Say hello to the best spaghetti squash of your life!
Skip the starchy noodles and layer all the tasty components of a cheesy pesto chicken lasagna into a perfectly tender baked spaghetti squash. I LOVE this delicious gluten-free dish!
I almost don’t want to even bother with an intro, story, or musing of any sort because, seriously, I don’t want to slow you down. I expect all of you to fling yourselves into the kitchen immediately and get to work on this bad boy. Gah! It’s SO good.
Oh hello vegetarians, I see you’re giving me some serious side eye right now! Not to worry! You’re still required to haul your veggie-loving butt into the kitchen as well. Sub meaty mushrooms [buttons or bellas] for the chicken and maybe add a few sauteed onions and you’re good. to. go.
Um, I wasn’t joking.
Print the recipe below and get this in your face.
Please and thank you!
Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash:
- 1 medium-large spaghetti squash
- 2 cups chopped chicken, cooked via your favorite method!
- 1/4 cup homemade or store bought pesto
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 an egg [use the white or the yolk!]
- 1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, packed
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp Italian spice blend [like Mrs. Dash]
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chopped tomato, plus extra for topping
- 6 slices of fresh mozzarella or 2-4 oz freshly grated mozz
- fresh parsley and/or basil to garnish
- optional: you can absolutely use your favorite red sauce in place of the chopped tomato or go all out and use a little of both!
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- To prevent sticking, rub the rim of the squash's flesh with a teeny bit of olive oil or simply place a little water inside your baking dish. Both work great!
- Place inside a baking dish or atop rimmed, lined baking sheet [some liquid will escape] and roast face-down for 40-60 minutes.
- Cooking time will depend on size and the once rock-hard exterior of the squash will be visibly softened with a tender inside.
- The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days awaiting it's stuffage with your lovely lasagna ingredients. You can also make the whole shebang one weekend and pop it in the fridge until about 35 minutes before dinnertime. Wind up with a little bit leftover? It reheats marvelously the following day! Now let's get back to the recipe!
- If they aren't already in one, add your cooked squash to baking dish.
- Cook chicken via your favorite method or squirrel away leftovers from the previous night's dinner to use in the lasagna.
- Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and toss in 1/4 cup of pesto.
- Set aside.
- Next whisk up an egg yolk [or grab the whites from one large egg] into your ricotta and add freshly grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, dried parsley, salt, and your favorite Italian seasoning blend.
- Set aside.
- Line each cooked spaghetti squash with chopped tomato or a thin layer of your favorite red sauce!
- Top each with your seasoned ricotta; pile it on!
- Next add your pesto chicken [it'll start to look mile high at this point, just go with it!] and sprinkle with some extra chopped tomato.
- Top with sliced or grated mozzarella and cover the baking dish in foil, leaving a little room at the top [like a tent!] so the mozz doesn't stick.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for around 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and/or basil leaves and dig in!
- Leftovers taste phenomenal the next day and can be reheated via oven or microwave; up to you!
Now I know you’re looking at that bake time and thinking “ain’t nobody got time for that!” But here’s the thing: you can bake the squash in advance.
Pop it in the oven the night before while you curl up with a book or wrestle tiny tykes into bed, just set a timer and walk away! The squash itself can be prepped up to 3-4 days in advance if needed [I do this all the flipping time, promise!] so don’t stress it one bit. You can also prep the chicken and pretty much everything else ahead of time while you’re at it.
Stuffed squash is one of my favorite fall faceplantables, and I almost always prep everything the previous day so that when the next day kicks me in the face, I have dinner ready for the oven. It makes the house smell absolutely scrumptious and is super convenient to have chilling in the fridge for a busy night. So there you have it, all time excuses have been squashed [how embarrassing!] and we’re good to go!
tip: if your sharpest, longest knife seems no match for a giant spaghetti squash, have no fear! You can pierce the skin a few times with your knife, much like you would with a potato, and microwave the squash for a minute or two before slicing!
Also, if you’d like a larger stuffing to squash ratio, feel free to scrape your spaghetti squash with a fork to release a small pile of yummy squash noodles and mix it with your pesto chicken before adding it back into the squash to bake with the mozzarella. Anything goes when stuffing a squash, now have at it!
Stick a fork in me. I’m done.