This keto-friendly, gluten-free bowl is packed with roasted spaghetti squash, tangy beef barbacoa, cheese, herbs and finished with sour cream and crispy bacon lardons. It’s the perfect meal prep recipe!
This is one of those “follow on” recipes I’ve mentioned countless times on here. Essentially taking base recipes like my oven-roasted spaghetti squash and instant pot beef barbacoa and putting them together to make a new recipe or “follow on recipe” as I like to call it.
This recipe I make quite often though I do mix up the proteins as I’ll use chicken or pork barbacoa as well. Honestly, I go with whatever protein I have on hand.
Let’s Make This Bowl!
This is a great recipe if you do meal prep OR if you have lots of leftovers and want something delicious and new to turn them into. So with this recipe, there are some assumptions made:
- You already have cooked spaghetti squash
- You already have cooked barbacoa
Don’t have either yet? No worries, I’ll link the recipes below plus give a brief overview in each section. But first, let’s get the ingredient:
- Cooked Spaghetti Squash
- Cooked Beef Barbacoa with 2-3 Tbl of cooking liquid for each bowl
- Shredded Cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, Cotija, etc)
- Chopped Cilantro
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- Crispy Bacon lardons *optional but if you have it, why not add it!
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
With this particular squash, you have two options to cook it – oven-roasted or the instant pot. Yes I know you can use the microwave but I’m not a fan of the texture of it when it’s made in there.
Oven-Method – This takes about 30-45 minutes to roast. I find you’ll get a bit more depth of flavor from this (even though spaghetti squash has little to no flavor already) BUT if it’s hot/humid where you are, skip the oven and use the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Method – This takes about 8 minutes while under pressure with a quick release. It’s a great time saver and doesn’t heat up your kitchen. The trade-off is that you don’t get that ‘roasted veggie’ taste
Once it’s cooked, carefully make the spaghetti strands by using a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. Since the strands wrap around the squash horizontally use your fork as a rake and go around the inside of the squash to make the longest ‘noodles’.
Making Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa
This is one of those recipes that I make about 4 pounds of meat at a time. It’s perfect for leftovers and freezes beautifully.
I’ve linked the full recipe in this post and recipe card but to highlight it you’ll
- In a blender, you’ll add stock, seasonings, tomato paste, herbs, and spices until combined.
- To the IP you’ll brown your meat on all sides to form a nice crust.
- To that, you’ll add some bay leaves, chilies, and the liquid you made earlier. Pressure cook it for about 65 minutes and let it perform a natural release.
- Carefully remove the lid, fish out the bay leaves, shred the beef, add some cilantro, and place it back in the cooking liquid.
Pretty easy, right?!
Assembling your barbacoa bowl
Truthfully, there’s no right or wrong way to plate this or layer it. This is how I did it as I wanted a double layer of cheese.
- Add about 1-2 cups of cooked, warmed spaghetti squash to a bowl.
- Add some shredded cheese on top. Again – as little or as much as you like.
- Next, add about a cup of warmed beef barbacoa with 2-3 Tbl of the cooking liquid
- Add more shredded cheese on top. Because, well… it’s cheese!
- If the cheese doesn’t melt immediately, simply microwave the bowl for 30 seconds or until the cheese is all melted and gooey.
- Next, top with chopped cilantro and sour cream.
At this point, it’s time to dig in! Unless…
I mean truth be told, I already had cooked up Sriracha Spiced Bacon so I just chopped that up and added it on top as I wanted just a tad more heat and well, bacon.
Substitutions and Add-Ins
- Meats: If you didn’t want beef, you could use pork carnitas or chicken barbacoa instead
- Vegetarian: You could use all the same ingredients as used in the beef barbacoa (minus the stock) and saute or roast up some portabello mushrooms with that spice mixture
- Veggies: You can add raw or roasted veggies to this. I’ve added shredded carrots and zucchini, minced red onions, bell peppers, avocados
- Garnish: If you want to spice it up a bit, skip the plain sour cream or Greek yogurt and add Lime Crema. It’s CRAZY good!!!
- To 4 bowls, add 2 cups of spaghetti squash on the bottom followed by 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.
- Evenly divide the beef barbacoa among all 4 bowls followed by 1/4 cheese on top.
- If necessary, microwave for 30 seconds or until the cheese is melted. Top with cilantro, sour cream and bacon*.
- If make this for meal prep, keep the cilantro, sour cream and bacon on the side and add when you’re ready to eat.
Keywords: oven roasted spaghetti squash, instant pot spaghetti squash, how to make spaghetti squash, noodle substitute, keto-friendly noodles, buddah bowl, beef barbacoa bowl, meal prep meals