Spaghetti Squash Pizza
Mmm, pizza… My mouth is watering just thinking of my favorite pizzas (yes, plural!), whether homemade or from a pizza restaurant. Over the last year I’ve seen a lot of pizza recipes taking the crust out of the picture, which is a little hard for me to wrap my brain around. I mean, who can resist a crust that strikes the perfect balance between a soft, light edge and a crisp, brown bottom all topped with good, fresh ingredients. Not this girl!
My brother was home a few months ago and we were going to make pizza. He had started following the Paleo lifestyle, however, so using a traditional crust was out of the picture. Hmm, what to do? He had a pizza recipe that uses a cauliflower-based crust and we decided to try it. The result was surprisingly good and we scarfed down slice after slice. My only complaint was that the cauliflower flavor was pretty strong, so I set out to create something using a more mild flavored, non-starchy vegetable crust.
Enter spaghetti squash. I have been loving this versatile vegetable over the past few months and thought it might work well here. I started throwing things together, writing down what I was doing, but never expecting it to turn out because it was the first go, which is why there are no photos of the process. Anyway, it tasted great! I was so excited by the result and my husband happily ate one slice after another. As I expected, the spaghetti squash did not add flavor to the pizza and was a really good compliment to the flavors of the toppings.
Now for the disclaimer: I used some cheese in the crust, and of course on the top. I don’t think you can call something pizza if there is no cheese involved. So, for die-hard Paleo followers, this recipe is probably not for you. But, if you’re looking to cut back on grains, or if you eat gluten-free, you’re good to go!
Even if you aren’t following a Paleo lifestyle, don’t rule this recipe out. I love it because it helps me meet my goal of upping my vegetable intake, all while tasting great. The crust is not going to be crisp like you may expect with a traditional pizza, but it’s a really good carrier for the best part of a pizza – the toppings!
Speaking of toppings, I didn’t have any pizza sauce made or handy, so for this round, I made a caramelized onion, chopped smoked brisket, BBQ sauce and cheese topped pizza (totally un-Paleo, of course, but totally AWESOME!). Of course you can top the spaghetti squash crust with your favorite pizza toppings, just like you would a normal pizza crust. That’s the beauty of it! Use the amounts listed below as a guide.
I have to admit, the nutrition numbers weren’t as low as I had hoped when I ran the nutrition numbers, but then I compared them to the nutrition numbers of traditional pizza. Compared to two slices of a meat-topped traditional pizza, two slices of the Spaghetti Squash Pizza have about 300 fewer calories, and 30 grams less of carbohydrates. Not bad!
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Spaghetti Squash Pizza
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition Information (per serving): 403 cals, 25 g pro, 38 g carb, 17 g fat, 145 mg cholesterol, 9 g sat fat, 5 g fiber, 953 mg sodium
Spaghetti Squash Crust:
1 3- to 3 1/2-pound spaghetti squash
3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons brown rice flour (all-purpose would work fine too)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sauce (barbecue or pizza sauce)
1/2 cup caramelized onions
1/2 cup chopped smoked brisket (either smoke your own, or get an order from your favorite BBQ joint)
1 cup shredded pizza cheese
Spaghetti Squash Crust:
1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half crosswise. Scoop out any seeds and loose strings and discard. Place the squash cut sides down, in a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Bake in a 375°F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until squash is tender (a sharp knife should slide easily into the side of the squash). Cool about 20 minutes. Use a fork to scrape the squash pulp into a large bowl. Set aside to cool completely. Drain off any liquid that settles at the bottom of the bowl.
2. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, rice flour and salt. Add to the spaghetti squash and stir until well combined.
3. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper (this part is important; it helps keep the crust from spreading). Spread the squash mixture into a 12-inch diameter circle on the parchment paper.
4. Bake in a 375°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes more or until crust is set and starting to brown on the edges.
5. Spread sauce over the partially baked crust. Top with onions, brisket, and pizza cheese. Bake 8 to 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted and toppings are heated through. Let stand on the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve. Try not to eat the whole thing