This is my now favorite low-calorie marinara sauce. Spaghetti with marinara sauce has always been one of my favorite meals for dinner, or lunch. But my original quick and easy “go-to” spaghetti and marinara sauce wasn’t low-calorie or low-fat enough for my new healthy eating, so I had to change the ingredients. To reduce the calories and fat, I removed the heavy olive oil and replaced it with grape seed oil. Then,  I substituted squash for pasta.  The recipe is even faster and easier than before as there is no pasta to boil (such a pain to get it just right = al dente). The sauce is still as flavorful as my original recipe and the spiralized yellow squash makes the dish fresh, fun to make and eat.

If you are watching your fat and calories, like I am, you should try this recipe! See how quick it really is. I promise you won’t miss the pasta. Besides, who wants the extra 200-220 calories of traditional pasta when one medium yellow crook neck summer squash is only 24 calories and 4.9 carbs compared to your average spaghetti pasta that is 43.2 carbs! No thanks! Helloooo summer squash!

Low-Fat and Low-Calorie Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce (Spiralized Yellow Squash)

Serves 5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Traditional spaghetti recipe that is fast and easy, low-fat, low-calorie, freeze-able, can be adapted for vegetarians and is gluten free. This recipe is less that 365 calories per serving. I used the Paderno Spriralizer to acquire the noodle effect.


  • 1 Medium yellow sqush (crook neck squash)
  • 2-1/4lb Roma Tomatoes (about 12) (diced in 1/2' cubes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (plus more for topping)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt (to taste)


Healthier recipe

Spaghetti with my home-made marinara sauce has always been one of my favorite meals and staples for dinner, or lunch. But when I made the commitment to change my food choices Monday through Friday, my quick and easy "go-to" spaghetti and marinara sauce wasn't going to make the cut for a guiltless meal choice because of the traditional oil and semolina pasta ingredients. I was set on making a low-calorie/low-fat marinara sauce with a pasta substitute.

Yellow Squash = Spaghetti Pasta!

To make this a healthier, low-fat and low-calorie meal I exchanged the olive oil for grape seed oil, as it has about 1/3 less fat than olive oil. Then I replaced the traditional heavy carb and calorie pasta for a spiralized yellow squash. I used the Paderno Spiralizer, but there are other brands out there to try, too. Spiralizing is very addictive! Spiralizing obviously changes the texture of the squash and I love eating it in this form. I have convinced two other co-workers to pick one up as they have been checking out my soup and stir-fry's with my spiralized veggie lunches.

Part of being more conscious of healthier food and meals choices also includes portion control, I like that this recipe serves 5 and the sauce can be frozen for future meals for up to 3 months. Freezing 3/4 cup serving fits easily into an insulated lunch bag making lunch at work quick, easy and delish! My flight attendant friend takes individual frozen portions of the sauce, spiralizes a couple of squash and throws them into a plastic bag (or glass container) and takes them with her and heats them up in the hotel microwave when she "overnights." The squash travels well and stays fresh for few days. I will spiralize up to 3  yellow squash or zucchini's ahead of time for other meals I make as well for the week - lunch and dinners are a snap!





Step 1
Prepare a medium pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt and begin to simmer to a boil.
Step 2
Heat 3 tbl of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oregano, basil and red chili flakes and combine in the oil. Quickly add the minced garlic (do not allow the garlic to burn) stand back and carefully add the diced 1/2" tomatoes into the pan. Watch for hot oil and water splatter.
Step 3
Dice Roma tomatoes in 1/2' cubes.
Step 4
Increase heat to high and add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are softened and reduced in size and sauce has thicken, about 10 minutes.
Step 5
Stir to fully combine. Reduce heat to low and keep sauce warm.
Step 6
Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water and bring water to a simmer.
Step 7
Add the zucchini to hot water and cook for about 1 minute or desired crispness or softness.
Step 8
Spiralize your yellow crook neck squash.
Step 9
Place cooked zucchini in a medium bowl and measure 3/4 cup of meat sauce over the zucchini.
Step 10
Toss to coat and plate.
Step 11
Add 1 tsp of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


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