Spaghetti squash is a mild and delicious squash to roast up to tender perfection, easily shredded with a fork to create delicate spaghetti-like strands. Super flavorful when combined with caramelized onions, mushrooms, spinach, garlicky tomatoes and white beans, this spaghetti squash recipe is a vibrant and healthy fall meal that's both cozy and nourishing!
A Scrumptious, Veggie-Filled Meal Fit for Autumn
One of my favorite things about shopping in the markets during the fall season is seeing the plethora of gorgeous pumpkins and squash available to not only decorate the house, but to cook with!
I use different varietals of squash for many different recipe preparations, and love how the color of this amazing produce matches the colors often found in the autumn sky at sunset, wonderfully vibrant orange and yellow hue.
While there's so much to appreciate about squash, from their delicate flavor to the quick and easy preparation yielding tender, sweet-savory flesh, I really love how each has a slightly different texture that lends itself to a specific and unique presentation, perfect for all sorts of scrumptious add-ins that create a healthy meal.
Spaghetti squash is a terrific squash to cook with, and if you've never tried your hand at preparing it, you're in for a real treat with this vibrant spaghetti squash recipe with sauteed veggies.
Roasted up to tender perfection, the spaghetti squash flesh is then fluffed or shredded with a fork to create strands that are spaghetti-like (hence its name), excellent to be combined with other flavorful ingredients for a complete meal both comforting and nourishing.
This baked spaghetti squash recipe, brimming with lots of flavorful veggies such as caramelized onions, mushrooms, spinach, garlicky tomatoes, white beans plus a crispy sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs, is rich in flavor and color. It is hands down my new, favorite healthy fall recipe, and I have a hunch you'll love it too!
How to Make Spaghetti Squash a Cozy, Vegetarian Meal
Roasting spaghetti squash in the oven until mildly sweet and delectably tender is the optimal way to prepare it, in my opinion.
The best way to do this is to slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, then brush each cut-side and cavity with a bit of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, plus a few other seasonings for additional flavor. Then, the squash is placed cut-side down onto a baking sheet to roast.
After about one hour, the spaghetti squash will be soft and tender with a bit of golden caramelization around the edges, which equals lots of flavor.
Once the spaghetti squash is tender, using a fork to gently scrape and sort of “fluff” the flesh into its spaghetti-like texture is easy, making it ready for any other add-ins or preparations you'd like.
For my spaghetti squash recipe here, I like to combine the “spaghetti” strands in a pan with a variety of fragrant sauteed veggies adding loads of texture and light, garlicky flavor. I also add some creamy white beans for a little more depth and extra protein.
I then divide this mixture evenly between my reserved squash shells (which I leave a bit of a border in to keep the shape better), and top with a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs for added flavor. For a completely vegan presentation, I leave off the parmesan cheese, or even sub a vegan cheese here. But if I'm craving a touch of real, savory cheese, then I'll add a small sprinkle of some real-deal, grated parmesan.
Here's a glance at how I bake my spaghetti squash and prepare my recipe: or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I cut my spaghetti squash in half lengthwise using a sharp knife, and carefully scoop the seeds out to clean the cavities (I typically leave the stringy bits behind—they just add to the texture); I then brush a bit of olive oil over each cut-side and cavity, and season them very well.
- Next, I place the spaghetti squash onto my prepared baking sheet cut-side down, and bake at 400° for about 1 hour, or until easily pierced with a skewer.
- I allow the squash to cool just enough so that I can handle it (about 20-25 minutes), and then using a fork, I gently fluff/scrape the flesh into spaghetti strands and scoop it out of the shells, reserving the shells and leaving a bit of a border on the bottom and the sides to help the shell keep its shape.
- To prepare my sauteed veggies, I begin by caramelizing my onions, followed by sauteing my mushrooms; those are removed from the pan, and then I add some cherry tomatoes to blister and soften/split for a few moments; next, some garlic is added in, and then I add back to the pan the onions and mushrooms, followed by the spinach and white beans.
- I add in a drizzle more olive oil to make the mixture flavorful and juicy, and then toss the spaghetti squash with that until combined and well-coated with the veggies.
