I’ve made this Bacon Marinara Spaghetti Squash four times in the last few months, not only because it’s soooo flavorful and hearty, but because it requires only four ingredients and can be ready in about half an hour, assuming that you use the microwave to cook the squash.
Have I sold you yet? I hope so, because I’m betting that this dish will surprise you as to how good it is, just as it surprised me, and later the G’s D when she took her first bite.
So, here are the four ingredients: a medium or large spaghetti squash, 3/4 pound of bacon, a 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce, and plenty of shredded or grated Parmesan cheese to liberally sprinkle on top of each serving.
The first thing to do is carefully pierce the spaghetti squash a few times, making sure that the tip of the knife blade reaches into the cavity of the squash, so that the squash won’t explode when heating in the microwave. Then place the squash uncovered in a glass dish, and microwave until it’s cooked and so soft that it can easily be cut in half. For ease and convenience, I cook all hard winter squashes in the microwave, just as in my Smashed Butternut Squash and Rice recipe. I haven’t tried it, but if you prefer roasting the squash, then I would assume that you’ll need to add about an hour to the cooking time. This squash took about 23 minutes on high in my microwave to cook until super tender.
The second step is to cut up the bacon…
…and pan fry it in a large pan…
…until it’s nice and crisp. Please don’t get all fat-fearful and drain off all of the drippings. I used a spoon, removed about 3 tablespoons, and left the rest in the pan with the cooked bacon. That baconey flavor is what really makes this dish, so the more drippings, the merrier!
Tip: I keep bacon drippings in a recycled jar in the fridge for up to a month. Try using some of the leftover bacon drippings to sautee veggies, for instance. If I don’t use the drippings after a month, then I just toss the whole container in the trash, without worrying that the bacon drippings will clog my kitchen sink pipes. Bacon is a key ingredient in this crazy yum Bacon Marinara Spaghetti Squash, which I make often, so I always seem to have a jar of leftover drippings in the fridge!
By this time, your spaghetti squash should be coming out of the microwave and ready to cut in half. The squash should be so soft that it cuts like butter. Then scoop the seeds out of the cavity, and, using a fork, shred and scrape out the squash.
Add all of the squash to the pan with the bacon and drippings. At this point, the pan should be back on the stovetop on medium heat. Toss up the squash in all of the baconey goodness.
The next step is to add the jar of marinara and stir it all up over medium heat, until it’s hot and bubbly.
Despite it being more expensive than most, I especially like the Rao’s brand of marinara sauce. Walmart carries Rao’s, but I haven’t found it at my Kroger. Rao’s has less sugar and sodium compared to most jarred sauces, and tastes fresher than any others that I’ve tried over the last couple of decades. I always use Rao’s Tomato Basil to make this crazy yum Bacon Marinara Spaghetti Squash, but use any brand that you prefer.
The final step is to serve up all this deliciousness in a bowl and top it with lots of Parmesan or other hard Italian-style cheese, such as Romano. For the photos, I also sprinkled on some dried basil, but it’s really not necessary.
But the cheese? The cheese is a must!
The final step? Take a bite and enjoy. I got such a kick out of watching the G’s D when she first tried this…she loved it! I think you will too. Here’s the printable recipe for Bacon Marinara Spaghetti Squash:
- One medium spaghetti squash
- 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce (I use Rao's Basil Tomato)
- ¾ pound bacon
- 1 to 1 and ½ cups grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (or other hard Italian cheese)
- Carefully pierce squash several times, being sure that the knife blade goes all the way into cavity. Then place squash uncovered in a glass dish and microwave on high until squash is cooked through and soft enough to easily cut in half, 20 to 25 minutes.
- While squash is cooking, roughly chop bacon and fry in a large saucepan on the stove top until crisp. Remove from heat, and, using a tablespoon, remove about three spoonfuls of the drippings.
- Cut the cooked squash in half, remove the seeds from the cavity, then shred and scrape out the squash and place it in the pan with the bacon and drippings.
- Return the pan to the stove top on medium heat and toss the squash and bacon thoroughly, about 2 minutes.
- Add the marinara sauce to the pan and stir until everything is well combined and heated through.
- Serve in bowls, sprinkling each serving liberally with the cheese.
*Please note that all opinions are mine alone, and that I received no samples, payments, or financial incentives from Rao’s, Walmart, their affiliates or any other person or entity for comments or links in this article.