Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Last week, two of my colleagues came in to work and said that they each had, coincidentally, made spaghetti squash the night before.  Both of them talked enthusiastically about how really good it was, and it didn’t take long before several of us were talking about making it for a group lunch at work.

We looked at a few recipes for spaghetti squash online and settled on this recipe which included shrimp but which we left out to simplify our lunch preparation.  I am including the directions for the shrimp because we all thought the dish would have been even tastier than it was with the shrimp included.  Just as it was, the whole group of food techs gave this recipe for spaghetti squash a unanimous thumbs up.

This is a wonderful meal to make for even more reasons than how good it is.  It’s gluten free if you can’t or don’t want to have wheat; it’s perfect food combining if you’re a food combiner as I am; and it falls within the Atkins diet guidelines.  I’m not as familiar with the South Beach diet, but I have a feeling it meets that criteria as well.

To sum it up, it’s as healthy as it is delicious!

One year ago:  Killer Buzzwiches

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

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  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil + a little splash
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 tbl. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 6 to 8 large shrimp, tail-on & deveined
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes


Preheat oven to 425° F.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.  Brush the inside flesh with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until soft and tender.

Alternatively, pierce the spaghetti squash in several places and microwave the squash for approximately 5 minutes per pound until soft and tender.  After the squash has been cooked, slice it in half and remove the seeds.

Place pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until they are finely minced and incorporated.

Add the basil leaves, baby arugula, salt and pepper.

Close the lid on your food processor and slowly stream in the extra virgin olive oil while whirling the ingredients for about 1 minute.

Add the shredded Parmesan and whirl in the food processor for about 1 more minute, until the pesto is well blended.  You should have a nice creamy, puree.  If it is too thick, turn the food processor back on and add more olive oil.

Set aside the pesto.  In a large skillet, place a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes while the butter and oil get hot.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and place them in the skillet.  Toss in the cherry tomatoes and let them char and wilt.  Turn the shrimp to the other side after about 1 minute and cook through until they are pink and opaque.

Holding the cooked squash with a towel or pot holder, or using a really long spoon, scoop out the insides with a fork.

Place the stringy squash next to the shrimp and tomatoes in the skillet (avoid stirring the tomatoes, they will be very soft).

Add a couple spoonfuls of pesto onto the spaghetti squash and stir until the sauce is well incorporated.

Plate the squash first and top with the cherry tomatoes and prawns.  Add a sprinkle of Parmesan, basil, and pine nuts for garnish.

Fran’s Notes

The original recipe states that it serves two.  We all agreed that those two servings would be quite large if not huge.  I would suggest adding a few more shrimp, and you should get four servings out it using a large spaghetti squash.

Source:   Adapted from a recipe from The Lush Nest

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