Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is one of our favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash! This crazy colorful recipe is easy, cheesy, and full of flavor!

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash :: veggies have never tasted so good!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for spaghetti squash season. It’s embarrassing. The second I see that carefully constructed mountain of squash stacked at the market I lose my mind.

I try to play it cool, telling myself that I’ll only buy one or two this trip, then find myself cradling half a dozen in my arms like a dog trying to fit ALL THE TENNIS BALLS in their mouth.

I’m told it’s quite a sight.

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash :: veggies have never tasted so good!

What’s also a sight, is this uber-vibrant recipe. It’s a total Fall fiesta in every bite. Feel free to use whatever veg you have on hand and if you get a little overzealous with the stuffing and toppings? Fret not! The leftovers may or may not taste fantastic spooned directly into your face. Or you can save it for an epic omelette the next morning. We sadly didn’t make it to leftover status so you know where you’ll find me…

Buying MORE SQUASH!

Ready for the recipe? Let’s do this!

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

You will probably notice at first glance that the instructions are a bit wordy. Fear not! It’s mostly me explaining details and various prep options so you aren’t left with a ton of guesswork. The recipe itself is really easy and super customizable! I made it as an update to [this] super delicious recipe and both have quickly become family favorites around here!

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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Total

Yield 4 servings

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is one of our favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash! This crazy colorful recipe is easy, cheesy, and full of flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-small spaghetti squash [6-7 inches long]
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup pesto, extra to taste
  • 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach, torn/chopped
  • 1 extra large carrot, shredded
  • 1 medium red bell pepper pepper, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz shredded cheese
  • 1-2 TBSP fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. For easy cutting, feel free to stick each squash in the microwave for 5 minutes to soften it up just a tad. The knife slides through way easier this way!
  3. Next grab a lipped baking sheet or a rimmed baking dish.
  4. To prevent sticking, rub the cut side of the squash with a teeny bit of olive oil or simply place a little water inside your baking dish. Both work great!
  5. Place inside a baking dish or atop rimmed, lined baking sheet [some liquid will escape] and roast face-down for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  6. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of your squash, and the once rock-hard exterior of the squash will be visibly softened.
  7. The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for a few days if you'd like to meal prep and plan ahead for a speedier dinner. You can also make the whole shebang one weekend and pop it in the fridge until about 30 minutes before dinnertime. Wind up with a little bit leftover? It reheats marvelously the following day! Now let's get back to the recipe!
  8. While the squash roast, cook chicken via your favorite method or squirrel away leftovers from the previous night's dinner. I poached mine.
  9. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and toss with pesto.
  10. Set aside.
  11. In a small pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil to medium-high heat and sauté your bell pepper and carrot for a few minutes until tender. Next add the spinach and pesto chicken and stir to wilt the spinach.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Next add your cheese to the hot mixture. Mix a little over half the cheese in with the chicken and veggies and save the rest for topping.
  14. To stuff the squash you can simply pile on your pesto chicken and veggies or fluff the squash first with a fork before stirring in all you yummy mix-ins so there's yummy squash in every bite!
  15. Top with the rest of your grated cheese and cover the baking dish in foil, leaving a little room at the top [like a tent!] so the cheese doesn't stick.
  16. Bake at 350 degrees F for around 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  17. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or basil leaves and dig in!

Notes

Though this dish has a few components that are all cooked differently, don't fret! You can cook the chicken while the squash roasts and the veggies while the chicken poaches and, before you know it, the kitchen will be clean and you'll have food in your face. Love it!I poached my chicken [I love how tender and juicy it gets] but you can literally use any method of cooking chicken that your happy heart desires, seriously! Bake it, grill it, slap it in a slow cooker, snag leftover chicken from last night's roast or even pick up a rotisserie at the store... anything goes!

Courses Main Dish

Cuisine American

special diets and swaps

brontosaurus chefs: Whip this up vegetarian-style with one easy swap — skip the chicken! You can load up on extra veggies (which is always welcome around here!) and you’re good to go! Next up you can try my Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash too! DEEELISH!

vegansaurus chefs: pile on your favorite pesto and top with shredded veggie cheese (like Daiya) and/or your choice of toppings

Gluten-free? You’re good to go with this sassy stuffed squash!

