Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats Recipe

For an innovative twist on a classic meal, try these turkey taco spaghetti squash boats. This recipe merges the hearty flavors of a turkey taco with the light and healthy spaghetti squash. It's a balanced, nutritious meal that doesn't skimp on taste or satisfaction.

Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats Recipe
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Most of the ingredients for this recipe are likely to be in your pantry. However, spaghetti squash might be an exception. This unique variety of winter squash has a mild taste and a stringy texture that resembles spaghetti when cooked, hence its name. It's usually found in the produce section of most supermarkets. Another ingredient to look out for is the part-skim Mexican cheese blend, which adds a delicious creaminess to the dish without too much extra fat.

Ingredients for Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti squash: A type of winter squash with a stringy flesh that resembles spaghetti when cooked. It has a mild flavor that pairs well with many different ingredients.

Ground turkey: A lean, protein-rich meat that is the base for our taco filling.

Garlic powder: Adds a savory depth of flavor to the turkey.

Cumin: Gives a warm, earthy flavor to the dish.

Chili powder: Adds a spicy kick to the turkey filling.

Paprika: Gives a sweet-peppery flavor to the dish.

Oregano: An aromatic herb that enhances the overall flavor profile.

Onion: Adds a sweet and savory flavor to the dish.

Bell pepper: Adds a crunchy texture and a sweet flavor.

Tomato sauce: Gives the turkey filling a rich and tangy flavor.

Mexican cheese blend: Melts beautifully to give a creamy texture to the dish.

Tomato: Fresh and juicy, used in the pico de gallo.

Scallion: Adds a mild, onion-like flavor to the pico de gallo.

Cilantro: An aromatic herb that brings freshness to the pico de gallo.

Jalapeno: Adds a spicy kick to the pico de gallo.

Lime juice: Gives a tangy flavor to the pico de gallo.

One reader, Dona Engle says:

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This turkey taco spaghetti squash boats recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are incredible, and it's a healthier alternative to traditional tacos. The combination of the squash, turkey, and spices is simply delicious. Plus, it's a fun and creative way to enjoy a classic dish. Highly recommend trying it out!

Dona Engle

Techniques Required for Making Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

How to prepare spaghetti squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and soft yellow strands. Spray the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash facedown on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes at 400°F, or until the flesh easily pierces with a fork.

How to brown ground turkey: Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet, breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. Once no longer pink, add the dry seasoning and mix well.

How to make pico de gallo: Combine the ingredients for the quick pico de gallo in a medium bowl, including tomato, scallion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

How to assemble turkey taco spaghetti squash boats: Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the inside so the strands appear. Spoon a scant ½ cup of the turkey mixture inside each squash bowl. Top each with 2 tablespoons of cheese and transfer them to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, top with pico de gallo, and serve immediately.

How To Make Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

Filled with delicious turkey taco meat, cheese, and pico de gallo, these Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats are an amazing way to enjoy spaghetti squash!

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 72ozspaghetti squash,(3 small)
  • olive oil spray
  • 1lbground turkey,93%
  • 1tspgarlic powder
  • 1tspcumin
  • 1tspkosher salt
  • ½tspchili powder
  • ½tsppaprika
  • ½tsporegano
  • ½small onion,minced
  • 2tbspbell pepper,minced
  • ½cupwater
  • 4oztomato sauce,(½ can)
  • ¾cuppart-skim Mexican cheese blend,shredded, omit for Whole 30

For Pico De Gallo:

  • 1cuptomato,chopped
  • ¼cupscallion,chopped
  • ¼cupfresh cilantro,chopped
  • ½jalapeno,minced
  • 2tbspfresh lime juice
  • ¼tspkosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or two if they don’t fit).

  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and soft yellow strands.

  3. Spray the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

  4. Place the squash facedown on the baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, or until the flesh easily pierces with a fork.

  5. Meanwhile, brown the turkey in a large skillet, breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink, add the dry seasoning and mix well.

  6. Add the onion, pepper, water, and tomato sauce, and cover. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

  7. Combine the ingredients for the quick pico de gallo in a medium bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

  8. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the inside so the strands appear. Spoon a scant ½ cup of meat inside each squash bowl.

