Spaghetti squash is an excellent alternative to standard pasta. With its unique texture, this food can be incorporated into many recipes. With only 42 calories and less than 0.5 grams of fat per cup, it’s an excellent and versatile substitute recipe base for those who are on weight management plans or avoiding gluten, notes Livestrong. Try it baked, with herbs and sauces, or in fritters for tonight’s dinner!
These seven recipes offer some delicious ideas for the preparation of a spaghetti squash dinner.
1. Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans
This is a wonderful method of preparation for those who enjoy their dinner with a spicy kick. Try serving the spiced meat of the squash in each half of the shell for an exceptional and unique presentation. The dish can be prepared one day ahead of time and preheated prior to serving. This recipe from Whole Foods yields four servings and takes about 45 minutes to complete.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- ½ cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange squash in a large baking dish, cut-sides down. Pour ½ cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Rake with a fork to remove flesh in strands, leaving the shell intact for stuffing.
For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add beans, corn and chili powder; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice, and salt; cook 1 minute until heated through.
Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center.
2. Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale
Spaghetti squash offers its own nutritional benefits, and it packs even more of a healthy punch when combined with kale, which is low in calories and high in vitamin and mineral content. The addition of chili powder and balsamic vinegar to this dish by Pioneer Woman gives it a tangy, zesty character. Recipe takes about 1 hour and 5 minutes to complete and yields eight servings.
- 1 whole spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- Salt And Pepper
- 2 bunches kale, stalks removed
- ½ whole onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp in the center and discard. Place the squash, cut side up, on a large baking sheet. Rub a little olive oil over the cut surface, then place the pan in the oven for 1 hour or until a fork is easily inserted into the squash.
While the squash is cooking, sauté the kale: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to turn color. Throw in the kale, sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and stir to saute until the onions are golden about the kale is partly cooked, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape the stringy squash out of the shell. Add the squash to a bowl. Mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil with the balsamic vinegar. Drizzle it over the squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add the chili powder. Toss to combine.
Add the squash to individual bowls, then top with a good amount of sautéed kale.
3. Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
This recipe from the Kitchn is a somewhat healthier twist on standard pasta carbonara, using the same cheesy formula with a less carb-heavy base. This is a wonderful and lighter way to appreciate the tastes typical of carbonara. You can make this dish ahead of time and refrigerate overnight. Recipe yields ten 1-cup servings and takes about 2 hours to complete.
- 3-pound spaghetti squash
- 8 ounces bacon (8 to 10 slices), diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 ¼ cups Parmesan cheese, or mix of Parmesan and pecorino, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Directions: Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half lengthwise with a sharp chef’s knife. Scrape out the seeds and seed flesh with a spoon and discard. Pour ½ cup water into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and place the squash cut side down in the water. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender.
In a heavy skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until the edges crisp. Add the onions and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk in the ricotta. Fold in the cooked bacon and onions, then 1 cup of grated cheese and the salt and pepper.
When the squash can be easily pierced with a fork, remove it from the oven and turn the heat up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the squash from the baking dish and let it cool slightly. Dump out any water left in the baking dish, wipe it dry and then grease it lightly with cooking spray.
Shred the inside of the squash with a fork into spaghetti-like strings and remove from the outer shell. You should have approximately 6 cups. Mix the squash strings into the egg and onion mixture. Spread in the baking dish and top with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes or until firm and golden on top.
4. Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Mushrooms and Spinach
This recipe claimed the grand prize in the Cooking Light Market Basket Challenge, and deservedly so. It’s a wholesome, creative, and comforting way to work lots of veggies into your dinner — excellent for a family meal or a special occasion. This recipe from Cooking Light yields six servings and takes about 2 hours to complete.
- 1 (3 ½ pound) spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 2 slices center-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Poblano pepper
- 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
- 1 ¼ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
- ½ cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Directions: Preheat broiler.
Cut poblano in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 5 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel and chop.
Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash halves cut side down in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add water to measure ½-inch deep. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Turn squash over; bake an additional 15 minutes or until tender; cool. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove strands to measure 6 cups. Keep warm.
Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Cool and crumble. Increase heat to medium-high; sprinkle chicken evenly with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to drippings in pan and cook 4 minutes; remove from pan.
