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5-ingredient Pesto Spaghetti Squash Boats

These pesto spaghetti squash boats are an easy meatless meal filled with hearty quinoa and the bright, citrusy flavors of basil pesto. Made with only 5 ingredients!

A fork stuck into spaghetti squash filled with quinoa and pesto.

It's the first official work week of 2016. How are ya handling it?

I have to admit, it was pretty hard to sit down yesterday morning and get back into the work mindset. I just spent about 2 weeks away from my computer, my inbox was overflowing, I had tons of social media to catch up on and I had zero recipes in the queue. But after being on vacation and not being that strict with my eating (or drinking), new, healthy recipes were my top priority.

Honestly, it felt great to be able to get back into the kitchen and pick back up on my healthy habits. I'm sure you probably “slipped” up a little over the holiday soon – maybe a few too many cookies or glasses of wine? 😉 – and that's totally okay, because now is the best time of year to focus on your resolutions and start fresh.

A fork stuck into spaghetti squash filled with quinoa and pesto.

Why You'll Love This Pesto Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Even though my turmeric overnight quinoa was technically the first recipe of 2016, I actually made that before I left, so I'm using today's pesto spaghetti squash as my “get back on track” meal.

It's the perfect meatless dish for the pasta-lover in all of us. A healthier spin on pesto spaghetti, this recipe uses only 5 ingredients and comes together in just about 45 minutes (most of which is just waiting for the squash to roast, so it's hands off anyway).

We're using spaghetti squash instead of traditional spaghetti because it's filled with nutrients, it's lower in carbs and calories and is a complex carbohydrate. Plus, since it's in season right now, you can pick them up just about anywhere!

Two hollowed out baked spaghetti squash halves on a countertop.

How to cook Spaghetti Squash

When it comes to making the perfect spaghetti squash, there are a few different methods you can follow:

  1. bake it whole
  2. slice it lengthwise, remove the seeds and bake it face down with some water
  3. slice it lengthwise, remove the seeds, drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake it right side up

Is one method better than another? Not necessarily. I've tried them all, each one works, but honestly I'm partial to #3 because I think it adds the most flavor. So that's what we're doing here! For more details, check out my guide on how to cook spaghetti squash.

I actually ended up using my toaster oven to bake the squash since I didn't feel like turning on my whole stove and it worked surprisingly well. I set the timer for 40 minutes and it was just the right amount of time – the squash was easy to shred into “noodles” and they still had a little crunch. Perfectly al dente if you will 🙂

A hand uses a fork to hollow out one half of a cooked spaghetti squash.

How to Make Pesto Spaghetti Squash

From there, it's time to get our pesto on!

You can add in some of your favorite pesto (perhaps even try a little Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto if you are feeling adventuresome), a little bit of quinoa for more protein, and then just give it a little seasoning of sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and chili flakes. It really couldn't be easier!

Close up of a fork stuck into pesto spaghetti squash.
A forkful held over spaghetti squash filled with quinoa and pesto.

Peep those noodles up there guys ^^^^

I mean really, if you love pasta and can't stand the tough of giving it up for your resolutions, you have GOT to get on the spaghetti squash train. You're going to absolutely love it.

And if you want to bulk this dish up a little bit, feel free to add in your favorite protein. I think it would be super tasty with some crispy chickpeas or even more quinoa, but if you're a meat-eater go for chicken, shrimp or even beef (that's what Matt did!). Serve this pesto spaghetti squash with a side of roasted vegetables for a satisfying dinner.

So now, fortunately for those of us who like to get down on a big bowl of pasta, we can without compromising those health goals we set for ourselves. Cheers to us!

Close up of pesto spaghetti squash swirled around a fork inside a squash boat.

More Delicious Spaghetti Squash Recipes to try:

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

4 from 1 vote
This satisfying pesto spaghetti squash is an easy meatless dinner packed with hearty quinoa and the bright, citrusy flavors of basil pesto. Ready in under an hour!
author: Alyssa
yield: 2 servings
A fork stuck into spaghetti squash filled with quinoa and pesto.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup pesto here's my homemade version
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • Salt pepper + chili flakes to garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash with the oiled side facing up and roast for 40 minutes or until it's easy to shred with a fork.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Scrape the inside of the squash halves, top with pesto and quinoa and stir into the “noodles”.
  • Garnish with more salt, pepper and some red pepper flakes if desired.
  • To serve, either eat it right from the squash (that's what we did!) or transfer the noodles to bowls and enjoy.


Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 518mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1205IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 2.6mg
cuisine: American
course: Main Course

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