The first day of fall slipped by me unnoticed last week. I did, however, notice the spaghetti squash at the grocery store. It was a full stop, dramatic, no-way moment when I saw it. “Fall, are you here already?” I glanced around and saw apples and sweet potatoes on display. Then I looked down at my shorts and sandals. “Why is it still so hot outside?!”
I tossed a spaghetti squash in my basket, went home and created version 1.0 of this recipe. It’s a fun one to make. The bright colors! Those bold flavors!
This recipe was inspired by last year’s super popular spaghetti squash burrito bowls, which starts with perfectly cooked spaghetti squash. Instead of Mexican flavors, I opted for Mediterranean—chickpeas, basil and parsley, red onion and fresh pesto. I hope you all love it just as much as the original.
I caught a fall chill in the air yesterday evening on my walk with Cookie, and I am so excited about the fall line-up I have planned for you. Let’s hear it for scarf weather and spaghetti squash!
Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowls
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Roasted spaghetti squash topped with your favorite Mediterranean ingredients and pesto! This healthy vegetarian dinner recipe will make everyone happy. Recipe yields 4 servings (4 stuffed spaghetti squash halves).
Spaghetti squash and filling
- 2 spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ⅓ cup chopped red onion (about ½ small onion)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese or grated Parmesan (optional), for garnish
- ¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)*
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of each spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half. Repeat with the other squash.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside and outside of the squash, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the chickpea salad, combine the chickpeas, bell pepper, onion, olives, chopped basil and/or parsley, garlic, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Stir to combine. Taste, and add more lemon juice and/or salt if necessary. Set aside.
- To prepare the pesto: In a small skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring often, until they are fragrant and making little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Pour the pepitas into a food processor and let them cool for a few minutes. Then, add the basil, parsley, lemon juice, water and salt. Process while slowly drizzling in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until the pepitas have broken down to create a pretty smooth sauce. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl for serving.
- To assemble, use a fork to fluff up the squash and make it easier to eat. Then divide the chickpea salad between the squash “bowls” and top each one with a generous drizzle of pesto. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped herbs and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well for about 3 days; if you plan to have leftovers, store the pesto separately and top the squash with it just before serving.
Recipe adapted from my spaghetti squash burrito bowls.
*Change it up: You can use walnuts or almonds in the pesto instead of pepitas (although the dish will no longer be nut-free, if that matters).
Make it dairy free/vegan: Just don’t add any cheese!
▸ Nutrition Information
wow… well funny thing is that i am making the spaghetti squash burrito bowls tonight!!!! hahaha I bought everything yesterday and it’ll be my first time making them but how ironic that then you post a new version today :) … both sound wonderful! and I know they will be!
And happy fall/autumn ;) to you!
No way! That’s so funny. I hope you love the Mexican version and get a chance to try this one, too. xo!
So so creative! Love how satisfying this looks. and scooping anything out of a squash is a good time.
Haha, so true. I’m looking forward to carving pumpkins already. Thank you, Meredith!
GiselleR @ ExSloth.com
I was so ready for fall this year that I was counting down the seconds but the weather really hasn’t been on-board here in Canada either. It’s definitely still shorts and sandals weather most days.
I’ll be making this anyway tho, cuz it looks way too good to wait for mother nature to catch up lol.
Thanks! I hope you love it. We’re finally starting to get some cooler weather here, so I hope you catch that wave soon, too.
Rhian @ Rhian's Recipes
Yum, these look delicious!!
Cant wait to make this Saturday! Farmers market are full of these….
Perfect! Hope you love these, Sue.
Hi! Just getting ready to make this and was wondering if the pesto could be made in the Vitamix instead of the food processor? I noticed that the other spaghetti squash bowl recipe used the Vitamix for it’s salsa component, so figure the food processor is better for this pesto. Thanks.