  9. Top each with 2 tablespoons of cheese and transfer them to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

  10. Remove from the oven, top with pico de gallo, and serve immediately.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 343.94kcal
  • Fat: 18.09g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.78g
  • Trans Fat: 0.27g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6.89g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.29g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.07g
  • Fiber: 6.29g
  • Sugar: 11.44g
  • Protein: 21.88g
  • Cholesterol: 68.99mg
  • Sodium: 700.57mg
  • Calcium: 222.04mg
  • Potassium: 735.39mg
  • Iron: 2.66mg
  • Vitamin A: 111.80µg
  • Vitamin C: 20.18mg

Technique Tip for Perfect Spaghetti Squash Boats

When preparing the spaghetti squash, ensure to scrape out all the seeds and soft yellow strands thoroughly. This not only makes it easier to stuff the squash later, but also helps to achieve a better texture and flavor. Additionally, when baking the squash, make sure to check its doneness by piercing it with a fork. If it goes in easily, your squash is perfectly cooked. Overcooking can make the squash mushy and may ruin the texture of the dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the spaghetti squash and pico de gallo in advance to cut down on cooking time.

Use pre-made seasoning: Save time by using pre-made taco seasoning instead of measuring out individual spices.

Batch cooking: Cook a larger portion of the turkey taco filling and freeze the extra for future use.

Multitask: While the squash is baking, prepare the turkey taco filling to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Invest in kitchen tools: Use a sharp knife and a good quality vegetable peeler to make prepping the spaghetti squash easier and faster.

Organize ingredients: Before starting, gather and organize all the ingredients and kitchen tools needed for the recipe to streamline the cooking process.

Simplify the pico de gallo: Consider using store-bought pico de gallo to save time on chopping and preparing fresh ingredients.

Substitute Ingredients For Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats Recipe

  • spaghetti squash - Substitute with zucchini noodles: Zucchini noodles can be used as a low-carb alternative to spaghetti squash, providing a similar texture and flavor to the dish.

  • ground turkey - Substitute with ground chicken: Ground chicken can be used as a lean alternative to ground turkey, offering a similar taste and texture in the recipe.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with minced garlic: Minced garlic can be used as a fresh alternative to garlic powder, adding a more intense and aromatic flavor to the dish.

  • cumin - Substitute with coriander: Coriander can be used as a substitute for cumin, providing a slightly different but complementary flavor profile to the dish.

  • chili powder - Substitute with paprika and cayenne mix: A combination of paprika and cayenne can be used to replace chili powder, offering a similar level of heat and smokiness to the recipe.

  • paprika - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can be used as a substitute for regular paprika, adding a deeper, smokier flavor to the dish.

  • oregano - Substitute with thyme: Thyme can be used as a substitute for oregano, providing a similar earthy and slightly minty flavor to the recipe.

  • onion - Substitute with shallot: Shallots can be used as a substitute for onions, offering a milder and sweeter flavor to the dish.

  • bell pepper - Substitute with poblano pepper: Poblano peppers can be used as a substitute for bell peppers, providing a slightly spicier and smokier flavor to the recipe.

  • tomato sauce - Substitute with salsa: Salsa can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce, adding a variety of flavors and spices to the dish.

  • mexican cheese blend - Substitute with cheddar cheese: Cheddar cheese can be used as a substitute for Mexican cheese blend, providing a rich and sharp flavor to the recipe.

  • tomato - Substitute with red bell pepper: Red bell pepper can be used as a substitute for tomatoes, adding a sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the dish.

  • scallion - Substitute with red onion: Red onion can be used as a substitute for scallions, offering a sharper and more pungent flavor to the recipe.

  • jalapeno - Substitute with serrano pepper: Serrano pepper can be used as a substitute for jalapeno, providing a similar level of heat with a slightly fruitier flavor.

Best Way to Present Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

  1. Elevate the spaghetti squash boats: Carefully arrange the spaghetti squash boats on a sleek, white, rectangular plate to create an elegant and visually appealing presentation.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro and scallions over the top of the spaghetti squash boats to add a pop of vibrant color and a touch of freshness.

