Insanely Cheesy Low Carb Pizza Casserole is the perfect compromise for weeknight dinners – kids love that they are getting pizza for dinner, but mom and dad love that it’s a kid friendly meal packed with veggies. This spaghetti squash pizza casserole is loaded with gooey cheese and pizza flavors making a kid friendly dinner sure to please even your pickiest eaters. Feel free to customize with your family’s favorite toppings!
The other day, Alex and I were talking about the foods we gravitate towards – he’s usually meat/barbecue and Middle Eastern food, while for me it’s all about burgers and pizza – because apparently, I’m essentially a frat boy.
There was a long, lonely year when I wasn’t allowed to eat dairy – Ryan was allergic to soy and dairy and I was nursing and I was miserable. Living in NJ, I missed a lot of ‘staples’ – pork roll, egg and cheese bagels, sub-par strip mall Chinese food, boardwalk ice cream, and, of course, pizza.
This being said, not eating dairy for a year was a rough life. It wasn’t until recently that I remembered a life saver I made a lot during those dark days (PS, I hope you all realize I’m highly exaggerating – being dairy free totally stinks, but it’s not the worst thing to ever happen to anyone!) – a paleo low carb pizza casserole made with spaghetti squash that satisfied my pizza cravings – kind of.
I remembered it being insanely delicious, so I decided to try and make it again, but you know, with cheese. Because I love cheese. It turned out amazing, and I knew you all would also love this kid friendly dinner – an easy way to get your kids to eat more veggies? Yes please.
Take the cheese out of this low carb pizza casserole and you’ve got a great dairy-free option. With cheese it’s a great way to pack your kids full of veggies, keep down your carbs, and take the edge off of a crazy pizza craving.
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This 13×9 pan actually comes with a lid so that you can store those leftovers without having to battle with plastic wrap or aluminum foil – just bake it, enjoy what you can, pop the top on and put the leftovers in the fridge. Then you can just take the lid off and reheat in the oven. No extra dishes!
If you’ve never worked with spaghetti squash before, the large, heavy vegetable might seem intimidating. But have no fear – preparing the spaghetti squash for this low carb pizza casserole is super easy!
Spaghetti squash tips for insanely cheesy low carb pizza casserole:
- Dock the squash all over, multiple times with a fork to allow the steam to escape.
- You can either microwave or bake the squash – both work great! Bake whole at 350 for about an hour and a half, flipping halfway through or microwave on high for 12 minutes. The squash will be done when you can easily pierce with a fork.
- You can cut in half to speed the cooking process, but to ensure the longest strands, cut width wise. The strands go in circles around the squash, so cutting lengthwise (from stem to base) cuts all of the ‘noodles’ in half.
- When ready to remove the flesh, allow the cooked squash to cool enough so you can handle, and quarter it width wise. This will make removal super easy.
- Gently loosen the strands that get stuck together with your fingers – a little bit of olive oil drizzled over helps the process a lot!
- Feel free to cook the squash the day before to help with prep time.
Can we also really quickly talk about the word casserole? I hesitated naming this a “low carb pizza casserole” – mostly because ew. One, low carb pizza sounds like something that should be outlawed, and two, who actually wants to eat a casserole? Anyone? I don’t know, I just kind of feel like growing up, casseroles were a gross option for meals – something throw together, usually with a can of cream of something.
But using the word, “bake” in substitution felt dishonest – because let’s be real, this is a casserole, plain and simple. It’s lightened up – a healthy casserole, if you will – nothing weird and totally packed with veggies, but it’s for sure a casserole. And I’m okay with it, because oh, my goodness, it’s amazing.
Insanely Cheesy Low Carb Pizza Casserole
This cheesy low carb pizza casserole is loaded with veggies but I promise your family won't even notice. Packed with gooey cheese and full of pizza flavor, this pizza casserole is bound to be new family favorite.
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 14 oz can pizza sauce
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese
- 3 cloves garlic (more to taste)
- 1 lb italian sausage
- 2 eggs
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 cup toppings* (optional)
- salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste
Roast (or microwave) the spaghetti squash until fully cooked, then cool.
Cut squash into rounds before gently removing the flesh of spaghetti squash. This ensures that you get the longest stands.
Preheat oven to 400.
Heat a large pan to medium-high and brown the sausage. If the sausage is in casing, remove from casing before cooking. Once browned, remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.
Cook onion and any raw toppings if using in fat until soft. Add in garlic and saute until fragrant.
Add in the cooked sausage and tomato sauce, stirring before adding the squash and pizza sauce and gently folding together. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, tomato paste, and Parmesan cheese very well. Grate half of the mozzarella cheese and cube the other half to about .5 inch cubes. Stir together squash mixture, egg mixture, and cubed cheese.
Pour mixture into a 13x9 pan, nonstick or sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with grated cheese and bake 20 minutes or until bubbly. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
-Add in your favorite pizza toppings. Here I used bell peppers, but and vegetable/meat combos would be great!
-This freezes really well. Either freeze the entire tray before baking, or freeze in individual servings (leftovers) after you bake.
Okay, so tell me – casserole? Bake? Does it even matter? Let me know in the comments!
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