I was a subscriber. I wanted to read the recipe for the spaghetti squash, but couldn’t get to it because I had to subscribe. So I unsubscribed. Did anyone check this before you put people in this position? Pretty sloppy. If you lose a lot of people, you’ll know why. I got to the recipe finally, which I like a lot. I guess it’s the last one for me.
Hi Jo, I’m so sorry you had trouble with my website. The recipes are always available on my website, at no cost, no subscription required. That popup should only show up once every two weeks. Regardless, you can click “no thank you” or just click outside of it and the box will go away. You are always welcome at Cookie and Kate!
This looks amazing! I’ve never thought about making the spaghetti squash a bowl. I’ll definitely have to try it!
Thanks, McKel! It makes a great bowl. I caught a glimpse of your NYC trip on Instagram yesterday, looks like so much fun!
Just saw this in my inbox, and it made my day! I love your email updates, and the wonderful recipes they contain :) Can’t wait to try this one!
Thank you so much, Arianna! I hope you love it. :)
oh yum! I need to give this one a try! actually grew spaghetti squash for the first time this year! How exciting is that!
Oooh, super exciting! Way to go!
Ooh can’t wait to make this one… Loved last years spaghetti squash burrito bowls. This sounds equally as delicious!! And easy to make dairy free :) thanks Cookie and Kate. I haven’t tasted a recipe of yours that we haven’t loved :)
That’s wonderful to hear, Loraine! Thank you. I hope you love this one, too.
Why would you rate the recipe if you haven’t made it yet for god’s sake?
Jessie @ Chasing Belle
I really, really REALLY love all of the variations you do on recipes Kate! It makes it so easy to follow along, which means I get to cook more fun, healthy weeknight meals. Thank you!
I’m so glad! Thank you, Jessie! :)
I’m going to try the recipe with zoodles(spiralized zucchini noodles) instead of the spaghetti squash
That sounds delicious!
I’m all for scarf weather. These squash bowls look delicious- I love the chickpeas and pesto in it.
Me, too! I can’t wait.
This looks so gorgeous! I can’t wait to try. Question – my spaghetti squash tends to get a pretty watery after cooking. This can end up watering down my toppings a bit, too. What am I doing wrong?
Thanks, Heather! I hope you love it. I hate it when that happens. I think some squash are more watery than others, but are you roasting them with the cut sides down like I did in this recipe? I think that helps prevent moisture from pooling inside.
Kate, I simply love you! Your recipes are so simple and delicious! While it takes much inspiration and ingenuity for you to put them together, we are supplied with “easy to perform, great to eat”. We are so busy and most everything is homemade, so through our construction, paperwork and other “stuff”, you are helping us through…deliciously.
Lani, thank you! I really appreciate your kind words. Definitely need to hear them! All my best to you and your family and I hope construction is going well!
Kate, this is genius! I am about as sick of spaghetti-like spaghetti squash dishes as can be. A meditteranean spin on it is right up my alley!!! I just made a fresh pesto and have leftovers! How wonderful!!! Ooooh and its a reason to gush over the olive bar!!!!
Thanks, Maria! I hope you love this one!
Cookie & Kate, you have outdone yourselves with this one! I just made it tonight and it is amazing! So flavorful and healthy and filling and creative. I eliminated the cheese to make it vegan. I love that it’s gluten free and seasonal. Delish. Even the chickpea filling by itself is tasty. I’ll make that in the summer for a quick salad. And the pesto – I’ve been trying different tricks to no avail – but this is my new go to pesto. Thanks for all or your efforts and sharing your amazing creations with the rest of us.
Thank you, Amanda! Really happy to hear you enjoyed it. I love that pesto!
This was SO good! I switched up cilantro for the flat parsley (that’s what I had) and I added some left over roasted corn and about 1/2 of a jalapeño pepper. I LOVED the pesto sauce on top of it all. I can’t wait for the leftovers!
As for the comment from the person that unsubscribed…her loss! I love your recipes Kate and your commentary as well! Keep it all coming!
Give Cookie an ear scratch for me!
