Mexicali Spaghetti Squash

Mexicali Spaghetti Squash

I devised this dish while on Weight Watchers years ago.   Spaghetti squash is a bit “carb pricey”, so plan your day’s meals to be sure this will fit in without pushing you over on your net carbs.

This recipe will serve 2 adults.  This is pretty baked in the squash shell as a “bowl”, but if that tears up after cooking the squash in the first step, just butter a glass baking dish instead and bake the filling like a regular casserole.  This recipe is  OK for Atkins Induction, Keto diets and Primal.  Omit the cheese if doing Paleo.

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1 c. spaghetti squash threads (half of a 1 lb squash will yield)

3 oz. chopped onion

3 oz. chopped bell pepper (any color)

1 lg. plum tomato, chopped

1 clove minced garlic

2 T. chopped cilantro (optional)

½ tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. ground cumin

4 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

8 oz. ground beef

dash pepper


Cook the squash:

Using large kitchen knife cut squash in half lengthwise.  Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for some other use.  Place the other half, cut side down, in a microwave proof baking dish.  Add ½ c. water to the pan.  Microwave on HI for 12-14 minutes or conventional 350º oven for about 30 minutes.  Outer skin will begin to give when touched when the squash is done.  Take out of microwave and pour off water.  Turn squash over and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard.  With the tines of a fork, strip out the squash “threads” into a bowl.    Try not to tear the squash shell, as you are going to use this shell as a baking “dish”.  If it tears up, discard and use a greased glass dish instead.

Make the filling:

Brown ground beef in non-stick pan over medium heat. It will probably produce enough grease on its own to continue, add a little if not.   Add onion and bell pepper and saute until they begin to get soft.  Add garlic, tomato and all seasonings. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender.  Pour over squash threads in the bowl, add ¾ of the cheese and stir to mix all ingredients well.  Spoon mixture into the squash shell.  Top with the bit of reserved cheese.   Place back into pan you originally used to bake the squash.

Bake about 3-4 minutes in a microwave on HI; or bake 15-20 minutes in 350º conventional oven.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 2, each serving contains:

573 calories

38 g  fat

15.35 g  carbs, 2.85 g fiber, 12.5 NET CARBS

43 g  protein

approx. 900 mg. sodium

32 comments on “Mexicali Spaghetti Squash

  1. I make this all the time and also make it Italian, by replacing ground beef with mild Italian sausage and a little homemade Italian sauce and Mozzarella cheese. A tip I always do, is pierce the shell with a fork several times before adding the strands of squash back into shell. This allows for any excess moisture to run out of bottom when placing it back in oven to melt cheese on top. Keeps your Dinner plate dry!


  2. This recipe looks delicious! Any suggestions on the best way to heat leftovers? I’m thinking of making one half for dinner and the other for lunch the following day. Do you think I can pre-prepare without compromising the taste and texture?


    • I’ve never personally reheated it. If refrigerated overnight, I don’t see why it wouldn’t reheat just fine in its shell. What I don’t ever do is FREEZE spaghetti squash threads, as it bleeds out moisture like pumpkin does upon thawing and reheating. It is, after all, in the pumpkin family, so I’m not at all surprised they both do that.😉


  3. Has anyone been having issues finding larger spaghetti squashes recently? Publix has only been selling the smaller ones.


  4. I am going to try this! Also I don’t trash the seeds, I clean them, put a little olive oil in pan then seeds and sea salt and roast them like pumpkin seeds. Yummy! Also I don’t let my squash cool either and no trouble shredding. Thanks Peggy!


        • SURE they are. And most low-carb diets allow them after the initial Induction/Orientation phase. Remember, there is a wide variety of diets under the low-carb umbrella. I’m currently doing an ULTRA low-carb diet 6 days a week (<15 net carbs a day) and then eat higher carbs 1 day a week to keep my smart body from adapting to what I'm doing. So I truly can't afford the seeds on the 6 days a week. 🙂 But I do recognize their nutritional values and eat a few, along with nuts on that 1 day a week I can consume more carbs.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Well I don’t want to recalculate the entire recipe again. But just the cheese (257 mg), squash (317 mg) and meat (901mg)alone for the entire recipe has 1474 mg total, (divided by 2 servings is 737 mg. Most foods have some sodium in them naturally, so it adds up in a recipe real fast, even if you add no additional salt. Meats always surprise me, with seafoods being the worst offenders for sodium. There are 901 mg sodium in the 8 oz. ground beef in this recipe (450 per serving). So when you take into consideration peppers are plants and even the pepper in this has trace amounts, as do the onions, as do most veggies. I calculate with and am always amazed at how it adds up.


      • Thanks for the reply. That sodium just sneaks into everything doesn’t it! Regardless, I can’t wait to make this, I’m sure it will be a huge hit with my husband. Thanks for sharing.


        • It really does sneak into everything. It’s why I rarely add salt (more than a dash) to recipes. I’m VERY sodium sensitive. Hope you like this dish!


      • The sodium content does seem a little high. I’m cooking for my husband who is on a low sodium diet. Is there any way to lower the sodium?


        • Susan, you’d just have to cut back on the amount of the squash threads you use, cut back on the cheese and meat in each serving and perhaps dip up a smaller portion. As I noted in my reply to SheriM just above, just the squash itself has a lot of sodium in it naturally.


        • The meat and the squash have very little sodium naturally. One cup of squash has 17 mg sodium; four ounces of ground beef only have 75 mg of sodium. The cheese is what’s making this recipe so high in sodium, with 704 mg of sodium per four ounces. I suggest low sodium Mozzarella cheese with only 16 mg of sodium per four ounces. I have no idea how that substitution would change the texture of this recipe, but it will certainly bring down the sodium content to a more reasonable level.


    • To my knowledge, it only goes to mush when overcooked, or at least that has been my experience. Perhaps you bought a small one that needed less time? I tend to by 2# squashes that are about 8-9″ long, or what I call medium sized squashes. I have only had one do that and it only did so in spots. I figured it was possible old to begin with? Don’t know really, but the one time it happened, it didn’t affect the taste at all and I ate that one. Sadly, we don’t know how long they have been picked, how long they were in transit to the store, or how long the store has had them on the shelf or in their warehouse/storage room. So a lot of variables.


    • She forgot to tell you to let the squash completely cool. If you don’t, it won’t string. Also, If you use an oven you don’t have to put water in with it. Squash has enough moisture in itself to sustain in the oven.


      • I have never cooled the squash before forking out the threads, Mysti. I do hold the very hot halves with a kitchen towel to prevent burning. It forks out in threads just fine right out of the oven.


    • You must not have seen it, but the instructions clearly state to cook and use half the squash (and use the threads for this recipe). States to wrap the other half of the squash up with plastic wrap for some other use. Did you read the instructions?🙂


    • If by “insides of the squash” you mean the seeds, yes, discard those. The threads from half the squash are used in this recipe. Use the threads from the other half of the squash for some future recipe.


  5. This recipe looks great. I had spaghetti squash for the first time this weekend and it was so good I went out and bought one. I have boneless chicken breasts thawed out so I think I’ll use the chicken instead of the ground beef for now.


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