- To finish, I spoon equal amounts of the this mixture into each reserved squash shell, top with some crispy-toasted breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, plus some optional grated parmesan, and serve. (Alternately, this could be served in bowls rather than the reserved, roasted squash shells.)
Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Veggies
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 2
Nutrition Info: 605 calories (per spaghetti squash half)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out and discarded
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic, divided use
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly into semi-circles
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, whole
- 4 large cloves garlic, pressed in garlic press
- Small squeeze of lemon (about 1-2 teaspoons)
- 2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup navy or great northern beans (from a can, drained and rinsed)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, vegan or regular (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400°, line a medium baking sheet with foil, and lightly mist with cooking spray.
- On a work surface, drizzle about 2 tablespoons worth of the olive oil over both of the cut-sides of the spaghetti squash halves, then sprinkle over a generous amount of salt (squash needs it!), black pepper, the 1/2 teaspoon of granulated onion, 1/2 teaspoon of the granulated garlic, plus the Italian seasoning, equally.
- Place the two squash halves cut-side down onto the baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, or until easily pierced with a small paring knife and tender.
- While the spaghetti squash roasts, make your toasted breadcrumbs: add the panko breadcrumbs to a small bowl, add a sprinkle of salt, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic, plus 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and use a fork to combine. Place a small pan over high heat, and once hot, add the seasoned crumbs to it, stirring constantly until golden-brown and toasted, about 1-2 minutes; set the toasted breadcrumbs aside.
- Once the spaghetti squash has baked, allow it to cool (cut-side up now) for about 20-25 minutes; once cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the squash flesh downwards away from the skin, fluffing it a bit to create the spaghetti strands. Scrape most of the flesh from each shell, leaving just a little bit around the edges to help maintain the shape of the shell, and place the scraped spaghetti squash strands into a large bowl to hold. Reserve the shells.
- To prepare your sauteed veggies, place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (I use my cast iron skillet for this), add a good amount of olive oil to it, and add in the sliced onions with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Allow those onions to caramelize for about 12 minutes, stirring them frequently, until golden; once golden, drizzle in the balsamic and stir to combine, then remove the onions from the pan and place into a bowl to hold.
- To that same pan, add in a touch more oil as needed, then add the sliced mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute the mushrooms until golden-brown, about 7 minutes, then remove those from the pan and add to the onions to hold.
- Now to the pan add the cherry tomatoes along with the small squeeze of lemon, and cook those for a few minutes until blistered, softened and beginning to break down and become juicy; once broken down, add in the garlic, stir until aromatic, then add back into the pan the onions and mushrooms, plus the spinach and the white beans, and stir to combine, adding more olive oil as needed to create a silky consistency.
- Turn off the heat under the sauteed veggies, check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed, then add the spaghetti squash strands into the pan, gently tossing with tongs to combine them very well with all of the delicious sauteed veggies.
- To serve, divide the spaghetti squash/veggie mixture equally between the two reserved squash shells, sprinkle over some of the toasted breadcrumbs and parsley, plus some parmesan cheese (if using), and serve hot. (You can serve 1 full, stuffed spaghetti squash half per person, or cut each in half to make 4 smaller portions.)
Tips & Tidbits for my Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Veggies:
- Choose firm, medium-size spaghetti squash: When choosing spaghetti squash, opt for those that are more of a medium size rather than too large. These are easier to work with and place onto a baking sheet to roast, and the roasted shells make for the perfect vessels to serve the finished dish in.
- Reserve the roasted squash shells for serving: I like to serve the recipe piled into the reserved spaghetti squash shells for a festive look, but you can also scrape all of the flesh out of the shells and discard them, and serve the recipe in bowls or on plates, as you would pasta, instead.
- One spaghetti squash makes for 2 large portions, or 4 smaller portions: While I have this recipe listed as serving two—this makes for 2 larger portions. You could easily serve 4 people a smaller portion by cutting the stuffed spaghetti squash shells in half once filled.
- Add some protein: This recipe is vegetarian, but you could easily add in some lean ground beef, turkey or chicken to saute before adding the veggies, for a bit more texture.
- Vegan spaghetti squash: You could easily make this recipe completely vegan by leaving out the optional grated parmesan cheese.