Meat Lovers Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole
This spaghetti squash casserole incorporates all the great pizza flavors without the carbs and uber fatty meats typically piled on a meat lovers pie.
I married a meat loving cheese hater. There…I said it. It’s a wonder we’re still married, but I guess it’s true that opposites attract. Pizza is such a personal thing, and Mr. Cluster and I couldn’t be more different. He loves all the meats, and I love all the veggies. He also hates most cheeses, with the exception of mozzarella and parmesan (the dusty kind in a can). I think cheese should be its own food group. This casserole is a nice marriage of both our tastes. Spaghetti squash replaces the pizza dough and provides a big serving of veggies, while the turkey meatballs and pepperoni provide the manly meats.
The ingredients above are what I use for this recipe. I’d been wanting to try a version of the WW 0 Point Crockpot Marinara sauce I’ve seen floating around. I used this recipe from Daily Dose of Pepper and it didn’t disappoint. The only adjustment I made was adding a teaspoon of liquid stevia to cut the acidity of the tomatoes just a little bit. And now I have a freezer stash of marinara! I was experimenting, but by all means you can use your favorite jarred sauce and be good to go.
And speaking of freezer stashes, I also used some of the Italian Style Meatballs I made earlier. I used half the balls from that recipe for this casserole, but again you could use frozen or pre-made ones as well to speed up the process.
I also cooked the spaghetti squash in my Instant Pot. Usually I microwave or roast it in the oven, but I wanted to test out the pressure cooker method. I placed the squash on top of the wire rack, added about 1 cup of water and cooked it on high pressure (sealed) for 15 minutes. I did not pierce the skin at all before cooking, and was 99% sure I would become the first person ever maimed and/or killed by an exploding squash. Not gonna lie, I’m still a little scared of the pressure cooker, but I like to live dangerously. To my pleasant surprise it did not blow up and the squash cooked perfectly.
Then everything is mixed together, topped with cheesy goodness and baked in the oven. This recipe, including cooking or assembling all the components up until the baking part, can be done in advance. The cooked leftovers also freeze well.
One problem with substituting spaghetti squash for traditional noodles is the expectation that it will taste like regular noodles. Sorry, but it won’t. Does that mean it isn’t awesome? Nope. I think once we stopped expecting lower carb substitutions to taste exactly like the real deal we began to appreciate them in a different way. No it isn’t pasta, but this pizza casserole tastes delicious. And I don’t tote around a bloated food baby for 24 hours after I eat it. I hope you like it as much as we do!
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