Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls are a modern makeover of twice-baked potatoes. Each roasted squash half gets stuffed with a mixture of shredded cheese, steamed broccoli florets, and basil pesto. Dinner done!

Easy. Family Pleasing. Vegetarian. Gluten Free.

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

Spaghetti squash is my go-to winter squash because it cooks up quickly, and it’s super versatile. My boys love the mild flavor and I love its endless dinnertime possibilities. You can top it with just about any combo of ingredients:

Beans, sauteed bell pepper, and gooey cheese for Taco-Topped Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Meat-free crumbles, mushrooms, baby spinach, pasta sauce, and cheese for Spaghetti Squash with Meat-Free Bolognese Sauce

Never roasted a spaghetti squash before? Check out my how-to guide.

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

We’ve always loved twice baked potatoes, but I’m impatient and prefer the 40 minutes it takes to roast spaghetti squash vs. the hour-plus for potatoes. And as far as I’m concerned, the squash is just as versatile as potatoes, and for some kids it might also be more fun. Think, spaghetti!

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

A few words about cheese:

I recently posted a spinach mac & cheese recipe, and I got pushback from a reader on the use of low-fat cheese.

For years, I’ve used low-fat cheese in most of the recipes here on Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. I am not a fan of fat-free cheese, because I don’t like the way it melts (or shall I say, the way it does not melt). But I’ve always had great luck with low fat in terms of the flavor and meltability.

Cheese provides calcium, protein, a complex mix of fats, and a flavor kids (and adults) adore. While I typically cook with low fat, lately, I’ve been turning more and more to full fat. Yes, the calories are higher, so when I use it, I use it in moderation. But I don’t worry about its impact on heart health like I used to. A growing body of intriguing new research shows that the calcium, some of the fats, and the good bacteria in cheese (cheese is a fermented food) may protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and raising our body’s good HDL cholesterol. I’m not talking about giant cheeseburgers here. Adding a small amount of luscious cheese to a diet rich in fruits, veggies (like spaghetti squash!), whole grains, nuts, and seeds is the goal. Think, healthy eating pattern.

Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls via #vegetarian

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls
I'm just a little bit obsessed with spaghetti squash. No, make that a lot obsessed. Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare and it's nutritious, providing fiber and potassium. Once it's roasted and shredded into strands, you can top it with just about anything. For this recipe, I chose cute little steamed broccoli florets, which boosted the vitamin C, gooey cheese for bone-building calcium, and super-flavorful basil pesto.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
  • Two 1½ to 1¾ pound spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup + 4 tablespoons shredded part-skim or whole mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup prepared basil pesto
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Carefully trim off the squash stems. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to remove the seeds. (To soften the squash first, poke a few holes into the squash, place on a microwave-safe plate, and heat in the microwave about 3 minutes.) Brush the insides of the hollowed out squash with the olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Place, hollowed side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. While the squash is in the oven, steam the broccoli until tender, about 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the cooked squash from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Shred the cooked squash into spaghetti-like strands. Scoop the strands into a large bowl. Add the broccoli, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and basil pesto. Stir well to combine, and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Scoop the mixture back into the empty squash bowls, and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella cheese evenly over the tops.
  7. Place back into the oven until the mixture is heated through, about 10 minutes.
Each serving provides 45% calcium and over a day's worth of vitamin C.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1/2 squash), Calories: 225, Fat: 11g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 15g, Sodium: 585mg, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 17g,

Ok spaghetti squash fans. Go ahead and share YOUR favorite ways to prepare it.


Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese: Macaroni & Cheese Gets a Healthy Makeover

Classic macaroni and cheese from a box gets an adventurous and healthy makeover with whole wheat elbow pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat cheese sauce, and marinated artichoke hearts.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

The secret is in the sauce. My low-fat cheese sauce starts with a roux made with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, 1% low-fat milk and vegetable broth, and three cheeses including reduced-fat Cheddar.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Leftovers can easily be frozen.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese
I'm not going to lie: I've made mac & cheese from a box plenty of times for my family. But when I do, I buy whole wheat varieties, and I often add "mix-ins" like beans and salsa, peas and tuna, or leftover chicken and sauteed mushrooms. And sometimes I make mac & cheese from scratch, because it's easy and it gives me more control over the ingredients. For this mac & cheese dinner, I turn to whole wheat pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat sauce made with three flavorful cheeses, and marinated artichoke hearts, which elevates the flavor even more.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8 to 10
  • One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups dried whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into thin rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • One 6.5-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 generous cup)
  • 4 ounces Gouda cheese (use smoked Gouda if you can find it), shredded (1 generous cup)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Drain the spinach in a colander. Press with the back of a large spoon to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Raise the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, flour, and pepper, and whisk constantly until smooth, 1 minute. Whisk the milk, broth, and mustard slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the artichoke hearts, Cheddar cheese, Gouda, ⅓ cup Parmesan, and spinach until well combined. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and bake until bubbly and the top turns golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Bonus nutrients: 36% calcium, 22% iron, 90% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 generous cup), Calories: 320, Fat: 23g, Saturated fat: 7g, Carbohydrates: 31g, Sodium: 490mg, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 16g,

What are your favorite mix-ins for mac & cheese?

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Cabbage From My CSA + Our Intern’s Recipe for Thai “Bland” Soup

From coleslaw and kimchi to this Thai “Bland” Soup and salads, cabbage is a versatile vegetable that adds crunch, flavor, and good nutrition. Cabbage is a good source of fiber, folate, and vitamin C, and it contains antioxidants that promote good health.

Thai Bland Soup via

Guest Post:

Hi, I’m Ben, a senior in nutrition from Boston University. A few weeks ago, Janice gave me and my fellow B.U. intern, Brett, a challenge. She had two Napa cabbages in her refrigerator that she got from her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and she wanted us to create a recipe with them.

Read more

Recipe for 3-Seed Lentil Cakes: #RecipeRedux from Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook

These vegetarian 3-Seed Lentil Cakes are packed with great nutrition, plus they are gluten free. Like mini meat loafs you can top them with a bit of tomato sauce and serve with a side salad, coleslaw, vegetable and/or rice!

We have been participating in The Recipe Redux healthy blogger challenge for several years now, and this month’s challenge was to “Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 201, 16, 216 – or any combination of the number ‘2016.’”

Read more

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing + $100 ALDI Gift Card Giveaway

This Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing is now my number one, go-to recipe when I’m craving something healthy, flavorful, and budget friendly for dinner.

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

I fell in love with this salad during a recent trip to ALDI headquarters outside Chicago where I had an opportunity to tour one of their flagship grocery stores and learn about their lineup of good-for-you, low-cost offerings.

{My trip to ALDI was paid for. I was compensated for this blog post, but all opinions are my own.}

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

As part of the ALDI experience, Chef Brigitte Prather demonstrated how to make this kale salad. I appreciate the simplicity of the dressing—made with  Friendly Farms plain Nonfat Greek yogurt, lemon juice and zest, Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, and SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey—and the versatility of the salad itself.

And you can’t beat the price at just $1.83 per serving.

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

While the original ALDI recipe (which I’m sharing below!) calls for add-ins like Marcona almonds, avocado, and Southern Grove Dried Cranberries, when I recreated it for my family, I set out a bunch of other ALDI finds: Specially Selected Pitted Kalamata Olives ($2.99), Southern Grove Dried Apricots ($2.79), Specially Selected Smoked Salmon ($3.49), and Specially Selected Blueberry and Vanilla Hand Rolled Goat Cheese Log ($3.99).

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via #aldi #salad #budget

Have you ever tried blueberry goat cheese? It’s creamy with a touch of sweetness and a great addition to this build-your-own dinner salad.

Do you have an ALDI supermarket in your area? ALDI is no frills, which is one way they keep their prices down. It’s easy to navigate, and you’ll be surprised by their line-up of good-for-you food options. Check out my post on 6 Reasons to Shop at ALDI for more information.

