How to cook chicken spaghetti squash with cheese and homemade pesto sauce.
Oh, it’s that time of the year again. It’s that time when we use pumpkin and squash in almost every recipe we make. And by far, one of the most popular autumn recipes is chicken spaghetti squash.
But often, baked chicken stuffed spaghetti squash seems a bit bland, doesn’t it?
I mean, maybe it’s just me but I like my dishes punchy, full of flavor and character.
So I had to make a change, a bit of an improvement, let’s say. I gave it a blondie’s touch, which is… cheese and pesto of course. With these two ingredients and some Italian seasoning, I easily turned it from ‘Meh’ to ‘Yummyyyy’.
And I will show exactly how I’ve done it in just a bit. But first I would like to give you a few useful details about what we’re going to cook today.
I found a lot of people don’t yet know what spaghetti squash is, what to serve with it, or how to cook it. And I would like to address all this before firing up the oven. So let’s go through the theory first, shall we?
So let’s go through the theory first, shall we? I promise not to keep you long.
What is Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash is a fruit of the Cucurbita family which also includes pumpkin, melon, and cucumbers. Its skin and flesh color is yellow/orange and it has many large seeds in the center.
Although it is sometimes referred to as ‘pumpkin’ or ‘gourd’, they are quite different.
The spaghetti squash is smaller, with a lower water content and a more dense flesh. This makes it more tasty and flavorful.
It’s also sweeter than pumpkin and according to Yotam Ottolenghi, it’s more versatile as you can make it creamy, spicy, sweet, crunchy or smooth.
Now that you know what it is, let’s see how to serve it.
How To Serve Spaghetti Squash
There are two ways of serving it:
- From the baking dish. After roasting it, gently scrape the inside with a fork to get a pile of yummy spaghetti. Then place this flesh on a baking dish with sauce and cheese, bake for an additional 15 minutes and serve.
- As a Spaghetti Squash Boat (like I did today). Use a fork to separate and fluff the spaghetti strands, then add the stuffing in, top it with cheese and bake to melt.
What To Serve With Spaghetti Squash
For today’s recipe, I stuffed it chicken, ricotta, mozzarella, and pesto. This way, you don’t need to serve it with anything else.
But as I said above, one of its best features is versatility because it goes perfectly with so many ingredients, especially sauces. So you need to try more combos to find your favorite.
Here are a few delicious ideas to serve with spaghetti squash:
- Lean turkey Bolognese sauce
- Tomato sauce with crispy bacon and cheese
- Carbonara style
- Lasagna stuffing
- Ragu sauce
- Garlic cherry tomatoes and shrimp
- Garlic mascarpone, bacon & walnuts
- Spicy tuna and capers sauce
- Parmesan, butter and freshly cracked pepper
And if you’re vegan (I didn’t forget about you guys), then you can serve it with:
- Beans Bolognese sauce
- Vegan pesto sauce
- Spicy tomato sauce
- Tomato sauce with capers and olives
- Vegan carbonara
- Puttanesca sauce
- Sun-dried tomato pesto sauce
- Creamy roasted red pepper sauce
Even though I made it with chicken, cheese, and pesto, don’t be afraid to go out of the recipe and experiment with any of the above.
Try them and let me know how you did.
More Chicken Recipes:
Moving on, let’s take a look at how healthy it is.
How Healthy Is Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash is full of nutrients like folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta-carotene (source: Wikipedia).
It has a high nutritional value and it is low-calorie and low-carb, which makes it a great substitute for pasta. A 1-cup serving has about 42 calories.
It goes well with many diets, especially vegetarian. So it’s safe to say that it’s healthy and cooked right it’s super delicious too.
How To Shred Spaghetti Squash
First, you need to cut it in half, scrape the seeds out, season and grease it with olive oil, then place it on a baking tray cut side down.
After baking it, remove from oven and let it chill for a few minutes (5 min tops).
Then, gently scrape the inside with a fork and separate the spaghetti-like strands.
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash With Chicken, Cheese, and Pesto
There are a number of ways to cook the Spaghetti Squash. You can bake, boil, steam or microwave it. Also, you can roast the seeds and serve them just like pumpkin seeds as they are very similar.
But if you are going for the Chicken Spaghetti Squash you’ll need to bake it. I stuffed and baked it with chicken, mozzarella, ricotta and homemade pesto and it came out crazy delish. The homemade pesto was a great flavor booster which made it incredibly tasty.
Even though it takes about an hour to cook the chicken spaghetti squash, it’s really easy. Just follow the recipe and instructions below and you’ll make it in no-time.
This dish a great idea for any lunch, dinner and even parties.
And here are a few useful tips:
- Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the squash. Larger ones will need more roasting time to soften. So keep an on it and when it gets all softened and browned that’s when it is ready for the next step.
- The easiest way to cut it is to pierce the skin a few times with a knife and microwave it for a minute or two before slicing it.
- To release the flesh from the skin, gently scrape the inside with a fork.
Now we’ve gone through the theory, know everything about it, so it’s time for some action. Let’s fire up the ovens and cook the Chicken Spaghetti Squash.
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Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash Recipe
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes - cut in halves
- 1/4 cup grated or fresh mozzarella - to use as topping
- a small bunch of fresh chopped parsley or basil to garnish
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken - (you may use rotisserie chicken, any leftovers, or just cook it as desired)
- 1/4 cup homemade or store-bought pesto
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/2 tsp Italian spice
- salt & pepper - to your taste
- 1/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle a bit of oil on it to prevent it from sticking to the tray.
- Place it on a baking tray, face-down and bake for about 30-40 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on its size. When the flesh is fork tender then you'll know it's ready for the next step).
- Meanwhile, mix all the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and keep in the fridge until the squash is cooked.
- Once the squash is roasted, remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes or until it's easy to handle.
- Use a fork to gently scrape the squash into spaghetti-like strands.
- Add the stuffing in, sprinkle with tomatoes and shredded mozzarella.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh chopped herbs and enjoy!