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9 Nutritionist-Approved Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Natalie Krafft

7 min read

March 16, 2024
An image of two spaghetti squash halves cut open, with spaghetti squash flesh on a wooden chopping block with a fork sticking through it
An image of two spaghetti squash halves cut open, with spaghetti squash flesh on a wooden chopping block with a fork sticking through it

Spaghetti squash, a winter vegetable known for its stringy, pasta-like texture when cooked, offers a low-carb, gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, spaghetti squash is a versatile and delicious veggie that can support digestive health and even aid in weight management.

If you’re in need of some lower carb meal options or simply looking to add variety to your weeknight dinners, check out these nine spaghetti squash recipes approved by nutritionists. From hearty mains to tasty sides, discover unique ways to incorporate this versatile vegetable into your meals.

1) Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale

This spaghetti squash recipe is a simple and healthy option due to its abundance of nutrient-rich ingredients. Nutritionist Stephanie Etherington, RD, CD, CDCES, says, “This recipe requires minimal prep time, and it’s packed with fiber and other important nutrients from the spaghetti squash, kale, and chickpeas—making it a satisfying and wholesome meal.”

Additionally, the use of extra-virgin olive oil as a source of healthy fats can contribute to better heart health and overall well-being.

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • Pinch of chile flakes
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups chopped kale leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2) Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

A picture of a spaghetti squash pasta dish, from a recipe from Handle the Heat
Image: Handle the Heat

This spaghetti squash spaghetti recipe offers a nutritious alternative to traditional pasta dishes, featuring spaghetti squash as a low-carb, vitamin-rich base. Nutritionist Payton Baker, RD, MS, LMNT, adds, “The turkey sausage also provides a great protein boost while keeping the dish light and low in carbs, making it a glucose-friendly option. To change things up, you could even swap the sausage for homemade meatballs!”

Ingredients

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups marinara or other pasta sauce
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian turkey sausage
  • Grated parmesan cheese

3) Spaghetti Squash Soup

This spaghetti squash soup recipe is a nutritious and hearty meal that incorporates lots of nutritious, whole-food ingredients like kale, carrots, and Italian sausage. With the use of unsalted chicken broth as a base, it offers a flavorful yet low-calorie option suitable for those prioritizing both taste and health.

As nutritionist Emma Simpkins, MS, RDN, adds, “This soup screams comfort food, and you can enjoy it knowing it's good for your soul and your health. It's packed full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including some powerful anti-inflammatory foods like kale, garlic, and onion!"

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 small carrots
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 cups thinly sliced kale
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

4) Spaghetti Squash Boat

An image of spaghetti squash boats n a dark green plate with two silver forks alongside, from Taste of Home
Image: Taste of Home

This spaghetti squash boat recipe stands out as a healthy option by incorporating lean ground beef and an abundance of vegetables, delivering a hearty dose of nutrients and fiber without sacrificing flavor. 

“Unlike many pasta dishes, this recipe doesn’t rely on heavy sauces and excessive cheese, making it suitable for anyone seeking a balanced and nutritious meal,” says nutritionist Christie Borders, MS, CNS. 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced fresh basil

5) Spaghetti Squash Pesto

Our experts love this spaghetti squash pesto recipe. It offers a healthy twist on traditional pasta by replacing carb-heavy noodles with nutrient-rich spaghetti squash. 

As nutritionist Amanda Donahue, MS, RD, CD, explains, “This flavorful recipe includes a healthier homemade pesto sauce than you might find in a restaurant and is alsoa lighter option for those watching their calorie intake.”

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 15 large basil leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium tomato

6) Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake

An image of a dish of lasagne made with spaghetti squash, surrounded by salad and bread, from the Tasting Table
Image: Tasting Table

If you're looking for a lower-calorie take on traditional lasagne, this spaghetti squash lasagna bake recipe is the perfect option. It substitutes pasta sheets with nutrient-dense spaghetti squash, reducing carb content while providing essential nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6.

Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP, says, “By swapping pasta for spaghetti squash and including ricotta cheese and spinach, which contain protein and fiber, this recipe can be a nutritious and satisfying option that's lower in calories and may be more blood sugar-friendly than classic lasagna.”

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
  • ⅓ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Chopped fresh parsley

7) Spaghetti Squash Feta and Tomato Boat

This spaghetti squash feta and tomato boat recipe offers a nutritious twist on the feta pasta bake that went viral on TikTok.

“This recipe is more glucose-friendly since it uses spaghetti squash as a low-carb alternative. It includes added fiber that pairs nicely with protein-rich feta cheese and tasty cherry tomatoes,” nutritionist Kimberly Vair, MS, RDN, 200-RYT, tells us.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 8 ounces feta cheese block
  • 20 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 5-6 chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper

8) Thai Style Spaghetti Squash

Image: Art from my Table

Try a unique alternative to traditional Thai noodles with this delicious Thai-style spaghetti squash recipe, which uses spaghetti squash as its nutrient-rich base.

Nutritionist Kimberly Vair, MS, RDN, 200-RYT, explains why she loves this, telling us, “With a flavorful combination of fresh vegetables, protein-rich peanut butter, and a touch of spicy sriracha sauce, it makes for a delicious meal that’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.”

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 5 ounces snap peas
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ cup green onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoons sriracha sauce

9) Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti Squash

This Tuscan chicken spaghetti squash recipe swaps traditional spaghetti noodles with fiber-rich spaghetti squash. “This recipe is high in protein, fiber, and other important nutrients, making it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious, balanced meal while eating more veggies,” says nutritionist Katrina Larsen, MS, RD, CDCES.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 ounces baby spinach
  • Fresh parsley

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

If it’s your first time cooking spaghetti squash, not to worry—it’s simpler than it seems! To start, preheat your oven to 400°F, and then carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise using a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Drizzle each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Once cooked, use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands from the squash. Now you're ready to enjoy your perfectly cooked spaghetti squash as a healthy alternative to pasta or in your favorite recipe!

Types of Squash

When it comes to squash, the options are abundant, with each type offering its own unique flavor and texture. Spaghetti squash, of course, is known for its stringy squash strands that mimic spaghetti noodles.

Other types of winter squash range from delicata to acorn and butternut squash and pair well with savory and sweet ingredients. Kabocha squash, with its vibrant orange flesh and sweet flavor, is a staple in many Asian cuisines. 

Is Spaghetti Squash Good for Weight Loss?

Spaghetti squash has emerged as a popular choice among health-conscious people, especially anyone looking to shed some pounds. But is it truly effective for weight loss? The answer is—it depends!

Spaghetti squash is low in calories and carbohydrates, with 31 calories and 7 grams of carbs per cup, making it an excellent choice for anyone on a weight loss journey.  While many factors can influence weight loss, incorporating spaghetti squash as a low-calorie substitute in dishes like lasagna, noodle bowls, or other pasta recipes might be useful for facilitating weight loss.

However, it's essential to remember that weight loss isn't solely dependent on dietary choices alone. Factors such as overall caloric intake, exercise, and individual metabolism also play crucial roles in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. For additional guidance, consider consulting a qualified nutritionist to determine the best way to incorporate lower-calorie foods into your diet to support your health goals.

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Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP

Reviewed by: Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP

Victoria began her career in the functional medicine space in 2015. She has extensive experience interpreting labs and supporting weight loss, gut imbalances, and chronic migraines. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from Missouri State University.