Photo: Colin Price; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Following the keto diet? Here’s everything you want and need to know about your favorite winter squash varieties.

Arielle Weg
September 14, 2018

You’re a professional at making all the keto dinners, mastered the art of ordering keto at a sit-down restaurant, and even slip in a keto-friendly Starbucks drink or keto fast food lunch on a rushed day. But just because you have to pass on the pumpkin spice lattes this season, doesn’t mean you have to axe all the fall flavors. It’s a little sad to give up on every winter squash recipe out there just because winter squash is too high carb—or is it?

If you’re unfamiliar with the ketogenic diet it’s essentially a diet that encourages eating low carbohydrate but high fat at every meal. Your carbohydrate limit varies based on your dietary needs, but it typically varies between 20-50 grams per day. So, we dug into the nutrition to find winter squash recipes that are totally keto-approved.

Are winter squash actually keto-friendly?

You’ll want to avoid acorn squash at all costs. Though the fall favorite has highest fiber count, it has approximately 20 net carbohydrates per cup, which is way too high for most keto dieters. Comparatively, butternut squash has just about 15 net carbohydrates per cup, making it acceptable for some keto dieters. Our true winner is the famously low-carb spaghetti squash, with has just under 8 net carbohydrates per cup. In summary, you shouldn’t make any winter squash a regular occurance on your keto-menu, but every so often it’s an ingredient you can enjoy while still staying on track.

How to make keto spaghetti squash recipes

Spaghetti Squash already has a strong reputation for making our low-carb eating dreams come true. Whether you make it in a slow cooker, whip it up in the Instant Pot, or opt to simply bake it, you’ll love the spaghetti-like texture. Try these keto-approved spaghetti squash recipes this season.

Pan-Seared Shrimp with Rosemary Spaghetti Squash

This 20-minute meal has just 17 net carbohydrates. Plus, the cherry tomatoes and juicy shrimp add heft to the low-carb dish.

Get the recipe: Pan-Seared Shrimp with Rosemary Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi

Your favorite pasta dish gets a low-carb facelift, leaving you with just 18 net carbohydrates. Flavorful shrimp, spinach, an garlic take center stage in this keto-friendly dinner.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi

Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayonnaise

Cheesy spaghetti squash is formed into patties and dipped into a spicy, cream sauce for just under 17 net carbohydrates. It’s a lunchtime keto miracle.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayonnaise

What about Butternut squash?

If your low-carb eating plan has some wiggle room, you may want to squeeze in some butternut squash recipes for a little fall flavor. Here are keto-approved butternut squash recipes to add to your dinnertime rotation.

Steak with Mixed Olive Tapenade, Butternut Squash, and Green Beans

The small squash serving size, meat, and vegetable combination keeps carbs in check— about 15 net carbohydrates per plate. Plus, the super high fat and protein content will keep you full until morning.

Get the recipe: Steak with Mixed Olive Tapenade, Butternut Squash, and Green Beans

Baby Kale, Butternut, and Chicken Salad

Pack this up for lunch or save it for a filling dinner, because this bright, main-dish salad has only 16 net carbohydrates.

Get the recipe: Baby Kale, Butternut, and Chicken Salad

Warm-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup You heard that right. This keto-friendly butternut squash soup clocks in with just 16 net carbohydrates per bowl.

Get the recipe: Warm-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Steak Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

At 16 net carbohydrates you get leafy greens, creamy cheese, filling butternut squash chunks, and meaty bites of sirloin.

Get the recipe: Steak Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

Pork Chops with Butternut Squash, Escarole, and Walnuts

This perfect weeknight dinner has just 15 net carbohydrates—plus you can make it all in a single skillet.

Get the recipe: Pork Chops with Butternut Squash, Escarole, and Walnuts

Grilled Trout with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Celery Leaf Pesto

The herby pesto is the perfect accompaniment to a forkful of butternut squash. With just under 15 net carbohydrates per plate, this will be a new weeknight favorite.

Get the recipe: Grilled Trout with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Celery Leaf Pesto

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