I LOVE spaghetti! It is my all time FAVORITE meal… I have been to Italy three times, and I ate spaghetti almost every day!
I can’t believe that I am saying this… But I like spaghetti squash better now. In fact, I NEVER eat regular pasta any more.
That is HUGE… Pasta used to be my Go-TO meal.
And this Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash is now my favorite!
Tender spaghetti squash in a rich tomato garlic sauce with fresh basil.
The secret to LOVING spaghetti squash is FLAVOR!!!
Roasting gives the spaghetti squash the best texture. It needs salt and pepper while its cooking, and healthy fat to coat each strand.
Olive oil is EXTREMELY healthy, but a lot of the health-promoting micronutrients are destroyed with heat! Olive oil is a wonderful, healthful oil, but it is not heat-stable…
So I incorporate olive oil into the recipe at the END–after most of the cooking and only expose it to mild heat to preserve the health-promoting micronutrients! Plus, the olive oil incorporates better after the tomato juice has been reduced off!
This Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash is so delicious, your family will not miss the wheat pasta!
Tender spaghetti squash in a rich tomato garlic sauce with fresh basil
1–2 Spaghetti Squash
1 T Butter/ghee
1 Sweet Onion
3–4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
4 c cherry tomatoes, halved (~18oz)
⅔ c Olive oil
½ c fresh basil, chopped (~3oz pkg)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°, rinse outside of spaghetti squash, pat dry
Place spaghetti squash on a rimmed sheet and bake 25-30 minutes
Remove spaghetti squash from the oven. Using a towel to handle hot spaghetti squash, slice off the stem and cut in half length-wise. Scoop out seeds, discard (if it is hard to cut, put back in oven another 5-10 min
Place both sides face up onto parchment, season with salt and pepper and return to oven, bake an additional 20-30 minutes, until squash is tender (easily pierced with a fork) and separating from rind and slightly browned on top. Remove from oven
Using a towel, “spaghetti” the squash: using a fork, gently rake the inside of the squash, producing long strands
Remove all spaghetti and place on a plate, allowing steam to escape (so it doesn’t get too soggy)
While spaghetti squash is in the oven, heat a sauté pan over medium heat, sweat onion over in butter/ghee. When onion is softened, add garlic (add salt and pepper to taste)
Add tomatoes and simmer uncovered until tomatoes are wilted/mushy and juice is reduced ~10-20 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste and stir occasionally
When spaghetti squash is ready, reduce heat on tomato mixture to low, add olive oil and mix well (it will not look like it will combine at first, but keep mixing)
Immediately before serving, add fresh basil (you can portion for freezing here) and mix well and then add spaghetti squash, coat in sauce, and any additional salt if needed. Using tongs, transfer to plates to serve!
Dairy free: you can use a 1 T olive oil instead of butter/ghee, but don’t add the full amount until the end–it will maximize the flavor and be easier to mix once a lot of the tomato juice has evaporated off.
You can prep spaghetti squash ahead of time–up to a week. I like to do this when I making/eating/cleaning up or even watching TV. It is not active cooking time to stick it in the oven.
Why this Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash is HEALTHY!
Veggies like spaghetti squash, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil are packed with micronutrients–these are more than just vitamins and minerals but powerful plant compounds that improve health!
Spaghetti squash, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil have powerful anti-oxidants that neutralize free radicals and reactive oxygen species which damage cells and DNA.
Veggies like spaghetti squash and tomatoes have fiber that is so important for our digestive systems! Fiber is something we can’t digest, but it helps to clean out our gut and also provides food for our microbiome!
Supports a Healthy Microbiome
Our microbiome is all the good bacteria in our gut–it does amazing things like providing protection, helping to digest food, supporting our immune system and making neurotransmitters (and MUCH more!). The good bacteria LOVES veggies like spaghetti squash and tomatoes!
Healthy Fat: Olive Oil
Olive oil has been touted for years as a healthy oil, but the health benefits come from the micronutrients in it and not just the compostion of the oil. Olive oil has hydroxytyrosol, olecanthal, and oleuropein among others phytonutrients that are shown to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, vascular-protective, anti-cancer, joint-protective and so much more! But all these phytonutrients are not heat stable so adding a good amount of olive oil after cooking really boosts its protective ability!
This tomato basil spaghetti squash contains no gluten and is low carb!
Gluten is a sticky protein that can cause Leaky Gut and promotes inflammation! Too much inflammation is like lighting your body on fire!!!
How to get kids to eat Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash!
Let them help
Let the kids “spaghetti” the squash! If kids help make the meal they are more likely to try it! Also, let them add the garnish, like sprinkling the cheese!
Cut the squash strands
The long spaghetti squash strands may be too long for kids to handle or chew. Cut them up into spoon-ful bites!
Try a lick
Sometimes a bite is a big commitment for a kid… Get them to try a lick first–just lick some of the tomato basil spaghetti squash–if they like the taste, they will be more likely to try a bite! (the garlic may be a bit strong, if you think they will be sensitive, you can use less garlic)
Pharmacist, Chef, and Mother of Twins!
Hi! I’m Julie! When I’m not chasing my twins around, I am creating simple, healthy meals that busy moms and kids will love!
I’m here to help! If you are feeling overwhelmed about changing your diet, tired of scouring the internet for recipes that you think your family will eat, and stressed out from all the meal prep– I can help you!
You don’t have to do it alone! What if you had a Chef and Mother holding your hand as you took baby steps making healthy changes???