Thank you so much, Kathy! I’m really glad you enjoyed this one so much. Your version sounds awesome!
I love spaghetti squash, I’ve only had it once as my parents grew a few. I have no idea where I could buy one, unless I would eat them a lot more often!!
I wanted to say thank you for your recipes. Especially your spaghetti squash bowls. Your site has been so crucial for my cooking in the last year. I recently weaned a baby with non-IgE allergies to most things under the sun–dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, chocolate, coconut, and corn. I thought I was an accomplished cook, but with such a limited diet, being creative was super hard. Many days I felt like I ate plain oatmeal or beans and rice for every.single.meal. Thanks for making allergy-free cooking fun–you always have recipes that put a twist on the staples we can eat, and you always have a suggested modification or an easily modified recipe. I suggest your site to every allergy mama I know. Sites like yours make a difference in the quality of life of many people!
Cat, thank you so much for your note. I’m really glad to hear that you find my site useful! I do my best to offer dietary notes when I can, so it’s nice to hear that they are appreciated. I hope you and the baby are eating happy now!
Squash bowls are so whole and filling; great utilization. Everything added to it was so yummy!
I can’t remember just how I came across your blog- but I am so thankful I look forward to my emails:) such creative wonderful recipes!Thank you so much:):))
Thank you so much, Pam!
I am growing these in my backyard, can’t get them in the Uk, spotted your recipe last year and I just had to try them!! Am keeping my fingers crossed they get big enough so I can try them soon!
Lynn | The Actor's Diet
My favorite time of year – spaghetti squash season!
Amazing. Kate you did it again. I was surprised gow easy and delicious the pesto was. This recipe was super easy and absolutely delicious. Kate, you are my hero.
Thank you, Mer! Blushing over here. :) So glad you loved this one.
Made it – delicious – loved the pumpkin seed pesto – was very tasty plus cheaper and perhaps healthier than pine nuts
Thank you, Angela! I love using pepitas in pesto for those reasons. :)
This. Was. Marvelous! I left out the olives and bravely served it to workers doing some landscaping and they LOVED it! I was worried about the pesto being too zingy, but it’s not as pronounced when assembled with everything else. Thanks for another amazing recipe as I’m never disappointed with Cookie and Kate!
Awesome! Thanks, Holly! Guess it was your landscapers’ lucky day. :)
The first time I had spaghetti squash was about 2 years ago. I had not heard of it actually, and my mother made some when my wife and I were visiting my parents. It was delicious! I will have to give this recipe a go the next time my parents come and visit us, for we are also pesto fans. Thanks!
This looks really good! I would have never thought to use Mediterranean flavors with spaghetti squash. I’m usually really picky with pesto, some I’ve had are delicious and some are not… so, I’m usually hesitant to make pesto. But, this looks so good, I’m going to go for it! Thanks for sharing!!
I hope you love it, Russell! The only pestos I don’t love are the store-bought kind, but I think this one’s a winner! Hope you’ll agree.
Ah, this looks so good! What a clever idea to eat from the actual spaghetti squash skin!
Made this for dinner tonight.
It was really good!
I’ve made this twice in the last month. Obsessed is an understatement. Love your recipes!!
Made these bowls tonight. They were absolutely fantastic! Filling and refreshing. Thanks for inspiring us!
OMG, OMG, OMG – I just made this and it was incredible!!! Your recipes have been a very welcome addition to my rotations, and this one is a super star!
What an honor! So happy you loved it, Laura :) This comment made me smile.
This was an amazing recipe. I didn’t have a food processor so we got creative with the pesto but it still came out delicious and I just finished eating the leftovers on day two.
Thanks, Shawn! I thought your version was plenty tasty. :)
We just made mediterranean spaghetti squash bowls tonight for 5 people…. RAVE REVIEWS!!! We love your recipes and this one was no exception…. maybe even the BEST EVER…. the amazing mixture of hot (squash) and cold (chickpea salad) and crunchy (onions/red bell peppers) and tangy (pumpkin seed pesto with lemon) were so amazing!!! We added a side of tazeeki sauce that we had in the fridge, along with the suggested feta cheese (we omitted the olives by personal choice). I can’t wait to try the Mexican version of the squash recipe. Thank you so much.