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash :: veggies have never tasted so good!

Hold up, I think I’m going to need to get a little more up close and personal here for a second…

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash :: veggies have never tasted so good!

Much better! I don’t like there to be even a few inches from my face and that cheese! I could live in it!

Pretend that’s not weird.

Ooh! And while we’re at it – pretend you aren’t a fan of eating your veggies out of another veggie for a moment, or maybe you just need to trick someone that is. I have the perfect solution for even the most skeptical of eaters…

Spaghetti Squash Casserole!

Cheesy Pesto Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash :: veggies have never tasted so good!

Simply use a fork to liberate the tasty spaghetti squash noodles from their shell and pile them high with all the tasty toppings from the recipe above. Top it with cheese, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees F until hot and bubbly. In approximately 20 minutes you’ll have the most epic veggie casserole!

I’ve literally never in my life seen my husband scarf so much spaghetti squash. This recipe is magic. Make it.

Yes, now.

Even More Stuffed Spaghetti Squash:

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Comments

  • Ahhhhhhhh! So dreamy! Loved it. I cooked my Squash in the Instant Pot and I’m thinking next time to make things even easier, perhaps one could cook the chicken and Squash in the Instant Pot at the same time! I think chicken breast is about 8 minutes so you could just cut it in half and do it for 6 and quick release (for chicken breast qr is allowed. While that cooks fry up the vegetables and it’s ready!

  • Lori

    This recipe is delicious! Easy to make and tons of flavor! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Marla

    I made this tonite and this recipe is definitely a keeper. I switched up the veggies to broccoli, red pepper and onion because thats what i had on hand and it was truly delicious. A cream sauce would be good as well. Thanks for sparking my imagination!

    • So happy to hear it Marla, thank you! 🙂 The possibilities and combinations are truly endless with this one!

  • Kathleen

    This is in the oven as I write this. I made stuffed spinach and mushroom chicken breasts and needed to use up the leftovers so I cut them up and mixed with basil pesto and used a combination of shredded Colby and Monterey inside and on top used cheddar and mozarella mixed so hoping g they will turn out. I did my usual method of doing the squash in the microwave and when cool enough took a fork and made spaghetti strands and as I stuffed them I mixed around as you said with the squash so can not wait. We Love spaghetti squash so always looking for new ideas. Thank you so much!! I also added some fresh spinach but not as much.😄

  • Mary Ann

    I have made this several times. A winner. I have used several different cheeses and I also use a whole bag of spinach, it wilts. A must try.

  • Lina

    Hi. A little confused. You say to preheat oven to 400 degrees but then say to bake at 350 degrees for 20 min.
    Which one is it 400 or 350?

    • Hi Lina! You roast at 400 and then when you take the squash out from roasting you flip it to 350. This way when you return the squash to the oven it isn’t as hot and the chance of over-browning the cheese is lessened. 400 is really high for cheese and it browns fast without letting the rest of the ingredients cook though if that makes sense? Let me know and we can chat more!

  • Char R

    I made the spaghetti squash dinner Friday night and it was yummy! As soon as I found the recipe I had to go to the store to buy spaghetti squash because I just HAD to try it! (The funny part is, I already had 2 other varieties of winter squash that I could have used to make something else and avoid the shopping trip, but I guess the wonderful picture made me so obsessed that I had to have it for dinner that evening! We DO so eat with our eyes first, don’t we?)

    I couldn’t find a small enough spaghetti squash, so I scooped half of the baked squash into a casserole dish and the rest back into the two squash “bowls,” then split the rest of the ingredients to make a batch for dinner and a casserole for a second meal – so it was a bonus to get 2 meals. I’ve done spaghetti squash with pesto before and love it, but the added veggies and chicken make it over the top!

    How do you poach your chicken? Do you use your Instapot?

