Spaghetti Squash and Chicken
Spaghetti squash is a fabulous way to get a nutrient dense, delectable dish on the table under the camouflage of spaghetti. The pickiest eater in my family loves spaghetti squash and asks for it often. One cup provides antioxidants, vitamin B6, manganese, niacin and, fiber plus it is only 42 calories (Link 2022). Being interested in health and nutrition for over 30 years and currently pursuing a masters in integrative nutrition, this dish has become a staple in our family.
To choose spaghetti squash you want to look for a firm yellow squash with a stem intact and no soft spots or bruising. The yellow skin of the squash tells you that there is beta carotene in this vegetable. This powerful antioxidant can aid your cells from incurring damage thought to lead to cancer (webmd 2022). It is also easy to store. If you have a darker spot in a pantry or cupboard it can last for a few weeks (Cleveland Clinic 2021).
This recipe was passed along to me a few years ago from my sister in law Cassie and has become a staple in our family.
- The most difficult thing about this wondrous vegetable is slicing it evenly down the middle. Keeping the cut even will help the steam cook inside the squash while it is in the oven. If the cut is jagged the squash does not cook evenly. All is not lost if you do end up with a jagged cut, adding some foil tightly around the squash can fix it.
Once the slice is accomplished you will be ready to start making this crowd pleasing recipe.
2) It is important to cover the spaghetti squash with olive oil inside and out. If you would like to dash a bit of salt and pepper inside the squash at this stage you can, but that is optional.
3) You will want to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Next place your freshly sliced squash upside down and and place them in the oven. They will cook for 45-50 minutes.
4) (optional, if you are vegetarian, skip to step 6) While that is cooking you can take your 2 chicken breasts dice them up and add a little olive oil to a baking dish with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Set aside.
5) Once your squash is finished remove it from the oven and quickly place your chicken in the oven then turn down the oven to 375 degrees. The chicken will cook for 15-20 minutes. Remember the smaller the cuts, the quicker the cooking! The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees. Cutting the to the middle of the largest piece and ensuring it is white and not pink works too.
6) After the squash has cooled down for 5- 10 minutes carefully flip them over and add some spaghetti sauce. For the sake of limiting ingredients and time store purchased sauce will work here. Truff spaghetti sauce is organic, gluten free and vegan.
*You can use a homemade sauce here or another family favorite from the store, just be sure to glance at the nutrition information you so you don’t add unnecessary preservatives, saturated fats and sugar.
7) The chicken should be done after twenty minutes, its internal temperature should be 165 degrees. Carefully remove it from the oven and added to the squash.
Being a recovering cheese addict this is the step when a well proportioned amount of parmesan cheese is added to the top of the lovely squash but that is optional. We prefer to eat strait out of the squash and use our forks to pull up the lovely noodle like squash.
Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
Yield: 4 servings Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45-50minutes Total Time: 1hour 20 minutes
- 2 spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- 1 bottle of Truff spaghetti sauce*
- ½ c grated parmesan
- 2 chicken breasts* (optional)
- salt and pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (set aside).
- Slice each squash carefully with a very sharp knife down the middle.
- Spread olive oil with a brush if you have one covering the squash inside and the outside. Add a dash of salt and pepper if you would like.
- Place in the oven and set timer for 50 minutes.
- If cooking the chicken, you can now dice it into 1-inch squares and place into a baking dish with olive oil. Set aside until squash is done.
- After 50 minutes remove squash from the oven and put the chicken in, turning the oven down to 375 degrees. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes
- Once the squash has cooled down (about 10 minutes) flip them over with tongs and add the Truff sauce with freshly grated parmesan. The heat from the squash is usually hot enough to warm the sauce but if you prefer you can put the squash back in the oven with the chicken.
- When the chicken is finished you can remove and add to the spaghetti squash
*Alternatives for chicken is adding ground turkey by simply browning it on the stove.
*Alternatives for Truff sauce can be another preservative free sauce from the store or better yet a homemade sauce.
Healthy Family Project (n.d). Everything to Know About Spaghetti Squash. https://healthyfamilyproject.com/produce-tips/spaghetti-squash/
Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash. (2021, Sept. 19). WebMD. https://healthyfamilyproject.com/produce-tips/spaghetti-squash/
Cleveland Clinic (2021, Apr.16). Everything to Know About Spaghetti Squash. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/everything-to-know-about-spaghetti-squash/