RecipeSpaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese with Broccoli Breadcrumbs

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 390
  • Protein: 28 g
  • Total Fat: 19 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
    • Saturated Fat: 12 g
  • Cholesterol: 32 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 31 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5 g
  • Total Sugar: 13 g
    • Natural Sugar: 13 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 790 mg

Here’s a confession: My family adores mac and cheese, especially my youngest daughter, Ayden Jane, who considers herself somewhat of an aficionado. I’m constantly experimenting with new and creative ways to health-ify the beloved comfort food, and Ayden often volunteers to serve as my ultimate judge, helping decide which versions make the cut and which go to the chopping block (full disclosure, not all my creations pass muster).

This version was declared a winner. It’s a super-low-carb spin, because it doesn’t require pasta. Instead I swap in spaghetti squash, which produces delicious noodle-like strands when cooked and pulled apart with a fork. The creamy cheese sauce is lighter than restaurant or boxed versions, but it’s packed with flavor, thanks to a handful of scrumptious spices and seasonings. And to top if all off, I add a “breadcrumb” topping made from a surprisingly healthy ingredient: broccoli. And because presentation counts, I serve it up in the spaghetti squash shells. It’s mac and cheese magnificence—creamy, cheesy, and indulgent—but it’s also wholesome, light, and nutritious. And the best part: It’s Ayden Jane–approved!

This recipe comes from my new book, Joy Bauer Superfood! To learn more, click here.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 2 servings


• 1 medium spaghetti squash
• Kosher salt and ground black pepper


• ¾ cup nonfat or low-fat milk, divided
• ¼ teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
• ¼ teaspoon onion powder
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca flour
• 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoon whipped butter

• 1 cup fresh broccoli florets (or ¾ cup fresh riced broccoli)
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


FOR THE SQUASH: Preheat the oven to 375˚.

Microwave the squash for about 4 minutes to soften. (This makes cutting it in half easier and safer.)

Cool slightly, then slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and discard. Place the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet, mist with oil spray, and season with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Flip over the squash (so it is now cut-side down) and bake for about 20 minutes. (Remember, it has been slightly precooked in the microwave, so it’s a shorter oven time than usual.)

Remove from the oven and cool, then use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands into a large bowl. Pat the strands with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible, so they’re somewhat dry before adding the cheese sauce. Save your squash shells, as they will become your mac and cheese “bowls.”

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE: In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup of the milk, the soy sauce, cayenne, nutmeg, mustard, and onion powder and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch or tapioca flour into the remaining ¼ cup milk. Add the mixture to the saucepan and stir well. Continue to stir over medium heat for a few minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Turn off the heat. Add the cheddar cheese and mix until melted. Add the butter and stir to melt.

Pour the cheese sauce over the spaghetti squash noodles and mix until well combined. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Spoon evenly into the two squash shells.

FOR THE “BREADCRUMBS”: To make riced broccoli, mince the broccoli florets by hand using a sharp knife (discard large stems before chopping) or pulse the florets in a food processor for about 10 seconds (be careful not to over-pulse, or they’ll wind up pureed). Mix the broccoli pieces with the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of your stuffed squash halves. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are toasty and slightly browned.

A serving is 1 stuffed shell

Nutrition analysis courtesy of Genesis® R&D

For more delicious cheesy recipes, try my Mac and Cheese and Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!