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Georgia's Winning Recipe: Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Bolognese

“Jackson heard that a classmate cooks once a week for her family and wanted to try cooking for us,” says Jackson’s mom, Nour. “He loves his dad's traditional spaghetti with sausage but wanted to try to make his own with more of a meat sauce. Since we try not to eat pasta often, we decided to make this with spaghetti squash instead. He added his favorite veggies, which include mushrooms, carrots, and our local staple, Vidalia onions, to a basic Bolognese sauce and substituted ground turkey for beef.” Jackson serves this with whole-wheat toast drizzled with olive oil, and mango for dessert.

Jackson Kelly, Age 8, is the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Georgia. 

Makes 6 Servings


  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato paste
  • 8 ounces water
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Sprinkle spaghetti squash with sea salt and Herbes de Provence, if using, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on a baking sheet or pan, cut side up, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 45 minutes or until the flesh can be scooped out with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick pan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and carrots. Sauté over medium heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly brown. Add the turkey and cook about 8 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, then simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. To Assemble: Scoop out the flesh of the spaghetti squash, divide amongst the plates, and top with the sauce and Parmesan (if desired). Serve with a slice of garlic whole-wheat toast. 

306 calories 17g fat 26g carbohydrates 18g protein