Baked Spaghetti Squash – this oven-baked spaghetti squash recipe is super easy to prepare and topping it with a spicy Italian sausage sauce makes it a meal worthy main dish that comes together in a flash! The tomato-based sauce gets its seasoning from the sweet and spicy salsiccia sausage, smoked paprika, red chili flakes, plus extra depth and complexity thanks to Worcestershire sauce.
This bold tasting Ragu di Salsiccia is the perfect thing to serve over a bed of spaghetti squash “noodles”. Spaghetti squash with it’s mild and slightly bland flavour benefits from a bold tasting sauce to help make it shine. So think of spaghetti squash as more of the supporting act rather than the main event! So take advantage of the time it spends in the oven to make a bold and tasty accompaniment!
Spaghetti squash replaces pasta for a low-carb meal
Spaghetti squash is known for its stringy flesh which resembles strands of spaghetti when you scoop it out — hence the name. It’s is a great source of complex carbohydrates and fibre making it a healthier alternative to pasta. Plus, it’s considered low-carb too! Comparably, spaghetti squash has only 18% of the calories of the same portion of cooked pasta, and almost four times less the amount of carbs. It’s low calorie thanks to it’s high water content of approximately 92-95%. All good reasons, to give it a try!
How to bake spaghetti squash
Baking spaghetti squash is so easy! Just follow these easy steps:
- Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. If desired, you can season the cut side of the squash with a little olive oil, salt and pepper before baking it.
- Place the cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400°F / 200°C until tender (between 30-50 minutes, depending on the size and water content). Baking it with the cut side down allows some of the excess moisture to escape and run off. You’ll know that the squash is done, when you are able to easily pierce the baked spaghetti squash with a fork or if it gives a little when squeezed with an oven mitt.
- Let the spaghetti squash cool for a few minutes, then take a fork and scrape the squash to remove flesh in long strands-like spaghetti. So easy!
Is the spaghetti squash skin edible?
Yes, the skin of spaghetti squash is edible, since technically all winter squash skin is edible (it’s a question of texture). However, unlike some squash that have a tender skin when baked, it becomes quite tough, making the experience less pleasurable. So in this case, I would say no. You would want to prepare the squash in another way, if you want to enjoy it in its entirety.
More spaghetti squash recipe topping ideas
Its mild flavour makes it a great base for any recipe, here are a few ideas on how to top baked spaghetti squash:
- Make this dish vegetarian and top the spaghetti squash “noodles” with a spicy tomato sauce or classic arrabbiata.
- Or try this creamy salsiccia tomato sauce recipe or my recipe for bolognese with lentils and Italian sausage. Both sauces are are full of flavour and a great choice for mild tasting spaghetti squash.
- Turn it into a lasagne dish by topping it was homemade bolognese sauce, grated parmesan and fresh mozzarella. Return baking dish to oven until cheese is melted, 5–7 minutes.
How to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan
Alternatively, you can also adapt this sauce recipe and make it vegetarian by excluding the Italian sausage and simply double the amount of seasoning (smoked paprika, chili flakes and Worcestershire sauce). To make it vegan, choose a vegan Worcestershire sauce. Parmesan can be replaced with a vegetarian or vegan alternative.
Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Salsiccia Ragu
For the baked spaghetti squash:
- 2 small spaghetti squash (1 kg each)
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 300 g mild or hot Italian sausage (salsiccia), casings removed and chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika,
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
- 1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 100 g cherry tomatoes (10 small cherry tomatoes)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C (180°C fan-assisted) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds and soft strings with a large spoon. Place the squash cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minute, or until lightly browned on the outside, fork tender, but still a little bit firm. Keep in mind that the exact cook time will vary based on the size and water content of the squash.
While the squash is in the oven, prepare the sauce. In a large deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened (5 minutes). Add the sausage, increase the heat slightly, and cook for 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the pan (smoked paprika, chili flakes, canned and fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper) and simmer for 15 minutes.
When the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven and, holding each of the squash halves with a oven mitt or pot holder, scrape the insides with a fork to remove and separate the squash strands.
Divide the spaghetti squash “noodles” among 4 plates and top with the sauce. Garnish with parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
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