Formula Meals: Spaghetti Squash Boats
As you know, I’m all about simple recipes that are quick, delicious, and hard to mess up. That’s why most of my favorite recipes are formula meals – ones that don’t require an exact recipe, but rather a general formula that allows you to mix & match ingredients to make a meal!
I’ve created formulas for roasted vegetables, stir fries, power salads, and more – and next on my list is a family favorite: Spaghetti Squash Boats.
Spaghetti squash is the perfect base for a healthy meal because it’s easy to cook, loaded with nutrients, and has a neutral flavor that can take on a variety of seasonings. It easily takes on a spaghetti-like texture (hence the name), so it’s a great low-carb pasta alternative. It acts just as well as a rice alternative or as a delicious base to any savory toppings! It’s also conveniently bowl-shaped, so you can fill it up with whatever ingredients you want without making a big mess — this is my favorite way to eat it.
I usually plan for half of a spaghetti squash per person, which typically leaves room for leftovers (although I can easily eat an entire half myself). The flavor possibilities are endless, and the leftovers are just as delicious the next day!
Here’s my formula for fantastic spaghetti squash bowls:
Cook the Spaghetti Squash
To roast, pierce the spaghetti squash with a knife several times, then microwave for 5-6 minutes (it’s much easier to cut when it’s softened a bit). Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet face down. Roast at 400 for about 35 minutes.
To microwave, pierce the spaghetti squash with a knife several times, then microwave for 12 minutes, or until a knife is easily inserted. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, or until squash is cool enough to handle.
1 Part Veggies
While the spaghetti squash cooks, saute your favorite veggies. I like to saute onions, bell peppers and corn for a Tex-Mex spin, broccoli and shredded carrots for an Asian-inspired boat, or tomatoes, garlic, olives, and zucchini for an Italian twist. Other veggies to include: sliced avocado, spinach, frozen artichokes, peas, cauliflower,
1 Part Protein
Protein helps round this boat out and make it filling and satisfying. I love using black beans in my Tex-Mex version, but you could also use sauteed tempeh, shredded chicken, chicken sausage, canned salmon, shredded cheddar cheese or feta, ground turkey or grass-fed beef to your vegetables. Whatever meat you use, you want to make sure it’s cooked first — don’t add raw meat to your boat!
1 Part Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs really brighten up the dish and bring tons of flavor to the table. I add cilantro to my Tex-Mex and Asian inspired meals and parsley to my Italian spaghetti squash boats. Other fresh herbs include: basil, lemongrass, dill, chives, scallions, mint, etc. You can also use fresh herb pesto to spice up your bowls!
1 Part Seasoning
Here’s where you can really get creative: with seasonings! Spices like chili powder, and cumin add tons of flavor to a Tex-Mex boat, while ginger and soy sauce liven up an Asian boat, and garlic and oregano add Italian flavor. You can also use the following spices: curry powder,
To assemble your spaghetti squash boats, combine the cooked veggies and protein with herbs and seasonings, then spoon into the cavities of the cooked spaghetti squash boats. At this point you can add cheese if you want, and then roast everything together for another 5-10 minutes or until heated through.
Looking for some Spaghetti Squash Boat inspiration?
Butter Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boat
Spinach Artichoke Spaghetti Squash Boat
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