Recipe: Easy Low-Carb Meatball-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you’ve been a little apprehensive about spaghetti squash, this is the recipe that will make you a convert once and for all. And if you’re already singing its praises, this veggie-filled take on spaghetti and meatballs is going to make you fall even more deeply in love. This, friends, is wholesome comfort food at its finest.

You’ll stuff each half of the roasted squash with your favorite meatballs, marinara, and plenty of gooey, melted cheese — and then you can eat right out of the squash. Yes, it creates its own bowl!

A Low-Carb Twist on Spaghetti and Meatballs

This recipe transforms everyone’s favorite comfort food into a lower-carb dinner (without taking away the comfort!) by swapping pasta for a healthy vegetable base. If you’re counting carbs, you’ll also want to take a look at the nutrition label on the jar of marinara when choosing a sauce. Different brands have varying amounts of added sugar, adding to the carb count.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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Easy Low-Carb Meatball-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash



  • 2

    medium spaghetti squash (about 5 pounds total)

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 cloves

    garlic, smashed

  • 1 cup

    marinara sauce

  • 1/4 cup

    finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

  • 1/4 cup

    torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 12 ounces

    precooked meatballs [about 12 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs], thawed if frozen

  • 3/4 cup

    whole-milk low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese



  1. Arrange a rack in the middle the oven and heat to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.

  2. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides of each squash with the oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place cut-side down in a single layer on the baking sheet, placing one garlic clove under each piece of squash. Roast until the squash are soft when poked with a fork and the skin is browned and blistered, about 40 minutes.

  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Flip the squash over with tongs and remove and discard the garlic. Use a fork to shred the inside of each squash half, leaving about 1/2 inch of unshredded squash left in the shell. Transfer the shredded squash to a large bowl. Add the sauce, Parmesan, basil, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

  4. Evenly divide the shredded filling between the squash halves. Divide the meatballs over the filling, then top with the mozzarella cheese.

  5. Bake until the meatballs are heated through and the cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with more fresh basil before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The squash can be cooked and shredded a day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Add an extra 10 minutes to the baking time.

Storage: Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)