Simple but satisfying, this stuffed spaghetti squash is packed with vegetables and vegetarian sausage for a nutritious weeknight meal. This recipe uses simple ingredients and is super easy to customize!
This stuffed spaghetti squash is a comforting, straightforward, and nourishing vegetarian recipe that celebrates the spaghetti-like texture of spaghetti squash.
I have a clear allegiance to butternut squash, what with all of the recipes that I have for butternut squash tacos, pasta, and soup, but it's time to pump the brakes on butternut squash and take some time to appreciate spaghetti squash, another wonderful variety of winter squash.
I'll be the first to admit that spaghetti squash only vaguely reminds me of spaghetti, and that vegetables are not a replacement for pasta. That being said, spaghetti squash has an awesome texture and it's a great way to add extra vegetables to dinner.
- Straightforward ingredients: This recipe uses storebought pasta sauce, veggie sausage, shredded mozzarella, and a handful of fresh vegetables and seasonings to make a well-rounded but simple meal.
- Versatile: As always, there are a lot of ways to customize this meal by adding additional vegetables, choosing your favorite sauce, or making it dairy-free by using vegan mozzarella.
- Easy to make: Making stuffed spaghetti squash is really easy. While the squash roasts, just saute the filling ingredients then combine with the shredded spaghetti squash.
- Spaghetti squash: One small spaghetti squash makes two servings, or two halves. Try to choose squash on the smaller side or each serving will be physically very large.
- Mozzarella cheese: I use shredded mozzarella cheese. To make this recipe dairy-free, simply use a vegan alternative.
- Vegetarian Italian sausage: There are a lot of options to choose from, but for this recipe I used Gardein sliced Italian sausage. Tofurkey and Field Roast also make delicious vegan sausages. Try to choose one that is Italian seasoned.
- Marinara sauce: Choose a jar of marinara sauce or your favorite red pasta sauce. I usually do a garlic-flavored sauce, but really any kind works.
- Bell pepper and onion: I use sweet yellow onion and red bell pepper. These both add flavor and extra vegetables. White onion and other colors of bell pepper also work.
How to roast spaghetti squash
Start by slicing the spaghetti squash from stem to base using a very sharp knife. Be careful, I think that this is the hardest part of the recipe!
Use a spoon or grapefruit spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and stringy bits from each side of the spaghetti squash.
Drizzle with just a dash of olive oil. Use clean hands or a pastry brush to fully coat the entire squash. Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper.
Roast at 400 F for 35-40 minutes. Test the squash for doneness by shredding the inside with a fork. If the inside shreds easily and without much force, it is ready.
For this recipe, shred as much of the inside of the spaghetti squash as able without damaging the outside skin.
A note on texture: I cook spaghetti squash to the equivalent of pasta's "al dente". That means it still has a bite and texture to it. This is usually at ~35 minutes. For softer spaghetti squash, continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes (40-45 minutes total).
Spaghetti squash filling
While the spaghetti squash roasts, start prepping the filling.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the veggie sausage, diced pepper, and diced onion. Cook until softened and golden, about 6-8 minutes.
Add in the minced garlic. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until aromatic.
Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar. Pour in the marinara sauce.
Let simmer over medium-low heat until the spaghetti squash is ready. Add in the shredded spaghetti squash, stirring to combine.
Distribute the spaghetti squash filling between each squash half. Top with mozzarella cheese.
Return the stuffed spaghetti squash to the oven to cook until the cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes. I like to turn on the broiler for just a minute or so to make a bubbly golden topping. If you do this, keep an eye on it as the broiler works quickly.
Expert tips and variations
- Cooking time: Shredded spaghetti squash can be served with a firm texture or a softer texture. Firm texture is ~35 minutes of cooking, whereas 40-45 yields softer squash. I recommend testing the squash at around 35 minutes and adjusting the cooking time based on personal preference.
- Extra vegetables: It's easy to amp up the veggies in this recipe. Broccoli, mushrooms, and carrots can all be sauteed alongside the peppers and onions.
- Other protein options: Canned chickpeas, baked tofu, or baked tempeh also work well here.
- Non-vegetarian proteins: While this is a vegetarian recipe, it works just as well with non-vegetarian protein options. Just make sure to cook the protein through before adding it to the spaghetti squash.
- Serving size: The spaghetti squash makes a great serving visual, but one size does not fit every appetite. Depending on the size of the squash used, you may end up with a pretty big portion per squash half. This recipe makes up to 6 servings and can be served on a plate instead of in a boat.
Watery spaghetti squash occurs when it is oversalted, which is why I recommend just salting to taste. Salting squash draws out natural moisture, resulting in watery strands of squash.
Spaghetti squash becomes mushy when it is overcooked. To avoid overcooking the squash, follow the recommended cooking times and remove the squash from the oven when it still feels firm on the inside. The squash should easily shred when a fork runs through it.
Yes, spaghetti squash has a thick skin that makes it difficult to cut. Make sure that you are using a sharpened knife and using safe knife skills when cutting spaghetti squash. Place a dampened cloth beneath the cutting board to keep it from sliding around.
- Leftovers: Best within 3-4 days. Cover with foil or store in a closed container in the fridge.
- Reheating: The easiest way to reheat these is to scoop out the filling and reheat individual servings in the microwave. To reheat in the oven, tent the top with foil and heat at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until the inside is heated through.
- Freezing: I have not tried freezing the filling or the entire squash. Because spaghetti squash is so delicate, I think it would lose quality if frozen.
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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
- 4 small spaghetti squash
- 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil or other neutral oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or other neutral oil
- 9 ounces sliced vegetarian Italian sausage see note #1
- 1 medium red bell pepper medium diced
- 1 small sweet yellow onion medium diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 24 ounces marinara sauce or pasta sauce of choice
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half from stem to base. Use a spoon to fully remove the seeds and stringy bits from each half.
- Drizzle each half with just a dash of olive oil. Use clean hands or a pastry brush to fully coat the entire squash with oil. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper.
- Place on a large baking sheet cut side up. Roast at 400 F for 35-40 minutes. The squash is ready when the inside easily shreds with a fork. Taste for texture and add 5 minutes additional time for softer shreds.
- To easily shred the squash, use tongs to hold the spaghetti squash in place and use a fork to shred as much as the inside as able.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the veggie sausage, diced pepper, and diced onion. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until softened and golden, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and continue cooking until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar. Pour in the marinara sauce and remaining seasonings.
- Let simmer over medium-low heat until the spaghetti squash is ready. Add in the shredded spaghetti squash, stirring to combine.
- Distribute the spaghetti squash filling between each squash shell. Top with mozzarella cheese.
- Reduce oven heat to 350F. Return to the oven to cook until the cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes. Optionally, once the cheese is melted turn on the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and golden (make sure to keep an eye on the cheese while brioling).
- Remove from the oven and garnish with freshly chopped parsley (optional). Enjoy!
- Sausage: I use Gardein Italian sausage slices, but Tofurkey and Field roast also make delicious Italian-style sausage.
- Spaghetti squash texture: I cook spaghetti squash to the equivalent of pasta's "al dente". That means it still has a bite and texture to it. This is usually at ~35 minutes. For softer spaghetti squash, continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes (40-45 minutes total).
- Serving size: The spaghetti squash make a great serving visual, but one size does not fit every appetite. This recipe makes up to 6 servings and can be served on a plate instead of in a boat.