BBQ Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Kale
While grocery shopping a couple months ago I realized I hadn't cooked any spaghetti squash all winter. Obviously, this needed to be changed. So I picked up three of the biggest spaghetti squash I could get my hands on and tossed them in my shopping cart. Since I purchased these squash without a plan, the next obvious thing happened. They sat on my kitchen counter for weeks (ok, not weeks, but definitely more than 7 days). I could have easily roasted and tossed this amazing vegetable with butter and parm, but I've done that many many times already. I wanted to try something new.
After making this Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, I now found myself with some leftover kale, Brussels sprouts and spaghetti squash that were at risk of going bad. Refusing to let anything go to waste, I let my stomach guide me.
I love bbq chicken pizza. It is one of my favorites. Tangy, sweet bbq sauce with rich buttery cheese, spicy red onion, fresh green onion and (if I'm making the pizza) bursting fresh cherry tomatoes. Pizza is also one of those things that, once I start eating, I can't stop. Kinda like cookies. So I decided I would steal all the flavors of bbq chicken pizza, put it in a skillet and cut out the carbs.
Totally worth it. And since working with dough isn't my favorite thing in the whole world, I will even go so far to say that this is even easier! But, my favorite part? It's totally loaded with veggies. For protein, I added ground chicken, but shredded chicken would taste just as great. If you're not a fan of eating meat, no worries! double the veggies or sub the chicken for tempah. Given the bold flavor of the cheese and bbq sauce, there is a lot of flexibility with additions and subtractions in this healthy family dinner.
BBQ Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Kale
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (this includes cooking time for spaghetti squash)
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Type: Main Dish, Chicken, Low-Carb, Healthy, Easy
2 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
2 cups Tuscan kale, stems removed and finely chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
salt + pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken OR 2 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (more or less depending on heat tolerance)
3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded + more for topping
1/3 cup BBQ Sauce (I used TJ's Sriracha BBQ Sauce because it's my fave)
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream or plain Green yogurt
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut your squash in half horizontally and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place it on a cookie sheet face down and bake until fork tender, approximately 45-60 minutes.
If using shredded chicken breast, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, carefully add the chicken and return water to a boil. Remove from heat, cover pot with a lid and allow chicken to cook for 25-30 minutes, or until fully cooked.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and red onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until onion is fragrant. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts and sauté with the onions for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the Brussels sprouts start to soften, mix in the chopped kale, green onion, salt + pepper and minced garlic. Cook until kale is wilted and cooked, stirring often.
Using a large wooden spoon, push the veggies to one side of the skillet. To the other side of the skillet add a little more olive oil. Add the ground chicken and sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, paprika and red chili flakes. Cook the ground chicken, stirring frequently, until nearly cooked.
Mix the meat with the veggies and continue to cook everything together until fully cooked.
NOTE: if you are using shredded chicken, skip the ground meat part and simply add the cooked shredded chicken to the cooked veggies. Add the spices and stir everything together to combine.
Once the squash is fully cooked and cooled slightly, use a fork and spoon to remove all the flesh. If your squash is especially watery, I recommend straining your squash in a fine mesh strainer to remove some of the liquid.
Transfer squash to the skillet with the other veggies and meat and mix to combine. Add the cheese, bbq sauce and sour cream to the skillet and stir to combine.
If your skillet is NOT oven safe, you will need to transfer squash to an oven-safe skillet or casserole dish, spraying with non-stick spray first. If your skillet is safe for oven use, use your large wooden spatula to flatten the surface of the casserole. Sprinkle the top with panko bread crumbs and additional cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then turn the oven to high broil and allow dish to cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.
Garnish with cilantro, fresh green onions and additional bbq sauce and sour cream, if desired.