  3. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Skillfully drizzle a small amount of tomato sauce in a decorative pattern around the edge of the plate to add a touch of sophistication to the presentation.

  4. Utilize fine dining plating techniques: Employ the use of tweezers to delicately place the pico de gallo on top of the spaghetti squash boats, ensuring each element is meticulously positioned for a refined appearance.

  5. Emphasize symmetry and balance: Arrange the spaghetti squash boats in a symmetrical manner on the plate, ensuring that each component is thoughtfully placed to create a visually balanced presentation.

  6. Highlight the natural colors: Showcase the vibrant colors of the dish by using a minimalist approach, allowing the natural hues of the ingredients to shine through for an aesthetically pleasing display.

  7. Incorporate elegant serving ware: Present the spaghetti squash boats on a stylish, modern serving platter or board to elevate the overall presentation and create a memorable dining experience.

Essential Tools for Making Spaghetti Squash Boats

  • Baking sheet: A flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking and roasting foods in the oven.
  • Parchment paper: A non-stick paper used to line baking sheets and pans to prevent food from sticking.
  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and sautéing foods.
  • Spoon: A utensil with a small bowl-shaped head used for stirring, mixing, and serving.
  • Fork: A utensil with pronged ends used for picking up and eating food, as well as for scraping and stirring.
  • Mixing bowl: A deep bowl used for mixing ingredients together.
  • Medium bowl: A bowl of moderate size used for mixing and holding ingredients.
  • Food processor: A kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients.
  • Knife: A sharp-edged utensil used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Spatula: A flat, flexible utensil used for flipping, spreading, and lifting foods.
  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and heating food.
  • Refrigerator: An appliance used for storing and preserving food at low temperatures.

How To Store and Freeze Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

  • To store leftover turkey taco spaghetti squash boats, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  • If you want to freeze the spaghetti squash boats, it's best to freeze them before adding the toppings. Wrap each cooked and cooled squash half tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

  • To reheat frozen spaghetti squash boats, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, unwrap the squash halves and place them on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake the squash for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

  • After reheating, add your favorite toppings, such as the turkey taco filling, cheese, and pico de gallo, and bake for an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese and warm the toppings.

  • If you have leftover turkey taco filling, it can be stored separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw frozen filling in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in a skillet or microwave.

How To Reheat Leftover Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover turkey taco spaghetti squash boats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • Cover the spaghetti squash boats loosely with aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out during the reheating process. This will help retain moisture and ensure that the filling and spaghetti squash heat evenly.
  • Bake the covered spaghetti squash boats in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are heated through. The exact reheating time may vary depending on the size of your boats and the amount of filling.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the turkey taco spaghetti squash boats in the microwave. Place one or two boats on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful when removing the plate from the microwave, as it may be hot.
  • If you find that the filling has dried out a bit during storage, you can add a tablespoon or two of water or chicken broth to the boats before reheating to help moisten the filling and prevent it from drying out further.
  • Once the turkey taco spaghetti squash boats are heated through, remove the aluminum foil (if using the oven method) and let them cool for a minute or two before serving.
  • If desired, you can refresh the toppings by adding a sprinkle of fresh shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, or a spoonful of pico de gallo before serving. This will help brighten up the flavors and make the reheated dish taste more fresh.

Random Fact About Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats

The Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats recipe is a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional tacos. It's a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet while still enjoying the flavors of a classic taco. Plus, spaghetti squash is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a nutritious choice for a satisfying meal. So, next time you're craving tacos, consider trying this unique and tasty recipe!

Is Making Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats Economical for Home Cooking?

This turkey taco spaghetti squash boats recipe is a cost-effective option for households. The key ingredients like spaghetti squash, ground turkey, and vegetables are budget-friendly and nutritious. The versatility of the ingredients allows for creative variations, making it a practical choice. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20, making it an economical and satisfying meal. The overall verdict for this recipe is 8/10 for its affordability, nutritional value, and delicious taste.