4.7 from 30 reviews
Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing
This recipe is from ALDI. I kept the recipe as is, but my photos reflect a few changes. When I assembled the salad, my avocados weren't ripe, so sadly, you won't see any avocados in my pictures. I also subbed raw almonds for the Marcona and added a few additional toppings: smoked salmon, goat cheese, and olives.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Table Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Stonemill Essentials Peppercorn Grinder
  • 16 cups SimplyNature Organic Kale
  • ½ cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces, divided
  • ½ cup roughly chopped Marcona almonds, divided
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, lemon zest, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Toss dressing with kale and thoroughly mix, massaging into leaves. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Toss in dried cranberries, half of the avocado and ¼ cup almonds. Mound into a large serving bowl and top with remaining avocado and ¼ cup almonds.

Aldi gift card giveaway via

Giveaway News!

Win a $100.00 gift card to ALDI (U.S. only please).

TO ENTER post a comment here and tell me why you shop at ALDI and/or about your favorite ALDI food products. Post a comment here to be eligible to win. I’ll pick one winner at random on December 16, 2016.

I will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.

> Share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

> Follow us on Pinterest.

 Follow The Meal Makeover Moms on Facebook and Twitter (@MealMakeovrMoms)

Post additional comments every time you do something extra 🙂

Good luck!

Other fun ALDI posts to enjoy …

Facebook Live Recipe Demo: Potato Cauliflower Smash
by Teaspoon of Spice

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressingby Nutritionist Reviews

Quinoa Salad with Spinach & Onions – Gluten Free, Vegan & Paleo FriendlyFacebook Live Recipe Demo: Wild Hunt Quinoa Salad by Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Tropical Superfood Smoothie (Plus Video)by Love & Zest

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing and ALDI Giveaway!by The Foodie Dietitian

My 4 Favorite Ways ALDI Keeps Prices So Lowby Healthy Aperture

Facebook Live Holiday Solutions: How to Set Up a Dessert Crostini Bar by Holley Grainger

Facebook Live Recipe Demo: No Bake Energy Bitesby Michelle Dudash

Pecan Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole + Sweet Potato Nutrition {Podcast Episode #294}

When we think of sweet potato casserole, images of brown sugar, butter, and mini marshmallows come to mind. It’s one of those traditional side dish recipes most families gobble up at Thanksgiving, but the sugar, fat, and calories can add up quickly.

Our sweet potato casserole makeover will bring better nutrition and just as much flavor to your holiday table.

Pecan-Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole via #casserole #healthy #Thanksgiving

Sweet potatoes are rich in immune-boosting vitamin A, and they’re a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Why wreck all that great nutrition with a bag of mini marshmallows!

Tune in to this week’s Cooking with the Moms for this better-for-you sweet potato casserole and a few more! Click the player arrow below to listen.


Pecan-Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole via #casserole #healthy #Thanksgiving

To maintain its healthy reputation, we give sweet potato casserole a “fix” by adding just 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons coconut oil to the entire recipe. And our topping is made with nutrient-rich pecans versus the usual sugary marshmallows. We also call for roasting the sweet potatoes versus steaming or boiling, which brings out the sweetness of the spuds even more.

Pecan-Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole via #casserole #healthy #Thanksgiving

This recipe is easy to make, naturally sweet, and at just 180 calories per serving, it’s a side dish worth making again, and again, and again!

Pecan-Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole via #casserole #healthy #Thanksgiving

Pecan Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole
At Thanksgiving dinner, we like to take a little of this and a little of that. So even though we say this casserole serves 8, at the holidays, it will likely yield 10 servings. Depending on the number of guests at your table, you may want to double or triple the recipe. And if you prefer the flavor of butter to coconut oil, go ahead and make the swap.
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 8
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Pierce each potato several times with the tip of a sharp knife. Brush the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
  2. Bake until very tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F.
  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half, scoop the flesh into a bowl, and mash until smooth. (You will have about 4 cups.) Stir in the orange juice, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, orange zest, ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Place in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  4. To make the topping, place the remaining brown sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon, and the pecans in a bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake until the nuts are toasted and the casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes.
One serving provides 400% vitamin A and 35% vitamin C
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1/2 cup), Calories: 180, Fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 3.5g, Carbohydrates: 25g, Sodium: 75mg, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 3g,


