This Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash is a healthy low-carb dinner idea loaded with chicken, cheese and pesto sauce—it tastes just like pasta!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Spaghetti squash – you could also make this recipe using acorn squash, but it doesn’t have the same spaghetti-like strands.
- Olive oil – or another neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
- Chicken breasts – swap out for another protein such as turkey, pork or beef. To make this recipe vegetarian, leave out the chicken altogether.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Red onion – white or yellow onion would also work, but will have a milder flavour.
- Red pepper – substitute for another veggie of your choice like tomato, mushrooms, carrots, olives, spinach, kale, broccoli, eggplant or zucchini.
- Store-bought pesto – try using another sauce like tomato sauce or even alfredo sauce.
- Bocconcini cheese – fresh sliced mozzarella would also be yummy in this recipe.
How to make stuffed spaghetti squash
Step 1: Cut and bake the squash.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 min.
Step 2: Cook the chicken and veggies.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add chicken and sautee fo 3-4 min until lightly browned, seasoning with salt & pepper. Add red onion and red pepper, sauteeing for another 3-4 min. Toss mixture with pesto, then remove from heat.
Step 3: Scrape the squash.
Around this time, spaghetti squash should be coming out of the oven. Once cooled slightly, scrape down the sides of squash with a fork.
Step 4: Add the stuffing.
Add chicken mixture and then top with sliced bocconcini cheese.
Step 5: Bake in the oven.
Bake in oven for 10 min or until cheese is melted.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy!
Cooking spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot
If you want to make this pesto spaghetti squash even quicker, you can use your Instant Pot to cook the squash.
- Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot works when the water creates steam and builds pressure inside the pot.
- Place the trivet inside the pot. While you need the water, you don’t want your squash to sit in it and get soggy.
- You don’t even need to cut the squash. Just pierce it a few times with a knife so that it vents and put the whole thing on the trivet.
- Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. This will perfectly cook at three pound squash. If yours is especially big, you can add another three minutes to the cooking time.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for at least ten minutes.
- Remove the squash. Cut it in half and remove the seeds. Then you can scrape it into noodles.
Frequently Asked Questions
The spaghetti squash will act as its own bowl in this amazing dish. Just grab a fork and start eating! I love the flavours of the pesto, chicken and cheese in this pesto spaghetti squash, but feel free to get creative with the filling options. You can try out different veggies, protein and sauce options until you find a combo you love.
This spaghetti squash pesto recipe has protein and lots of veggies, so it’s a complete meal all on its own. If you want something to serve on the side, you can serve it with a side salad, roasted or steamed veggies, or even some crusty bread.
This spaghetti squash with pesto is a great low-carb alternative to your traditional pasta dish. The spaghetti squash is low in carbs, but still has the same noodle-like strands as spaghetti. It’s a win-win!
Storing and reheating
This pesto spaghetti squash will last in the fridge for up to 5 days in glass bowls or meal prep containers. I’d recommend reheating it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit until warmed through. You can try reheating it in the microwave, but the squash will likely get soggy.
Can you freeze spaghetti squash?
If you want to prepare more than one spaghetti squash at a time, you can freeze what you have left. The best way to do this is to cook the squash and use your fork to create noodles. Remove the noodles from the shell and freeze them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for up to 8 months. I recommend you let the strands sit in a colander before storing them to let any extra moisture drain off.
Spaghetti squash is best if you let it thaw completely before reheating. Once it’s reheated, you can use it in any recipe, like this spaghetti squash with pesto dish!
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Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on packing this spaghetti squash up for lunch.
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- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash
- 2 spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb chicken breasts, diced (usually about 2 chicken breasts)
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 medium sized red onion, sliced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup store bought pesto
- 1 cup bocconcini cheese, sliced
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 min.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add chicken and sautee fo 3-4 min until lightly browned, seasoning with salt & pepper. Add red onion and red pepper, sauteeing for another 3-4 min. Toss mixture with pesto, then remove from heat.
- Around this time, spaghetti squash should be coming out of the oven. Once cooled slightly, scrape down the sides of squash with a fork. Add chicken mixture and then top with sliced bocconcini cheese. Bake in oven for 10 min or until cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!