recipe for parties are empanadas... it's easy to make ahead of time and guests ALWAYS love them.
    spaguetti squash are great with laughing cow cheese! So easy and yummy~~

    1. Yes, spaghetti squash is great with laughing cow cheese. My "old" recipe for spaghetti squash bake has it. And it's so easy to simply season the squash and mix it with some laughing cow cheese. A great "no cook" meal. :)

  4. Pinned it! Can't wait to make it!

    1. Thanks, Lara. Let me know how you like it.

  5. I love the thumbs up photo! I love to make a huge pot of chili, soup or the fixins for tacos for company. Set up everything buffet style and let people help themselves. Casual and less stress than a formal sit down dinner which I have done plenty of times and I end up so tired I can't enjoy the company!

    1. Thanks, Tami!

      Chili, soup or tacos are great idea for dinner parties.

  6. Anonymous11/02/2013

    The spaghetti squash look very good. Guten Appetit!!!!

  7. Haha! Love the thumbs up :) I'm a fan of spaghetti squash, but I've never made it in a casserole before. I'll have to try your recipe for sure! We like to make baked dishes that are easy cleanup (like this one), or maybe an assemble-at-the-table taco type meal so our guests can make their meals how they like; although, Peter loves to do more complicated stuff which leaves more room for error! Also, making pizzas when there's only enough room on the grill for one at a time = disaster ;)

    Have a great weekend, Andrea!

    1. Assemble-at-the-table dishes are a lot of fun when you have guests!

      And, yes, having to make pizzas one at a time is challenging... :)

  8. I don't entertain.. :) Not a cook or baker so you will have to send some to me! :)

    1. Too bad you don't live closer! :)

  9. I made a similar recipe when I first started my blog years ago. MY photos are awful and I need to remake it and take better photos! I may just use this recipe. I do, after all, love spaghetti squash more than any squash there is!

    1. Yes, spaghetti squash is the best! :)

  10. This looks delicious. Spaghetti squash is not a dish I ever saw or have eaten in Holland.

    1. Yes, I haven't seen spaghetti squash in Europe.

  11. Great recipe Andrea and a good reminder for me to buy some spaghetti squash next time I'm at the store! My mixed up quinoa salad is one of my favorite dishes to entertain with because its easy to make ahead of time, and everyone seems to love it :-). Hope you're having a wonderful week!!,