Delicious twice baked spaghetti squash is filled with spinach, artichokes, tomatoes and cheese. A lower carb, vegetarian and gluten-free dish that can be enjoyed as a side or meatless main course!
I didn’t always love spaghetti squash but the turning point in our relationship came when I stopped thinking of it as a substitution for pasta.
Even in this creamy pesto spaghetti squash recipe, I’ve trained my brain to think of it as squash, not a sub-par pasta noodle replacement.
And that mindset shift has made all the difference.
Usually when you see stuffed spaghetti squash recipes, they’re basically just boats of squash strands masquerading as pasta.
Listen, no matter how much tomato sauce and cheese you add to spaghetti squash, it’s just not going to taste like pasta.
So let’s throw that whole concept out the window and call a spade a spade.
Or in this case, twice baked spaghetti squash.
WHAT IS TWICE BAKED SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Just like twice baked potatoes, where you bake the potato two times in the oven, twice baked spaghetti squash is no different!
First, the spaghetti squash gets baked by itself until it’s tender enough to easily scrape out the strands.
Cheater method: bake the spaghetti squash in the microwave for a quicker recipe!
Next, those strands get tossed with some other ingredients to create a filling.
It’s the same concept as this stuffed honeynut squash recipe which is roasted then scooped, re-filled and baked again!
In this recipe, artichoke hearts, chopped spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese are used.
That filling then gets stuffed back into the squash, topped with some breadcrumbs and baked off again until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Could this recipe be called stuffed spaghetti squash? Yeah, I guess so.
But the act of baking it twice seems to substantiate the “twice baked” preface.
INGREDIENTS & METHOD TO TWICE BAKED SQUASH
For this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 2 small spaghetti squash
- artichoke hearts
- chopped frozen spinach, thawed
- sun-dried tomatoes
- pecorino romano (or parmesan)
- tomato sauce
- gluten-free breadcrumbs (or regular if gluten-free isn’t important to you)
- extra virgin olive oil
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
To start, halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Save them to make roasted squash seeds!
Drizzle the flesh of the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake the squash at 375°F until fork tender but not so tender that squash starts to collapse and lose shape, about 40 minutes.
The same method is used to roast red kuri squash before stuffing as well.
While squash bakes, make the filling.
Combine the artichokes, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, tomato sauce and spices in a large bowl.
When the squash is finished baking and has cooled enough to handle, scrape the center noodles out and place in the bowl with the filling ingredients.
Make sure to leave enough of the squash intact around the perimeter of the squash to hold its shape.
Stir the filling mixture well until well combined then spoon back into each squash half.
Top each squash with additional cheese and breadcrumbs. Spritz the tops with cooking spray and return to the oven for 10 additional minutes.
Finish the twice baked squash under a broiler for 2-3 minutes until breadcrumbs are crispy and golden brown.
HOW TO SERVE TWICE BAKED SQUASH
This recipe can be enjoyed either as a side dish or a vegetarian main course.
For the side dish approach, cut each squash in half to create 8 servings.
If serving as a meatless main course, plate each half and dig in with a fork!
CAN THIS BE MADE VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE?
Swap out your favorite plant based cheese for the pecorino romano in this recipe and the spaghetti squash easily becomes vegan.
As noted in the recipe card, I prefer pecorino romano to parmesan cheese because it’s a sheep’s milk cheese rather than cow.
If you avoid dairy because it’s hard on your stomach, sheep and goat milk dairy tend to be more agreeable on digestion than dairy from cows.
If you use gluten-free breadcrumbs, the recipe is also gluten-free.
I don’t keep gluten-free breadcrumbs on hand but I do usually have gluten-free bread in my fridge.
To make your own gf breadcrumbs, simply toast a slice of bread, let it cool then blitz it in a food processor or blender. Voila.
There’s no beating around the bush trying to turn it into a low carb version of pasta.
And once that becomes your mentality, spaghetti squash gets a whole lot tastier!
TRY THESE OTHER SQUASH RECIPES:
Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash
- 2 small spaghetti squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup chopped and drained canned artichoke hearts about 7oz can/jar
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano divided (*see note)
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs **see note
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Drizzle two tablespoons of the olive oil on the cut side of each squash half. Season with salt and pepper then place cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes until squash is tender enough to shred the strands but not collapsing in on itself.
- While squash bakes, combine the artichokes, spinach, 1 cup pecorino romano, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce and remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg.
- Remove the squash when done baking and let cool long enough to handle. Scrape the center of each squash half into the bowl with the filling leaving enough squash intact around the perimeter of the squash half so that it maintains its shape.
- Once all the spaghetti squash centers have been added to the bowl with the filling, stir everything together until well combined.
- Spoon the mixture back into each hollowed squash half.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese evenly among the squash and top with the breadcrumbs.
- Spray the tops of each squash with an olive oil baking spray (or drizzle lightly with olive oil if you don’t have baking spray) then place back in the oven at 375°F for 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes at the end watching carefully so breadcrumbs don’t burn.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.