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Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Bolognese Is a Lighter, Faster Spin on the Classic

published Oct 29, 2019
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
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Credit: Photographer: Ghazalle Badiozamani Food Stylist: Brett Regot Props Stylist: Jenna Tedesco

The winter months bring on a lot of hearty eating. But sometimes, busy weeks make it hard to cook those well-marinated, long-cooking comfort foods we crave. These types of weeknights are what your Instant Pot was made for. In under one hour, you can create a delicious, comforting, “cooked-all-day” turkey Bolognese sauce — and then serve it over spaghetti squash as a lower-carb alternative to pasta. The sauce and squash are all cooked in the Instant Pot together, making this the winter comfort food superhero of all meals.

What is Bolognese Sauce? 

Bolognese is a hearty sauce hailing from Bologna, Italy. It begins with a base of finely chopped carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. It’s usually made with some sort of a ground meat combination of beef, pork, and pancetta for a rich flavor. Simmered with tomatoes and finished with milk or cream, this sauce is a decadent pleasure served with pasta or as a part of a larger recipe like lasagna. Here, we’re substituting turkey for a lower-fat take on the classic sauce, but it still has the delicious flavors of a traditional Bolognese.

Credit: Photographer: Ghazalle Badiozamani Food Stylist: Brett Regot Props Stylist: Jenna Tedesco

All-Day Sauce in About 45 Minutes

Using both ground turkey and spaghetti squash in this recipe are two healthy swaps to lighten up the standard pasta Bolognese. If you’ve never eaten spaghetti squash before, it’s a delightful surprise — I almost never miss the pasta! Spaghetti squash has a mild but slightly sweet flavor and can be cooked al dente, just like regular pasta.

Cooking Bolognese on the stove usually takes a minimum of two or even four hours depending on how long you want to simmer your sauce, but the Instant Pot cuts the cooking time down to about 45 minutes. It allows you to simultaneously simmer your sauce and cook it for a long-simmered taste. Additionally, the Sauté function cooks the base veggies and turkey, so you don’t even have to use any extra pots or pans. Believe me when I say that the Instant Pot makes this time-consuming, weekend recipe easy for a weeknight. I also have to admit that this sauce is so delicious, I like to make a double batch and freeze half for a later date.

Credit: Photographer: Ghazalle Badiozamani Food Stylist: Brett Regot Props Stylist: Jenna Tedesco

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 26 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (3 to 4-pound)

    spaghetti squash

  • 1 medium

    yellow onion

  • 2 medium


  • 1 stalk


  • 4 cloves


  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 ounces

    ground beef

  • 8 ounces

    ground pork

  • 1/2 cup

    dry white wine

  • 1 (28-ounce)

    1 can crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Wash the spaghetti squash, poke a few holes in it with a paring knife, and set aside. Prepare the following, placing them all in the same bowl: Dice 1 medium yellow onion, peel and dice 2 carrots, dice 1 celery stalk, and mince 4 garlic cloves.

  2. Place 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Heat with the Sauté function until the butter is melted. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and cook for 1 minute more.

  3. Add 8 ounces ground beef and 8 ounces ground pork and cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Break the meat up with a wooden spoon and continue to cook until all the meat is browned, about 4 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup white wine and scrape up the browned bits with the wooden spoon. Stir in the can of crushed tomatoes. Place the spaghetti squash on top of the sauce.

  4. Lock the lid on and make sure the valve it set to seal. Set to cook on HIGH pressure for 13 minutes. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure and remove the lid.

  5. Transfer the squash to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1/2 cup whole milk into the sauce. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Fluff the flesh of the squash with a fork and scoop the flesh into a bowl.

  6. Divide the squash between plates and top with the sauce. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.