    • So thrilled you loved it Char! Hooray for bonus meals — it’s pure magic when that works out!

      I used to poach the chicken stove-top by bringing water or broth to a boil with the chicken already in it, then covering and reducing the heat to the lowest setting for 15-20 min depending on the size of the chicken breast used.

      Once I got the Instant Pot I 100% switched to poaching in that because it’s so fast and hands off! Total game changer! I’ve been making shredded chicken in it a lot lately too so I have it on hand for recipes throughout the week 🙂

  • This looks yummy. Can’t wait to try this recipe!!! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe, Jenn!

  • Luv a Lab

    This was AMAZING!! My husband took one bite and pronounced it “heavenly”. We’ve really enjoyed many of your recipes but this is definitely in the top 3. Thank you!!

    • Woot Woot! So thrilled y’all loved it! 🙂

  • Roop Kapadia

    I have been on the hunt for a good spaghetti squash recipe to try out for the first time and your recipes have won my heart! I am a vegetarian so I was wondering what I can substitute the chicken with besides tofu?

    • So excited you’ll be giving it a go! I would add sautéed mushrooms and onion instead of the chicken – delicious!

  • Rebecca Turner

    Do you have nutritional information for this? Like how many calories per serving?

    • Hey Rebecca! It’s going to vary based on how much cheese/chicken/veg you decide to (I know I personally love playing with recipes and adding extras of my favorites when I cook) so you’re best bet is to pop it into My FitnessPal with any additions/swaps you make to get the closest read. Each spaghetti squash boat/half should be around 400-500 calories as a base range, depending on what you end up using. Hope this helps! xoxo

  • Sue Poulin

    thanks so much for this!!! How did you break it down in terms of the fix? Ihanks, Sue

    • Hey Sue, thanks! Are you referring to 21 day fix? If so it should fit really well into the eating plan, I’d eyeball the containers and measure as you go, as you can customize this one easily to fit your needs/allowances for the day! <3

      • Sue Poulin

        thanks Jen, Yes, I”m doing the 21 day fix. Made this for dinner last night and it is awesome!!!

  • JENNIFER TRAVIS

    Just made you recipe! Only things I did differently, I added caramelized onion, fresh garlic and chopped tomato! I also made it into the casserole since we were feeding 8. 3 large Spaghetti squash and some calculations to nearly double the recipe….. HEAVENLY!

    • Caramelized onion FTW! Love your additions and I’m so so glad you loved the recipe! Thanks Jennifer! 🙂

  • Katie

    This.is.AMAZING! I, mean. I never, ever make comments–it’s just that good.

  • Elizabeth

    Had a nice organic spaghetti squash that I needed a good recipe for & found yours. Just got finished making this for tonight’s dinner & I loved it! My husband is on a long phone call & is looking forward to it when he is through! Used chicken from a roasted chicken I made earlier this week as well as some leftover shredded mozzarella from eggplant parmesan I made this week, too. The only thing I added in addition to your listed ingredients was some carmelized organic sweet onion. What a nice recipe! Really – thank you so much for sharing this – I know how much time it takes to post recipes & take pix & post them as well, so I appreciate your time & generosity!

    • Jenn

      You’re so sweet Elizabeth thank you! Caramelized onion sounds like the most glorious addition! <3

  • Rose Marolf

    I have made this twice now! I love it! It’s easy and delicious! So love the blend of the flavors. The last time I made it, I added mushrooms and red onion. Mmmm. My new favorite!

  • laura

    I made this last night as an experiment while my hubby was out of town and it was SO GOOD I’m going to make it for him tonight! This is the second spaghetti squash “boat” recipe I’ve tried and this is by far and away the winner. The only thing I did different was to used jarred roasted sweet red peppers instead of fresh because that’s what I had on hand. I used whatever cheeses I had on hand as well, gouda, asiago, and shredded Mexican. All good!

    • Jenn

      Thanks Laura! So so so glad you enjoyed it! The more variety of cheeses, the better! YUM!!!

