Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Make this delicious pesto spaghetti squash for a low-carbohydrate taste of pasta. This dish is super easy to put together!

Pesto spaghetti squash is an easy veggie-packed recipe using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. With just five minutes of prep time, it’s perfect to make for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner—you just need a little patience while the squash bakes. 

While spaghetti squash is more popular in the fall, it’s available all year—and I like to enjoy it year-round. It’s commonly used as an alternative to pasta because it’s lower in carbs and calories. You can pair it with extra veggies to make it a more balanced meal. In this recipe, the Parmesan and pine nuts add protein and healthy fats, which make it extra satisfying.

This pesto spaghetti squash is so delicious—the pesto adds a touch of freshness, and the dish it’s full of flavor and crunch from the pine nuts. You’ll love how easy that it is to make! 

A bowl of food on a plate, with Spaghetti squash sprinkled with pine nuts and cheese

Ingredients

This pesto spaghetti squash comes together with just five key ingredients that you may already have in your fridge or pantry. If not, you can easily find them at the grocery store. Here’s a list of what you need to make this meal: 

  • Spaghetti squash: Spaghetti squash comes in all different sizes. To make this recipe, you’ll need one large or two small squashes. 
  • Olive oil: You’ll need a teaspoon of olive oil, which you will rub on the sides of the squash before baking it.
  • Pesto: I used store-bought pesto for this recipe, which is convenient especially since then you don’t need fresh basil! However, you can make your own pesto if you prefer. 
  • Pine nuts: These are typically known as a key ingredient in pesto, but I used them as a topping in this recipe! They add crunch and healthy fats to the dish. Not to mention, they are toasted beforehand which makes them extra tasty. 
  • Parmesan: An ingredient in pesto, I used Parmesan as a flavor accent in this recipe as well. I added it as a topping to this pesto spaghetti squash for flavor and a little protein. 
  • Salt and pepper: You’ll need just a pinch to finish off the flavor of the spaghetti squash meal.
A fork digging into spaghetti squash

How to cut spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash can be challenging to cut. To make it easier, I recommend heating it in the microwave first to make it tender before cutting. To do this, use a fork to poke several holes into the spaghetti squash, then microwave it for four to five minutes until it becomes slightly tender. Note that the microwave time will vary depending on the size of the squash.

After microwaving, place the tender squash on a cutting board and use a chef’s knife to cut it in half lengthwise. You will want to remove the seeds and membranes from the cut squash before cooking it. 

How to bake spaghetti squash

The first step to baking spaghetti squash is to preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Before baking it, you will first rub a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to the sides of each squash half. This will add flavor to the squash. 

Place the spaghetti squash halves with the cut sides down on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. 

Allow the squash to cool before adding other ingredients and toppings.

Helpful tools

  • Chef’s knife: You’ll need a good, quality chef’s knife to cut spaghetti squash.
  • Nonstick baking sheet: You’ll use this to bake the squash in the oven.
  • Coarse cheese graterYou’ll use this to grate the Parmesan topping.
  • Large glass bowlWhen you shred the spaghetti squash after baking, you’ll need a large glass bowl to put it in and then combine it with the other ingredients.
A bowl of food on a plate, with Spaghetti squash sprinkled with pine nuts and cheese

Step-by-step instructions

This spaghetti squash with pesto is ready to eat in just a few steps. Here’s an overview of how to make it: 

  • Preheat the oven: Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Cut the spaghetti squash: To make the squash easier to cut, use a fork to poke several holes in your squash. Put it in the microwave for four to five minutes. This may take more or less time depending on your microwave. Once the squash is slightly tender, take it out of the microwave and cut it in half with a chef’s knife. Remove the seeds and membranes, then rub the sides with olive oil and add some salt and pepper.
  • Bake the squash: On a nonstick baking sheet, place the squash halves with cut sides down. Place the squash into the oven and bake until it’s fork tender. This will take about 30 to 40 minutes. When it’s done baking, set it aside to cool and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Toast the pine nuts: Place the pine nuts on a nonstick tray, and lightly toast them in the oven for eight to 10 minutes. 
  • Shred the squash: Once the squash is cooled, use a fork to shred it into a large bowl or dish.
  • Add pesto and toppings: Mix the pesto into the shredded spaghetti squash. Then add pine nuts and ¼ cup Parmesan, and mix everything together. Finish the dish off by topping it with the remaining Parmesan. 
Close up of Spaghetti squash sprinkled with pine nuts and cheese