Is This Spaghetti Squash Boat Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

This turkey taco spaghetti squash boat recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional tacos. The use of spaghetti squash instead of taco shells significantly reduces the carbohydrate content and provides a good source of fiber. Ground turkey is a lean protein option, which is lower in saturated fat compared to ground beef. The recipe also incorporates various spices and vegetables, adding flavor and nutrients to the dish. The homemade pico de gallo is a fresh and nutritious topping, providing additional vitamins and minerals.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this recipe, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a low-sodium tomato sauce to reduce the overall sodium content
  • Increase the amount of bell pepper and onion to add more vegetables to the dish
  • Opt for a reduced-fat cheese or use a smaller amount to lower the saturated fat content
  • Serve the spaghetti squash boats with a side salad or roasted vegetables to increase the fiber and nutrient intake
  • Use whole grain tortillas or lettuce wraps as an alternative serving option for those who prefer a more traditional taco experience

Editor's Thoughts on This Spaghetti Squash Boat Recipe

This turkey taco spaghetti squash boats recipe is a delightful and healthy twist on traditional tacos. The combination of tender spaghetti squash, flavorful ground turkey, and zesty pico de gallo creates a satisfying and nutritious meal. The use of fresh ingredients and bold spices adds depth to the dish, while the melted cheese provides a comforting finish. The recipe's simplicity and versatility make it a perfect choice for a quick weeknight dinner or a casual gathering with friends. Overall, it's a well-balanced and delicious dish that is sure to impress and satisfy anyone looking for a lighter take on taco night.

Enhance Your Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Guacamole: Creamy avocado mixed with zesty lime and fresh cilantro, perfect for scooping with tortilla chips or topping off your turkey taco spaghetti squash boats.
Cornbread Muffins: Moist and buttery cornbread muffins, a comforting and delicious side to pair with your flavorful main dish.
Mexican Street Corn: Grilled corn on the cob slathered in a creamy, tangy sauce and sprinkled with cheese and spices, a delightful and unique side to complement your turkey taco spaghetti squash boats.

Other Alternative Recipes Similar to This Spaghetti Squash Boat Dish

Spicy Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry: This stir-fry is packed with tender beef and a variety of colorful vegetables, all coated in a spicy and savory sauce.
Mango Avocado Salsa: This refreshing salsa combines sweet mango, creamy avocado, and zesty lime juice for a perfect topping for grilled fish or chicken.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup: Indulge in the velvety smoothness of this creamy butternut squash soup, seasoned with warm spices and topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh herbs.

Suggested Appetizers and Desserts to Serve With This Recipe

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful caprese skewers are a fresh and vibrant appetizer option. With juicy cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil, they are a delightful way to start any gathering.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and intense chocolate flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender spiced apples and a crunchy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Why trust this Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, combining the wholesome goodness of spaghetti squash with the savory richness of ground turkey. The carefully selected blend of spices and the addition of pico de gallo promise a burst of vibrant and zesty notes. With a focus on fresh, wholesome ingredients and a meticulous cooking process, this dish embodies the essence of homemade comfort food. Trust in the balance of flavors and the expertise behind this recipe to elevate your dining experience.

Have you tried this delicious Turkey Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats recipe? Share your experience and discuss any variations or tips in the Recipe Sharing forum!
FAQ:
How long does it take to make the turkey taco spaghetti squash boats?
The total time to make the turkey taco spaghetti squash boats is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, including prep and cooking time.
Can I substitute ground beef for ground turkey in this recipe?
Yes, you can absolutely substitute ground beef for ground turkey in this recipe. The flavors will still be delicious!
How do I know when the spaghetti squash is cooked and ready to be removed from the oven?
You'll know the spaghetti squash is ready when the flesh easily pierces with a fork. It should be tender and easy to scrape into strands.
Can I prepare the pico de gallo ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can prepare the pico de gallo ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve the turkey taco spaghetti squash boats.
Is it possible to make this recipe vegetarian?
Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of this recipe by substituting the ground turkey with plant-based ground meat or adding more vegetables like diced zucchini, corn, or black beans for protein.

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