Spaghetti Squash Taco Casserole

SS taco casserole

So before you lovely readers see the word squash and run away let me say that not all squash were created equal!  I mean so you like tacos? Do you like casserole?  Do you like noodles? Then this is the meal for you!

The squash is naturally slightly sweet which works really well with the spicy meat.  Also, spaghetti squash does NOT have the mushy squishy texture that make some squash hard to eat.  It literally is the same consistency as noodles!

OK now I have a confession to make.  My husband recently started a new diet… and I am totally supportive… and love hime to bits… but he decided to go grain and potato free.

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Grain and potato FREE.

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To be clear that means no bread, no rice, no noodles, no chips, no tortillas, almost no starch or carbs at all! None of the things in these pictures are allowed when I cook.

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Interesting….

So I have been playing with veggies!!  Cauliflower, squash, jicama, and other starchy veggies that can be turned into mashes, noodles, crusts and breading.  So far it has been a lot of fun!

So for this meal we played with spaghetti squash.  I love tacos. Well lets be honest I love most Mexican inspired cooking.  The spices and flavors of that culture are so much fun to play with and easy to find in anyone’s local grocery store. And all this is basically a giant taco! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

The trick\ is to make all the separate things that you love on your taco.  If they differ from what I love, no problem!  Change and twist this however you choose.

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I used corn salsa, taco seasoned beef, fajita veggies, re-fried beans, cheese, sour cream, and of course spaghetti squash.  Each of these is cooked separately same as you would if you were making a taco bar and at the very end you assemble everything the way you would assemble a lasagna.

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I did meat, veggies, beans, corn, squash, cheese, repeat!

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Also I assembled the entire casserole inside of the shell as an added pizzazz and because lets face it, that is one less dish to wash!

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So with no further ado lets get cooking!

Spaghetti Squash Taco Casserole

1 large spaghetti squash

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp salt

1 lb ground beef

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup water

1 can re-fried beans (you can use black beans if you prefer)

1 can whole curnal sweet corn

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 Tbsp dried cilantro)

1 fresh lemon

1 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 yellow onion

1 bell pepper (pick your favorite color!)

1 clove fresh garlic

Sour cream and fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse off the outside of the squash.  Chop off the top of the squash and then in half the long way.  Scoop out the seeds and innards.  Rub the inside of each half the cleaned squash with a Tbs of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place them flesh side down on a baking sheet with sides and bake for 50 minutes.  To test if it is done try to scrape the insides with a fork.  If the squash easily falls apart andl ooks like noodles then it is perfect.
  2. While the squash is cooking start the beef.  Brown the ground beef in a skillet.  When the beef has no more pink, drain the excess fat out of the pan.  Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and water.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until most of the water has simmered off.
  3. Open up the beans and heat on low just till hot.
  4. Place the corn in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over top and add the tsp salt and chili powder.  Toss and set aside.
  5. Chop the pepper and onion into long thin strips and fine dice the garlic.  Heat vegetable oil in a skillet till it is hot.  Add the veggies and quickly saute for about 2 or 3 minutes.  Just cook till the peppers seem brighter in color and the onions are starting to look slightly more translucent.  Set aside
  6. Once the squash is finished cooking let it cool for a few minutes.  scrape the squash out until there is only about a 1/4 inch left in the shell.
  7. Now it is time to layer.  I did meat, veggies, beans, corn, squash, cheese, repeat till both shells were full.  If you are using other ingredients like salsa, guacamole, or even a different kind of meat, feel free to mix up the order, as long as you end with cheese on the top.
  8. Turn the oven on to broil.  Place the two casseroles back on the baking sheet and place in the oven just until the cheese melts
  9. Top with sour cream and cilantro, serve hot!  Makes 6-8 serving
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