  • Amanda

    OOMMGGG Made this tonight and WOW- so incredibly delicious! Thanks for such an awesome recipe! Even my spaghetti squash hater husband LOVED it. So good!

  • Debbie Craig

    Thank you for posting the recipe,looking forward to making this.
    I am wondering what kind of pesto you used?
    Thank you again ?

    • Jenn

      Thanks Debbie! When I don’t puree my own (my basil plant is slacking lately – eek!) I ADORE Buitoni brand pesto. My whole family will gladly scarf it – even my very “particular” toddler! <3

  • Randy Giroux

    Came out awesome!!!! Perfect recipe. I left it uncovered at the end to brown the cheese.

    • Jenn

      Yay! Thank you Than you 🙂 I’m a sucker for bubbly cheese with crispy brown spots on top – good call!

  • Cathy

    Dry poaching the chicken would combine the cooking of the squash & the chicken. You can even cook a few extra chicken breasts, if you want. They’re moist & great for sandwiches & other options.

    • Jenn

      Awesome Cathy! I’ll google dry poaching! I poach it in broth or water often but I’m always up for a new method -thanks! 🙂

  • Jamie

    Is this recipe meant for 2 people or 4 people?

    • Jenn

      Hey Jamie! The recipe as written serves 4, everyone would get their own half of the spaghetti squash boat. My husband and I usually eat one half each and then have the rest for leftovers the next day or serve the leftovers up casserole style 🙂

  • Helyn

    I made this for dinner and my husband and I loved it going to share this recipe with others we pressure cooked our chicken breast and it was delicious

    • Jenn

      Thank you so much Helyn! I’m so glad you both loved it! Thanks for stopping back in and leaving me a nice note 🙂

  • janet

    what kind of shredded cheese?

    • Jenn

      Hey Janet! Any kind you’d like! I grated some fresh mozzarella and cheddar for but any cheese you love would be fantastic with this, pre-shredded or hand grated! I’ve tried it with gouda and parmesan before too and that was fantastic as well 🙂

  • Anita

    Thank you for another amazing recipe! I made it and all of us who ate it absolutely LOVED it!

    • Jenn

      Thanks for coming back to tell me Anita! I’m so stoked you loved it! <3

  • WHOA this looks INCREDIBLE! Pinning!

  • For whatever reason, I never bought a spaghetti squash before this fall, but I’ve fallen in love…now the problem is finding more recipes for how to top them off! This looks fantastic, and I love all the vibrant colors! I’m looking forward to giving this a try.

    • Jenn

      Thanks so much! I hope you absolutely adore it! <3

  • This is probably one of the dishes where you don’t have to wash dishes to eat cheesy food. Looks delicious!

  • Beth Stagdon

    Luscious looking. Tomorrow night’s dinner and my husband will love it. I will scarf it up.

    • Jenn

      Thanks Beth!! Hope y’all adore it as much as we do! xo

  • This is beautiful!! I love your creativity for variations on a simple baked spaghetti squash. Maybe, just maybe, three of three kiddos will leave the table satisfied… 😉

    • Jenn

      Thank you Sarah! It totally rounds out a baked squash into a filling meal. I can barely make it through half before tapping out and then get uber excited for leftovers – hope your kiddos adore it! Keep me posted! <3

  • Squash season is my FAVORITE! I had the worst time finding spaghetti squash when we moved here but now it’s everywhere and I can’t even handle it. I think I went through 3 last week. By myself.

    I have to make this!

    • Jenn

      Haha you’re my hero =) I need to pick up a few more because they keep getting scarfed!

  • Spaghetti squash season is my favorite, too. I bet i could get my guy to try this…

    • Jenn

      Thanks Kelsey! I think you could! My husband is super skeptical about spag squash and I got him to devour two of these! I’ve also won over a few squash hating friends too — good luck! <3

      • anneke de vries

        Hi Jen
        What kind of cheese do you use?

        • It works great with so many varieties! Mozzarella and Parmesan (some of each) are my favorite 🙂

          • anneke de vries

            Thanks Jenn
            I look forward to making it!
            Have a great weekend:)

          • You as well! xoxo

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