Southwestern Spaghetti Recipe
Southwestern Spaghetti Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Southwestern Spaghetti Recipe

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Chili powder and cumin give a mild Mexican flavor to this colorful one-skillet supper. With chunks of fresh zucchini, it's a nice change of pace from typical spaghetti dishes. —Beth Coffee, Hartford City, Indiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES:5 servings
Quick Diabetic Exchange Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES: 5 servings


  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 package (7 ounces) thin spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • 6 small zucchini (about 1 pound), cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Nutritional Facts

One serving (prepared with lean ground beef and reduced-fat cheese and without salt) equals 340 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 676 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 24 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 lean meat 2 vegetable 1/2 fat.


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Remove beef and set aside. In the same skillet, combine the water, tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, salt if desired and cumin; bring to a boil. Stir in spaghetti; return to a boil.
  2. Boil for 6 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini. Cook 4-5 minutes longer or until spaghetti and zucchini are tender, stirring several times. Stir in beef and heat through. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 5 servings.
Originally published as Southwestern Spaghetti in Quick Cooking November/December 2002, p35

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Reviewed Jan. 18, 2015

"This recipe is quick, delicious and inexpensive. My whole family adores it. I like to add a little chopped green pepper, celery and onion to the ground beef or turkey, while it's browning. I also add a little sugar to the tomato sauce for flavor. The cheddar cheese is great, but my sister likes it with shredded mozzarella. So yummy! Been making it for years."

Reviewed Jul. 8, 2014

"I followed the recipe exactly and it was quite good. I will definitely make it again. So glad I found another way to make spaghetti (my husband's favorite)."

Reviewed Jun. 13, 2011

"Nobody liked this. I am giving it a three-star instead of a two-star because I did have to substitute tomato paste & water for the tomato sauce. That may have changed the taste somewhat."

Reviewed Jul. 12, 2010

"I did like this very much I liked having the zucchini for something different, but it is a little bland to me. It needs a bit more flavor. Next time I will add some more seasonings, but besides that it was good."

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