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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Leftovers can easily be frozen.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

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.’”

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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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #aldi #salad #budget

Kale salad with Greek yogurt dressing via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

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

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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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.

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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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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 MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #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?)

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Lentil Enchilada Bake – An Easy Vegetarian Dinner

I was compensated for creating this recipe and blog post by Canadian Lentils. All opinions are my own.

You may have heard by now (especially if you follow our blog) that 2016 is the International Year of Pulses. To continue the celebration, I created a fast and easy meatless Lentil Enchilada Bake made with Canadian lentils, colorful bell peppers, two types of cheese, and corn tortillas.

Lentil Enchilada Bake via Mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen #lentils #pulses

I’m pleased to announce that I’m joining forces with #TheSimpleLentil campaign, sponsored by Canadian Lentils, to spread the news that lentils are versatile, easy to use, and packed with great nutrition. 

Lentils via Mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen #lentils #pulses

Honestly, I love all types of pulses, but the pulse that pleases me most is the lovely lentil, or as we dietitians like to say, “the small pulse that packs a punch.”  I love ’em so much that earlier this year, we featured a roundup of 20 Healthy Lentil Recipes on the blog and dedicated a Cooking with the Moms podcast to pulses!

Lentils are easy to cook, and you can easily incorporate them into a variety of dishes. I love that they are nutrient dense and filled with protein, fiber, and other minerals like iron and potassium. Lentils have twice the protein of quinoa and provide 18 grams of fiber in a serving.

For more info on the nutritional content of lentils, check out Canadian Lentils.

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Soba Noodles with Peanuts, Carrots, and Snow Peas – A Fast Dinner or a Playful Lunch

We created this recipe for Planters Peanuts and were compensated for our work. All opinions are our own.

This fast, flavorful, protein meal featuring peanuts, peanut butter, soba noodles, and colorful, crispy vegetables delivers big flavors to the family table, and it’s easy to assemble on busy weeknights.

Serve it warm, and pack leftovers the next day in your lunchbox. 

Soba Noodles with Peanuts, Carrots, and Snow Peas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #peanuts

With back-to-school season heating up for kids across the country, we’re all about wholesome dinners (and lunches) to keep both kids and parents well fed and well fueled throughout the day. Protein has staying power, which is one reason we added peanuts to this plant-based meal.

Soba Noodles with Peanuts, Carrots, and Snow Peas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #peanuts

Did you know a one-ounce serving of Planters Dry Roasted peanuts provides 7 powerful grams of plant-based protein? Peanuts also contain heart-healthy “good” fats, with more than 80 percent of the fat in peanuts made up of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

{Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of heart disease.}

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Spiralized Summer Squash and Pistachio Salad {The RecipeRedux – Podcast Episode #290}

Summer squash is abundant this time of year at farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and in CSA baskets, and it’s the star ingredient in this recipe for Spiralized Summer Squash and Pistachio Salad. It’s easy to make and filled with flavor thanks to a lemony dressing with basil and mint.

Spiral Summer Squash and Pistachio Salad via Mealmkakeovermoms.com/kitchen

 

True confession: I do not like summer squash. I find it bland, watery, and, as my daughter would say, “meh!” However, I LOVE this salad. And I am not alone. I had two friends over for dinner the day I made this and they told me they also do not like summer squash. But, all they could do during dinner was go on and on about how much they loved this salad! The crunch and fresh flavors, not to mention the spaghetti-like shape, makes it fun for kids (even picky kids and adults) of all ages.

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