Parmesan Lemon Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
Easy baked spaghetti squash recipe with butter cooked chicken, parmesan, and fresh lemon. Healthy and delicious! Jump to the Spaghetti Squash Recipe with Chicken
Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Parmesan and Lemon
I find spaghetti squash alone a bit dull since it doesn’t have the sweetness and flavor of many other winter squash. That being said, this baked spaghetti squash recipe is anything but dull. It’s amazing what butter cooked chicken, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and plenty of lemon can do. What used to be boring turns into to something that’s almost impossible to stop eating.
This recipe is easy and absolutely delicious. It keeps well, too. Leftovers make a perfect lunch the next day.
Thanks to the hard shell, spaghetti squash can be tricky when it comes to cutting it, but don’t worry, with our tips you’ll be an expert in no time. You will need a heavy chef’s knife, a towel to keep it steady as you cut (as well as to protect your hand), and some muscle power.
Cut the squash from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too tough). When you’ve cut through the squash, just pull each half apart. The force will pull one half away from the stem. (You can see us do this in the video above.)
Here’s a trick we learned recently that helps make cutting the squash a little easier. Pierce the squash in a few places and score it where you eventually want to cut. Pop it into the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes. This short time in the microwave softens the outer shell, making it a little easier to cut. We don’t recommend microwaving a whole squash longer than that, though — steam will build up inside the squash and it could lead to a pretty dangerous situation. [To see us cut spaghetti squash on video, head over to our video showing how we cut and cook spaghetti squash.]
Once you’ve cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds. We won’t need the seeds in this recipe, but if you’re a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds, you can use these to make something very similar.
If you take a look in the notes section of the recipe, we’ve given tips for how to roast them. After some olive oil, salt and pepper, we flip the halves so that they are cut-side-down and bake until soft. [Here’s our recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, which can be used for spaghetti squash seeds]
Roasting Spaghetti Squash
To bake spaghetti squash in the oven, follow these easy steps:
- Rub the inside of the squash halves with olive oil (or use melted butter). I also like to season with salt and pepper. This is also a good time to sprinkle on your favorite spice blend.
- Place the squash halves cut-side-down onto a rimmed baking sheet. By baking the spaghetti squash halves cut-side-down, the edges caramelize and brown, which adds flavor. It also lets excess moisture fall away from the squash and onto the baking sheet. If you were to bake the squash halves cut-side-up, the liquid would pool in the middle of the halves.
- Bake until fork tender, but still a little firm. I like the strands to still have a bit of bite to them so we try not to over bake spaghetti squash, which produces a mushy result.
Recipe Shortcut, Use the Microwave
If you’ve looked online, you’ve probably noticed that you can microwave spaghetti squash instead of baking it. This is absolutely true and microwaved squash can definitely be used in place of roasted squash in this recipe.
Whether we microwave or not is dependent on the time we are willing to wait. Baked (or roasted) spaghetti squash is more flavorful in the end. The extra bake time also gets rid of a lot of excess moisture that the microwave doesn’t.
That being said, if you are short on time, the microwave is your friend. For more tips for cooking spaghetti squash (including how to cook it in an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker), here is our ultimate guide.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Microwave
Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and season the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the dish with water so that it is about 1-inch deep. Microwave for 5 minutes, check the squash and continue to microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Allow the squash to cool and then scoop out the flesh with a fork.
The Chicken, Cheese, and Lemon
We reach for chicken thighs for this recipe. Thighs cook just as quickly as chicken breast and are more forgiving when it comes to overcooking them. With that said, there is no reason you couldn’t swap thighs for chicken breast.
After cooking the chicken in some butter and olive oil we squeeze in the juice from half a lemon. This helps up scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. These browned bits have lots of flavor. After that, all we need to do is add the squash, cheese, and lots of fresh parsley.
And that’s it, incredibly delicious spaghetti squash with butter cooked chicken, parmesan cheese, and fresh lemon.
More Easy Recipes
- This 20-Minute Zucchini Pasta Recipe with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese. A guilt-free meal.
- These Lemon Chicken Thighs are very popular on Inspired Taste. With over fifty 5-star reviews, they are a must see.
- An easy side, this Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash is simple with cinnamon, brown sugar and a little cayenne.
- Easy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese — How to make extra creamy pumpkin mac and cheese in under 1 hour. The perfect Fall dinner!
Parmesan Lemon Baked Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
Spaghetti squash alone can be a bit dull, but it’s amazing what butter seared chicken, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and plenty of lemon can do. What used to be boring turns into to something that’s almost impossible to stop eating.
We use chicken thighs, but there’s no reason you couldn’t swap them for chicken breast.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for baking the squash
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lemon, halved
2 ounces grated parmesan, pecorino or a mixture (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Bake Squash
- Cook Chicken
- To Finish
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet (or large baking dish) with parchment paper.
Using a heavy chef’s knife cut squash in half lengthwise — see the notes section for how to do this safely. Remove the seeds and discard. Lightly drizzle the cut side of each squash half with olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet and bake 40 to 50 minutes until it is soft and easily pierced with a knife.
About 20 minutes before the squash has finished baking, cook the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks, season with salt then let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter sizzles, add the chicken thighs and cook until nicely browned on one side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the juice of one lemon half and cook for about 30 seconds, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
When the squash is done, flip them so that the cut-side is facing up and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Run a fork through the flesh to separate the “spaghettilike” strands, and place in the skillet with chicken. Stir in most of the cheese, parsley, and some fresh ground pepper. Serve with more cheese and an extra squeeze of lemon juice on top.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- To safely cut the squash, you will need a heavy chef’s knife, a towel to keep it steady as you cut as well as to protect your hand, and some muscle power. Cut the squash from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too tough). When you’ve cut through the squash, just pull each half apart.
- If you are short on time, you can microwave the squash. To do this, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and season the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Fill the dish with water so that it is about 1-inch deep. Microwave for 5 minutes, check the squash and continue to microwave for 2 to 5 minutes until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Allow the squash to cool and then scoop out the flesh with a fork.
- How to Roast Spaghetti Squash Seeds: Remove pulp and fibrous threads from seeds. Simmer seeds in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toss seeds with olive oil and lightly season with salt. Roast in a 325 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The seeds will not change much in color, but will crunch when done.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. We omitted salt from the calculations since you will need to add to your tastes.