Looking for more healthy sweet potato casserole recipes? Check out these better-for-you ideas from some of our favorite RDN food bloggers:

Mixed Potatoes Anna from Rachael at Avocado a Day Nutrition

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Bake from Serena at Teaspoon of Spice

Savory Sweet Potato Gratin with Pecans from Aggie at Aggie’s Kitchen

Sweet Potato Apple Bake from Ann at My Menu Pal

Lighter Sweet Potato Casserole from Amber at Homemade Nutrition

Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Anne at Fannetastic Food

Mini Sweet Potato Casseroles from Denise at Vine Ripe Nutrition

Tell us about your favorite holiday side dishes!

Pecan-Topped, Slightly-Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole via #casserole #healthy #Thanksgiving

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu & Veggie Protein Bowl – {Recipe Redux October Challenge}

Plant-based protein bowls are a food trend that makes me very happy. They’re easy to make, nutritious, versatile, and filled with big flavors and lots of crunch. This Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl is no exception.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via #vegetarian

{Picky Eater Advice}

If your family tends to shy away from vegetables, set up a build-your-own  bowl bar filled with an array of ingredients so everyone can decide what to take … or what not to take. Giving finicky eaters control over their individual food choices (especially when they’re all healthy choices) is often a big motivator for trying new foods.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via #vegetarian

The bowls I like to make include some sort of whole grain including brown rice, farro, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta, crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and one or two protein-rich foods — beans, tofu, grilled chicken, salmon, nuts, seeds, or eggs.

Read more

Healthy Gingersnap Pumpkin Mousse – a makeover of classic mousse

If you’re looking for a fall-inspired afternoon snack or special treat for after dinner, try our healthy pumpkin mousse makeover made simply with canned pumpkin puree, frozen banana for natural sweetness, low-fat cottage cheese, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and a tasty topping of crushed gingersnap cookies, hemp seeds, and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Yes Please!

Healthy Gingersnap Pumpkin Mousse via #pumpkin #snack #dessert

Healthy and delicious team up for this nutrient-rich pumpkin mousse. The secret ingredient is cottage cheese, delivering body, a luscious texture, and a healthy helping of calcium and protein. The “sprinkles” on top bring a hint of sweetness and lots of crunch to every spoonful.

Healthy Gingersnap Pumpkin Mousse via #pumpkin #snack #dessert

Every fall, we take an intern (or two) under our wing for a semester. A few weeks ago, we met Brett and Ben, two nutrition seniors from Boston University. About an hour into the internship, they helped us develop this recipe, and they were more than willing to sample a few bites. Expect more meal makeover magic from these two dietitians-to-be in the coming weeks 🙂

Read more

Autumn’s Best Butternut Squash, Apple, and Pear Soup

The second it cools off here in New England, I start craving soup, especially when butternut squash is the star. This vegetarian, gluten-free recipe features autumn’s freshest butternut squash along with sweet, crisp apples and juicy pears. For an added pop of protein, you can incorporate cooked quinoa, toasted walnuts, and/or pumpkin seeds.

Autumn's Best Butternut Squash, Apple and Pear Soup via #soup

Last week, I joined Kids Cooking Green (a food literacy and hands-on cooking program based in Lexington, MA) to teach nutrition to an adorable and engaged group of elementary school kids in Boston. The theme of our class was SOUP, and thanks to the kids’ hard work, we created two soups including a warm brew made with butternut squash and pears.

Autumn's Best Butternut Squash, Apple and Pear Soup via #soup

These pint-sized chefs were seriously focused, and I’m happy to report that there was a lot of tasting and devouring going on after our soups were done. (Isn’t that what it’s all about?)

Read more

Next Page »