Heat remaining 1 ½ teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook 3 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently. Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, reserved bacon, Poblano, garlic and Italian seasoning to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and cook 4 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add wine to pan and cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Add reserved chicken, chicken broth, tomatoes, and spinach to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly; stir in ¼ cup cheese. Place about 1 cup squash on each of six plates; top each serving with about 1 cup chicken mixture and 2 teaspoons remaining cheese.
5. Spaghetti Squash Fritters
These fritters are a crispy and delicious method of spaghetti squash preparation, if perhaps less nutritionally robust than a simple roasting process. They are a wonderful finger food bursting with herbs and spices, along with the rich and distinct flavor of added bleu cheese. This recipe from ABC’s The Chew takes about an hour and a half to complete and yields four servings.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt or Coarse Sea Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces bleu cheese, coarsely chopped or crumbled
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Canola oil for deep frying
Directions: Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Roast on foil-lined half sheet pan in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Let cool. With a fork scrape squash to remove long strands and place on a towel.
Wrap the spaghetti squash in a kitchen towel and wring as much liquid out of it as possible, discarding the liquid.
In a medium bowl, combine the squash spaghetti, sage, grated nutmeg, scallion, garlic, pepper, bleu cheese, and all but 1 teaspoon of the orange zest. Stir in the egg and flour and mix well until combined.
Add the canola oil to a large shallow pan — you want about ¼ inch, or enough so that when all the fritters are in the pan, the oil comes halfway up their sides. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Oil should be heated to 360-370 degrees Fahrenheit for frying.
Form fritters by hand or using a ¼ cup measure, and fry them in the hot oil in batches. Cook until the fritters are golden brown on each side, 4 to 6 minutes. After the fritters have cooked for a couple minutes add some fresh sage leaves, but be careful because they will pop. Fry sage leaves for a couple minutes and remove with fritters. Drain fried fritters on paper towels.
Transfer the fritters to plates and garnish with with reserved orange zest, fried sage leaves, and some coarse sea salt or kosher salt.
6. Spaghetti Squash with Parsley and Pecan Pesto
This recipe from Damaris Phillips of the Food Network gets its unique flavor from garlic, pecans, and a bit of lemon juice for extra tang. It makes a wonderful side dish for a classic pork entrée; it can be made ahead of time and reheated prior to serving. The dish yields 3 cup-sized servings and takes an hour and 20 minutes to complete.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 small heads garlic, plus 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 ounces pecans, toasted (about ½ cup)
- ½ bunch parsley, with stems, plus 1 tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
- ¼ cup grated Asiago cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub the cut sides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Cut the tops off of the garlic heads, exposing the cloves but leaving the heads intact. Set the heads on a large piece of foil, drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil to make a pouch and place on the baking sheet with the squash. Bake until the squash is tender and the garlic soft and roasted, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
When the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, press out the cloves and add them to a food processor along with the minced garlic, toasted pecans, ½ bunch parsley and ½ teaspoon salt. Pulse until the ingredients are pulverized. With the motor running, drizzle in the ¼ cup olive oil. Add the Asiago and lemon juice and pulse until just combined.
Shred the squash into a bowl using a fork and toss with ½ cup of the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.
7. Turkey Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash
This recipe from Martha Stewart is a simple but tasty spin on traditional spaghetti bolognese, featuring turkey as a leaner substitute to the beef alternative (chicken can also be used in place of turkey). The dish’s incorporation of carrot and celery makes it a fresh and nutritionally beneficial meal for the whole family. The dish takes an hour and 10 minutes to complete and yields four servings.
- 3 bacon slices, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 1 large carrot, diced small
- 2 small celery stalks, diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey breast or chicken breast
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes (from a 28-ounce can)
- Red-pepper flakes (optional)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 6 cups roasted spaghetti squash
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions: In a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender, 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon oil and turkey to skillet and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, 5 minutes. Add bacon, vegetables, tomatoes, and pinch of red-pepper flakes, if using, to skillet and bring to a simmer; cook until turkey is cooked through and sauce is thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over spaghetti squash and sprinkle with Parmesan.