Have you ever tried chickenetti (also known as chicken-etti)? This chicken and spaghetti dish is usually combined with a cream-based soup, cheese, and veggies. What you get is a big, comforting casserole that can serve a crowd! In my spin on the classic chickenetti, I’m stuffing spaghetti squash with Buffalo chicken. It’s lower calorie and low-carb but still comfort food at its finest!
There are some days where all I want is an easy dish of delicious comfort food. These low-carb, Buffalo-style chickenetti boats definitely tick all of the boxes. And aside from their good taste, they’re offering up plenty of veggies and high-quality protein.
Each serving of this low-carb chickenetti has only 16g of net carbs but a whopping 53g of protein. (Woohoo!) Additionally, it’s an excellent source of vitamin A from provitamin A carotenoids.
But health stuff aside, let me tell you, these are SO GOOD. I took all of the flavors I love from my favorite Air Fryer Buffalo Wings and used them here:
- Chicken bathing in a buttery, vinegary Buffalo sauce? Check!
- Ranch dressing (plus some blue cheese thrown in for good measure)? Check!
- Carrots and celery? Yes, they are here too!
And what would any chicken-etti recipe be without pasta? Here the “spaghetti” is some pleasantly stringy spaghetti squash. This swap will help to increase your veggie intake and reduce the amount of refined grains in your diet.
One half of a spaghetti squash makes just the right portion for one adult. You get a chickenetti boat all to yourself, no need to share!
Admittedly, I am biased when it comes to my love for this recipe. However, I’d say swapping the cream of whatever soups and processed cheese food in regular chickenetti for Buffalo chicken is a win.
Tips for Having Success with this Low-Carb Chickenetti Recipe
There are lots of good things happening with this Buffalo chicken-etti. However, some of the swaps made here means we have to do things differently compared to classic chicken etti.
For one, most casseroles made with wheat-based pastas freeze well. However, spaghetti squash is a different story. It can change in texture and become extremely watery in the freezer.
This recipe only serves four, but if that will leave your family with leftovers, I recommend cutting the recipe in half. Since each boat uses half of a spaghetti squash, you’ll have leftover cut squash if you make an odd number of servings. If you, like me, have an odd number of people in your household, someone can get an extra chicken-etti boat!
An alternative for leftovers would be to keep leftover squash, Buffalo filling, and dressing separate in the fridge. Reheat the squash and filling and assemble the meal once you are ready to eat. It won’t be exactly the same as it was on the first night, but the texture should be ok this way.
I felt like the process of preparing the spaghetti squash chickenetti is best explained through visuals. I took lots of photos for this one! Additionally, I made a recipe video for you that you can check out below.
In some areas, fresh spaghetti squash isn't available year-round. If that's the situation where you live, there’s a boxed spaghetti squash that can be substituted. I talked about this product several weeks ago with my email subscribers.
Psst… You can be the first to know about these fun food finds too. All you have to do is subscribe to my weekly email list! You’ll get a weekly digest of the recipes as well as learn about what’s new in our garden and on our plates.
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let's get cooking!
Chickenetti (Low-Carb, Buffalo-Style!)
- 2 spaghetti squash (mine weighed a total of 2 lbs, 9.5 ounces/1.18 kg)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 6 stalks celery, diced
- 2 lbs. ground chicken (907 grams; 98% lean)
- ¾ cup Frank's RedHot sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons ranch dressing with no added sugar
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (57 grams)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Split your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds of the spaghetti squash. An ice cream scoop works well for this. (P.S. Spaghetti squash seeds are edible and can be roasted exactly as you would roast pumpkin seeds. Don't throw them out! They make a great high-energy snack for kids.)
- Put the squash cut-side down in a large metal roasting pan. Fill the pan with about ½-inch (1.27 cm) of water. (This ended up being about 6-7 cups of water.)
- Place the squash in the oven and cook until tender. This will take approximately one hour, so work on the rest of the dish while you wait.
- Add the shallot, carrots, and celery to a glass baking dish. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Put this glass baking dish in the oven with the squash and roast for 45 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes.
- Add the final 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a cast-iron skillet. Brown the ground chicken over medium heat. It will take 10-15 minutes. Break the chicken into crumbles with a spatula while it cooks.
- While the chicken cooks, melt the butter together with the Frank's RedHot in a small saucepan to make the Buffalo sauce.
- Once the chicken is browned, stir in the Buffalo sauce. Let the mixture thicken for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the oven-roasted carrots, celery, and shallots, and set aside.
- When the squash has finished cooking, remove the squash halves from the pan of water. Fluff the spaghetti squash strands with a fork, as I demonstrate in the video below.
- Fill each spaghetti squash boat evenly with the Buffalo chicken mixture. Drizzle each boat with 1½ tablespoons of ranch dressing and sprinkle each with ½-ounce (14 grams) of the blue cheese. Enjoy!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). One serving of this low-carb chickenetti is 622 calories with the ranch and blue cheese, or 482 calories without it. Thus, just skip the ranch and blue cheese for a level 1 recipe. Volume eaters will likely want to serve this entrée with additional non-starchy veggies. You could add side salads with low-oil, low-calorie dressing. Alternatively, you could add another non-starchy veggie to your plate. I added some raw jicama sticks with tajin- yum! Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.
If you’re visiting because you love easy chicken recipes, don’t miss the Caprese chicken! On the other hand, those looking for low-carb squash noodle recipes may enjoy the turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles recipe.
Have you ever tried stuffing a spaghetti squash? If so, what’s your favorite stuffed spaghetti squash recipe? I hope that my low-carb Buffalo-style chickenetti becomes a new family favorite in your household!