Spaghetti squash marinara tastes just like real spaghetti with marinara sauce. The texture is different of course, but the flavor is amazing!
Much of the flavor we associate with pasta or pizza really comes from the sauce and toppings, not necessarily from the grain. This is very apparent to me whenever I eat low-carb, vegetable-based substitutes for high-carb, grain-based recipes. Such as this spaghetti squash marinara, cauliflower pizza crust or buttered zucchini noodles.
How to make spaghetti squash marinara
Easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the details. But you simply cook the spaghetti squash (in the oven or in the microwave), then mix it with marinara sauce and with Parmesan. I use high-quality store-bought marinara sauce (Rao’s is a good brand), but you can use homemade, of course.
But does it taste like pasta?
Not exactly, but it’s close. This spaghetti squash marinara tastes almost like spaghetti with marinara sauce. And although the texture of the squash noodles is admittedly quite different than that of spaghetti, it’s not necessarily different in a bad way. It’s just different. So I think it’s a perfectly adequate substitute for “the real thing.”
A healthy alternative to grain-based pasts
I used to feel good about serving whole-wheat pasta to my teenagers. But these days I believe that spaghetti squash is a vastly better choice nutritionally than even whole-wheat pasta. Grains appear to have an inflammatory effect, at least in some people. So I choose to make spaghetti squash marinara for my family. No one complains!
What to serve with spaghetti squash marinara?
What about leftovers?
I do recommend mixing the marinara sauce into the spaghetti squash noodles at the very last minute, or the noodles can become soggy. For this reason, leftovers of this recipe are not as good as the freshly made dish. Although I do like to put them in a small baking dish, sprinkle them with some Parmesan and bake in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.
Spaghetti Squash Marinara
- 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 lb.
- 1 cup marinara sauce, no added sugar (Rao's is a great brand)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Using a large, sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise: place it on a sturdy cutting board, slice off the stem end of the squash, then stand the squash upright on this flat end and carefully use your knife to slice it in half.
- Using a spoon, remove the seeds and pulp.
- Place the squash halves, cut side down, in a 9 X 13 baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/2 inch up the sides of the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes. Turn over (careful - the whole thing will be very hot), cover again and cook 15 more minutes, until very tender. Remove onto a cutting board and allow to slightly cool.
- Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands. Divide among four plates. Pour the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Don't pre-mix the sauce into the strands - this will result in soggy "noodles." Allow each diner to mix the sauce and cheese into their own spaghetti squash noodles.