Nutrition

Not only is pesto spaghetti squash incredibly tasty, it’s also full of nutrition from the squash, pesto, and pine nuts. It’s low in sodium and cholesterol—and packed with filling fiber. Here’s how the dish’s nutrition stacks up:

  • Calories: 170 
  • Fat: 12 g (15% DV)
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g (15% DV) 
  • Carbs: 13 g (5% DV)
  • Fiber: 3 g (11% DV)
  • Sugar: 6 g (2% DV)
  • Protein: 5 g (10% DV)
  • Sodium: 260 g (11% DV)
  • Cholesterol: 10 g (3% DV)
A plate of food spaghetti squash with fork

Recipe FAQ

How do I make this recipe vegetarian or vegan?

This spaghetti squash recipe does not contain meat, so it is already vegetarian. To make it vegan, you will need to find pesto that does not contain cheese. This can be difficult to find at the grocery store, so I recommend making it your own. You can make it with nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan. Since I used extra Parmesan as a topping, you can either leave this out of the recipe or replace it with nutritional yeast or a vegan version of the cheese. 

How long do leftovers last? 

If you have leftover pesto spaghetti squash, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about three to five days. I don’t recommend storing cooked spaghetti squash in the freezer, as it will lose its quality and become watery.

Is spaghetti squash healthy?

Yes, spaghetti squash is very healthy! It’s low in calories (less than 50 calories per a 1-cup serving) yet high in fiber. It also provides some vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins, and potassium. Spaghetti squash is well known for its low carbohydrate content and is often used as a low-carb alternative in pasta recipes, as in this recipe.

Plant-based tweaks

Want to know how to make pesto spaghetti squash vegan? Make it even more plant-based with these tips: 

  • Use plant-based pesto: Pesto is often made with Parmesan and other types of cheese, and it can be challenging to find vegan versions at the grocery store. However, there are more and more brands that are starting to make vegan pesto so you can keep your eyes open for these. You can also make your own pesto using a Parmesan alternative. Nutritional yeast is a common substitute, as it has a “cheesy” flavor and texture.
  • Swap out the Parmesan topping: You do not need to use Parmesan as a topping for this recipe. You can simply add in more pine nuts, or experiment with other vegan toppings like nutritional yeast.
  • Add more veggies: Whether you follow a vegan diet or simply want to increase your veggie intake, I recommend adding extra veggies to this recipe. You can mix in broccoli, carrots, and any other vegetables that you like. Doing so will add nutrients, fiber, and make pesto spaghetti squash even more delicious.
Top down view of spaghetti squash sprinkled with pine nuts and cheese

More healthy squash recipes

Love this pesto spaghetti squash? Check out my other tasty squash recipes: 

Final thoughts

You just can’t go wrong with spaghetti squash—there are so many different ways that you can prepare it. This pesto spaghetti squash recipe is as tasty as it gets, and it’s simple to make and store. You can make it your own by trying it with other veggies and plant-based proteins, and it’s super easy to adjust to make it vegan. Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

A bowl of food on a plate, with Spaghetti squash sprinkled with pine nuts and cheese

Pesto Parmesan Spaghetti Squash Bake

This delicious spaghetti squash is sure to satisfy!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 8
Calories 170 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Microwave
  • 1 Non-stick baking sheet
  • 1 Oven
  • 1 Large bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large spaghetti squash or 2 small spaghetti squashes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup store-bought pesto
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan and 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Meanwhile, use a fork to poke several holes in a medium spaghetti squash, then microwave until the squash becomes slightly tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Cut squash in half, and remove seeds and membranes. Rub the sides with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place halves with cut sides down on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake until the squash is tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. Lower the oven to 250° F.
  • Place pine nuts on a nonstick tray, and lightly toast for 8-10 minutes.
  • Once squash is cooled, use a fork to shred the squash into a large bowl or dish. Combine squash with pesto, pine nuts and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Top with remaining Parmesan.

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 5gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 260mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6g
Keyword Easy, Fall, Holiday, Parmesan cheese, Pesto, Pine nuts, Spaghetti squash, Thanksgiving, Vegetable, Vegetarian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @amydgorin and tag #plantbasedwithamy
Pesto Spaghetti Squash
Dinner | Gluten Free | Holiday | Low Carb | Lunch | No Added Sugar | Oven / Toaster | Pescatarian | Recipes (Organizational) | Side Dish | Vegetarian |

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