Spaghetti squash with pesto chicken and tomatoes is a hands-off, 4-ingredient dinner that’s light, fresh and healthy!
This past week we had a random summer fever virus pass through the house.
M had it first and hardly spiked a fever so I wasn’t sure what was the matter with her. She stayed home from school one day and helped Mommy work (or not so much, as may have been the case).
Then a few days later I got the call and had to go get J from school because he spiked a 103 degree fever. He was fine otherwise and kept me company while I tried to get the bare minimum done for my job that day.
Thankfully, they each recovered in 24 hours, and we were all healthy and happy by the weekend.
But that brings us to today's recipe for this spaghetti squash with pesto chicken and tomatoes.
It's an easy, 4-ingredient dinner that is going to be a little lifesaver.
It’s very hands off.
Most of the time for this recipe is the spaghetti squash cooking in the oven, leaving you free to do other things. Cause there’s always other things.
All you need to make it is a spaghetti squash, some rotisserie chicken, prepared pesto and cherry tomatoes.
And as easy that is, I've got a few tips and substitutions for you if needed.
Spaghetti squash with pesto chicken ingredients:
- Spaghetti squash: You can bake the spaghetti squash in the oven, as directed in the recipe card below. Or you can make Instant Pot spaghetti squash or even microwave spaghetti squash to cook yours if you'd rather.
- Chicken: The chicken for this recipe needs to be cooked, so please plan accordingly. You can use rotisserie chicken or leftover baked or grilled chicken. You can also use Instant Pot shredded chicken or crock pot shredded chicken.
- Pesto: My homemade basil pesto is super easy to make, but a store-bought pesto works great, too.
- Tomatoes: I love the flavor of cherry or grape tomatoes, and they are reliably available and tasty year round, but you can absolutely substitute a different type of tomato if you'd like.
And of course, if you want to load this up with other veggies -- maybe some wilted spinach or sautéed zucchini -- you certainly can.
Even as simple as this is, there are plenty of ways to make it your own.
For toppings, some grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh basil (or parsley) would be great additions here if you have them on hand.
Last thing, let's talk about cutting a spaghetti squash because I know that can be intimidating.
Tips on cutting spaghetti squash:
– A sharp, large knife is a must. Did you know it’s more dangerous to use a dull knife than a sharp one? (See the pro tip below if you think your knife isn’t up to the job.)
– Place the squash on a cutting board with the stem facing away from you. Insert your sharp knife in the middle of the spaghetti squash and pull the knife down through the spaghetti squash, holding it with your other hand at the stem to balance the pressure.
– Once your knife has cut through this end of the spaghetti squash, remove it. Flip the squash around so the stem is now facing your body. Insert the knife where the previous cut finished and start to cut down.
– Once you get close to the stem, you can often remove the knife and just pull the squash apart into two halves.
Then you’re all set to scoop out the middles and get to roasting it.
Pro tip: If your spaghetti squash is huge, your knife isn’t sharp, or you don’t want to bother with struggling to cut it, you can put the whole squash in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.
That will help soften the skin just enough to make it easier to cut. (It doesn’t do enough to cook it to affect the cooking time.)
Next time you find yourself scrambling to get everything done and need more time to focus on anything but dinner, get your spaghetti squash in the oven and get back to life.
This easy all-in-one meal has you covered.
- 2 spaghetti squash
- 2 heaping cups cooked shredded chicken (see notes)
- ½ cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh basil or parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Prepare the spaghetti squash. Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Use a very sharp knife and be careful — they can be difficult to cut. If needed, poke it with a fork and microwave for 4-5 minutes to soften it slightly before cutting. Remove the seeds and inner pulp of the squash (much like cleaning out a pumpkin). Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet.
- Bake spaghetti squash for 35-45 minutes, until squash is tender. The cooking time will depend on how large your squash are. You can test it with a sharp knife and see if it easily pierces the other skin. Don’t let them go too long though, because the spaghetti strands will be mush.
- Meanwhile, combine shredded chicken and pesto and stir well.
- Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven. Use a fork to scrape the inside of the squash lengthwise to make strands that look like spaghetti. Just be careful - it’s hot!
- Add the pesto chicken to the top of each spaghetti squash boat. Return to the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes, until warmed through.
- Remove, top with the halved cherry tomatoes and serve, either directly in the spaghetti squash boat or transferred to a bowl.
Spaghetti squash: You can bake the spaghetti squash in the oven, as directed in the recipe card below. Or you can make Instant Pot spaghetti squash or even microwave spaghetti squash to cook yours if you'd rather.
Chicken: The chicken for this recipe needs to be cooked, so please plan accordingly. You can use rotisserie chicken or leftover baked or grilled chicken. You can also use Instant Pot shredded chicken or crock pot shredded chicken.
Pesto: My homemade basil pesto is super easy to make, but a store-bought pesto works great, too.
Tomatoes: I love the flavor of cherry or grape tomatoes, and they are reliably available and tasty year round, but you can absolutely substitute a different type of tomato if you'd like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 8gSugar: 14gProtein: 25g