This spaghetti squash recipe is ready in 30 minutes if you have an air fryer or electric pressure cooker. It's topped with a vegetarian pasta sauce using Beyond Beef crumbles that is easily made vegan, if you prefer. Either way, it's a perfect vegetarian, spaghetti squash keto dinner!
The pasta sauce made with Beyond Beef crumbles can be made ahead of time, and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 - 4 days, or 3 months in the freezer.
Updated July 26, 2022.
This healthy spaghetti squash recipe is perfect for those nights when life is crazy, and you need something healthy, satisfying and fast.
Spaghetti Squash and Carbs
When we think of fall and winter squash, we naturally - and rightly - associate them with a lot of carbs. For example, 1 cup of butternut squash cubes (100 grams) delivers 21.5 grams of total carbs and 15 net carbs. It's not as bad as a baked potato, which comes in at 37 carbs, but spaghetti squash stacks up well against butternut.
1 cup of spaghetti squash, on the other hand, contains a total of 10 total carbs, and 7.8 net carbs.
Net carbs only includes carbs that the body can fully digest into glucose. So, for example, fiber is subtracted from the total carbs calculation to arrive at net carbs. Check out this article for more information on net carbs vs. total carbs.
Since we often swap in spaghetti squash for regular spaghetti noodles, let's see how they compare on carbs content.
Regular spaghetti noodles come in at a whopping ~42 total carbs (!) and almost 41 net carbs. And now that you know the difference between total and net carbs, it's easy to see how little fiber regular spaghetti noodles provide our diet.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
There are a number of ways to cook spaghetti squash. I wrote an article on the advantages (and drawbacks) of each method, as well as detailed instructions on slicing the squash and readying it for cooking. Detailed instructions for cooking in the air fryer and oven are provided too.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Air Fryer
My favorite method for cooking spaghetti squash is the air fryer.
Just slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Oil the inside surfaces, and set the air fryer temperature for 375˚F. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in an Electric Pressure Cooker
My second favorite way to cook spaghetti squash is in an electric pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot.
Place a rack, in the inner pot with a cup water, and position the squash in the cooker whole. You may need to slice off the top stem to do this. Lock it down, and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 15 minutes. Perform a QUICK RELEASE. Allow to cool a bit before slicing in half and scooping out the pulp and seeds.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and foods I use in my kitchen. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. To view my entire storefront of recommended kitchen tools and equipment, check out my shop on Amazon.
Ingredient Notes for the Pasta Sauce
The secret to fast, healthy meals often lies in the ingredients. Short-cut store-bought options, and ingredients you can make ahead and save in the refrigerator, can turn a dish that takes 60 (or more) minutes to make into a 30 minute meal or less.
I'm all for saving time, and this is something I purchase already done for me. I've tried a lot of them, and most of them are watery with a very muted flavor. The only one I use now is Gourmet Garden Stir-In Garlic Paste. But you can also make your own using this method.
Roasted Red Peppers
In the same vein as the garlic paste, if I'm in a hurry for a quick weeknight dinner, I use jarred roasted red peppers that are already peeled. It's not difficult at all to roast your own peppers, and the flavor will be fuller, but it will take longer than opening a jar if you're trying to save time.
Beyond Beef Crumbles - Beefy
Beyond Beef is also available refrigerated (not frozen) in 1 pound packages. But I sometimes turn to these frozen packages of Beyond Beef Crumbles for convenience. If you want to stay away from process foods altogether, substitute firm tofu in place of the beef substitute.
You can make your own tomato sauce, and keep it in jars in the refrigerator or freezer, or purchase a favorite one. If I don't have any of my own on hand, I prefer Rao's Marinara Sauce above others that I've tried.
This addition is completely optional, but adds a wonderful extra layer of flavor depth. I typically make a lot of homemade pesto in the late summer and freeze it, and then add cubes to sauces. But you can also purchase your favorite pre-made pesto at your market.
Want more vegetarian and vegan dish ideas? I can help you. I have three newsletters for different topics: 1) Weekly Recipes, 2) Vegetarian Meal Plans, and 3) Monthly Vegetarian Tips for helping you to move to a more vegetarian diet. Choose which newsletters are most relevant to your lifestyle and you'll also get my 5 SECRETS TO FUSS-FREE VEGETARIAN DINNERS.
Spaghetti Squash with 'Meaty' Sauce
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste or 4 - 5 large garlic cloves smashed and minced
- 2 roasted red peppers chopped into ½" pieces (see ingredient notes below)
- 1 10-ounce package of Beyond Beef Crumbles
- 2 cups your favorite store-bought tomato sauce or make your own
- ¼ cup pesto
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
- Preheat the air fryer to 375˚F. Slice the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp and seeds using a spoon. Rub the inside surfaces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Lightly salt the surfaces.
- Roast for 15 minutes. If strands don't come up when scraping a fork across the surface, roast for an additional 5 minutes. For more details, or roasting in the oven, see this article.
- While the squash roasts, add the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan, over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and chopped roasted red pepper, and sauté another 5 minutes.
- Add the frozen Beyond Beef crumbles and cook for 5 minutes until thawed. Stir in the pasta sauce and pesto. Cook until bubbling.
- Scrape up the spaghetti squash strands using a fork, and pile it onto 2 plates. Top with the sauce and a sprinkling of fresh oregano.