This low carb Creamy Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Broccoli tastes rich and indulgent but is actually a healthy, low carb dinner your whole family will love. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
Low carb Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Broccoli in a lightened up creamy Parmesan sauce is the healthy pasta dish you have been looking for! It's one that our whole family loves along with this Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parm.
Creamy. Parmesan. Spaghetti. Squash. Chicken. Broccoli. I feel like every single one of those words makes my mouth water a little. All together — well, okay, I'd need a bib. But seriously, if you love alfredo pasta but you hate all the carbs, fat, calories, and other unpronounceable ingredients you might find in a jar of alfredo sauce or at your local chain restaurant, then you've got to try this recipe. I'm not going to say it's exactly like the white-sauce-laden dish you'd get on a dinner out, but it is so close and it will satisfy all your alfredo cravings.
If you're looking for a low-carb alternative to pasta, then spaghetti squash is a winner. I am always looking for new ways to make spaghetti squash so when a chicken broccoli alfredo craving washed over me not too long ago, I knew I wanted to recreate a low-carb version using spaghetti squash. To make that nice, thick sauce without flour, cream cheese is your secret weapon. It will do that roux thing without the extra carbs from the flour typically involved in making a roux. Top that off with some quickly cooked chicken and broccoli and it is a winning dish that will satisfy any alfredo craving. Just think of me as your low-carb fairy godmother.
Recipe Ideas for Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Broccoli
As easy as it was for me to recreate alfredo pasta as a spaghetti squash option — that's how easy these are to customize. Really. Once you have the squash cooked and the "spaghetti" scraped out, you can really prepare it with whatever ingredients you'd usually add to pasta. Some ways I'd customize this dish include:
- Swap the chicken for lean cuts of turkey breast or ground turkey.
- Make this dish spicy by adding a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the sauce while it's cooking.
- Try a vegetarian option by skipping the meat all together and either doubling the broccoli or adding in another veggie like cauliflower florets or spinach.
- If you don't want to double your veggies, but you want to swap your meat for another plant-protein, try adding in white beans or chickpeas.
- Double the nutritional value of your "noodles" by adding in some zucchini noodles with the spaghetti squash.
- Hate broccoli? That's okay — use whatever veggies you do like. Or add a bag of mixed, frozen veggies. (Those steamable bags of veggies are great!)
- Add an additional sprinkling of Parmesan and some black pepper to the top of your dish for a fancy, delicious, restaurant-style plating.
- Save the hollowed out squash halves and add the final ingredients back in to make squash boats.
What Makes This Creamy Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Broccoli Healthy?
This dish is a healthier option than the pasta alfredo you'd normally make or get at a restaurant because the pasta is eliminated and replaced with a low-carb squash, and the sauce is also lightened up and has less fat and butter than you'd typically find in this dish. Every ingredient is healthy in its own right as well.
- Low-calorie, low-carb, and packed full of vitamins and minerals (vitamin B, iron, zinc, folate, protein, and potassium to name a few), spaghetti squash makes a great pasta substitute.
- Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that is easy to cook with and supplies your body with antioxidants.
- Chicken is a leaner meat protein that is good for your heart, contains vitamins B6 and B2, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin A.
- One cup of cooked broccoli offers the same amount of vitamin C as eating an orange! It's also a great source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and beta-carotene. In addition, this veggie is low-calorie and high-fiber.
- Butter isn't all bad, as long as you don't go overboard. It contains vitamin K2 (which helps your body metabolize calcium), and it also contains healthier saturated fats. Butter can also help keep you feeling fuller, longer.
- Garlic is rich in fiber, manganese, selenium, and vitamins B6 and C. Plus, it's low in calories and high in flavor.
- Reduced-fat milk, reduced fat cream cheese, and Parmesan all make great lower-calorie-and-fat sources of protein and calcium.
Is Spaghetti Squash a Starch or a Vegetable?
Surprise — spaghetti squash is considered a fruit! It does contain some starches in the form of carbs, but it is a great low-carb option, especially when you compare it to the much starchier pastas or potatoes. Plus, eating veggies over much starchier options means you'll also be eating more vitamins and minerals and more "real," unprocessed foods.
Creamy Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Broccoli
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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes until tender. You could also microwave the squash by cutting it in half, removing the seeds, and placing it face down in a microwave safe dish with 1 inch of water. Microwave for 8-10 minutes until soft.
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and let it brown for 3-4 minutes. Turn and add the broccoli. Cook for 4-5 minute more until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is tender crisp.
Heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until it begins to thicken. Stir in the cream cheese and Parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Toss together the squash, broccoli, chicken, and cheese sauce. If sauce seems thin, let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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