Oh, spaghetti squash! I only recently have realized how awesome you really are. A little history: for some silly reason, when I saw one of my roommates in college cook spaghetti squash and put pasta sauce on it, I thought it was so weird. (Sorry Meredith, I realize now I was being stupid.) Couldn’t tell you why I thought that, maybe it was my college-athlete, carb-filled brain just wanting the “real thing” I guess. How silly I was.
Even when I made the change to eating gluten free, if I wanted pasta, I just made a gluten free pasta. It wasn’t until I did Whole30 that I replaced pasta with spaghetti squash, and I don’t know why I had been averse to it before. I mean, I love all other types of squash, why wouldn’t I like this one?! And while I am a fan of zoodles (zucchini noodles), that can be a lot of work. Spaghetti squash is super easy to prep and cook!
For lunches while doing Whole30, I would bake a squash and put jarred, Whole30 compliant, spaghetti sauce and some sort of compliant chicken sausage. But now that tomatoes and other fresh veggies are becoming available, I thought I would make my own fresh sauce! I found a bunch of assorted tomatoes that I thought looked really good and would make a nice colorful sauce. It had cherry tomatoes, what looked like Roma tomatoes, and other smaller tomatoes in yellow, orange and red. The whole dish is really colorful and of course, really tasty!
Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Chicken & Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 lb chicken (breast, thighs, whichever you prefer), cubed
- 1 onion (I actually omitted this myself, because I think onions give me some digestive trouble), chopped fine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups of tomatoes, various types and colors, chopped into bite size pieces
- 8-16 oz spinach (Depends on how much you like spinach – it wilts down so much, and I really like it, so I went with 16 oz, or two bags)
- Juice of half a lemon, about 1 Tbs
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400º. Poke holes in spaghetti squash and microwave for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from microwave, cut in half length-wise and remove seeds. Drizzle with avocado oil*, and season with salt and pepper. Rub around to cover the entire cut side of the squash. Place on a baking tray face down and bake for 40 minutes.
- While the squash bakes, cook the chicken. In a large skillet, cook the chicken in some olive oil. Once it is mostly cooked (doesn’t need to be fully cooked through, it’s going to go back into the pan to cook further later), remove it from the pan.
- Add a little more olive oil, and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add tomatoes, and stir. Mash the tomatoes a little to get the juices out. If the tomatoes aren’t very juicy, you can add a little chicken broth to the skillet to thin out the sauce a little. Add the lemon juice, then add the chicken back into the skillet.
- Add the spinach to the skillet and stir. Cover and allow spinach to wilt.
- When the squash is finished, remove from the oven, and flip over. Use forks to “fluff” and separate the “noodles.”
- Plate the squash and top with the sauce!
*I use avocado when baking/roasting in the oven as it can hold up to the high heat. Extra virgin olive oil’s smoking point (read: burning point) is roughly 400º, so to avoid the burnt flavor, I avocado oil, whose smoking point is 520º. For even more info on oils and their smoking points, check out this comprehensive website.
If you make this, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think!! You can expect even more recipes from me this summer, as I signed up for a local farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) so I’ll be getting a TON of fresh, locally grown veggies every week. I am SO excited!! Can’t wait to make all kinds of delicious dishes this summer!