You’re welcome, Dawn! It sounds like they were a hit :)
Soooooo delicious!!! Just posted a picture of mine on my Instagram @dragon_king_daughter. Check it out!
I definitely will, Jes! Make sure you tag it #cookieandkate.
Your Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowls recipe is definitely a keeper! I cheated because I was lazy and made them with purchased basil pesto but, nonetheless, enjoyed the meal very much. As advertised, the leftovers are just as good as the original if stored separately. I just microwaved the squash to reheat, then assembled.
Thanks for yet another great recipe. And congratulations on your cookbook — I look forward to exploring more recipes from it soon!
Awesome! These do keep really well if you store them properly, so I’m happy they made great leftovers.
Hi Cookie, please tell your person that this was absolutely delicious. I am planning to serve it for a dinner party. Do you have a serving suggestion for what would be a good accompaniment? Of course there will be a chocolate cake too. It is almost 100°here, but this meal was worth heating up the house.
Hi Beth! (It’s Kate.) I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I’d probably serve it with a big salad. This one might go well, and you could simplify the ingredients a bit if you’d like.
Hi Kate, Thank you for your salad suggestion. It was a really good match, the romaine had a nice crunch that my usual salads with spring mix don’t offer. I left out the garbanzos. The squash dish has been requested for a 3rd time this week.
Tried this and it was excellent like all your stuff Kate. We are newbie vegans and having great fun trying out your recipes in your book and online and finding that we are not giving up anything in regards to taste and overall eating enjoyment. We’ve tried something like 15 of your recipes and you haven’t missed yet. I’ve never had a cook book before with nearly as high a batting average. Thanks for all the care you take to get things right.
Fantastic recipe! Then again, I have loved all of the recipes that I have tried from this blog and from your cookbook. I have been a vegetarian for years and finding recipes that work for my husband (who is a pretty picky eater and really likes chicken) and me can be a bit of a challenge. He has really enjoyed almost all of your recipes, so THANK YOU! I also appreciate that your recipes are ingredients I always have on hand + fresh produce. The conclusion of this post? You are my hero. :)
You are sweet, Jennifer! I am glad you have found success and that they work for your family :) I appreciate the review very much!
Delicious! The spaghetti squash turned out perfect (which I usually have a hard time doing). The only thing I couldn’t quite get right was the pesto sauce – mine was chunky and didn’t get creamy at all (very well could be my blender though). Still yummy on top though, and a great alternative to typical spaghetti.
Really enjoyed this recipe. Easy to make and something different and delightful while healthy. My husband normally doesn’t like Kalamata olives or Feta cheese – but really enjoyed both in this recipe. Yay!!!
Hooray! I’m glad both you and your husband enjoyed the recipe.
My husband pronounced this delicious ( and I liked it too!)
I used just more than half ( well he tasted some) of the chick pea salad for 1/2 of an 8 in spaghetti squash, so I think it would be far to fill 2 whole ones, unless they were small. Every recipe I have tried from your blog has been great, so wehn I was hunting for something to do with a spaghetti squash and found your website, I was pretty sure that would be the one for dinner. I had already microwaved the squash, so I oiled it and put it in the oven just long enough to heat it up and brown the edge a little
Thank you for sharing, Mary! I appreciate it.
Made this for tonight, looks so yummy. I was supposed to wait, but had to sneak a taste, just wonderful. Spaghetti squash is so fun, and love your recipe. I did use sweet peppers and leeks instead.
I love that you got a taste. It’s the cook’s right! :) Thanks for sharing, Colette!
Kate, I looked around all day for a recipe to make on the Mediterranean diet and settled on yours. It was absolutely delicious!! Also small world cause I also live in Kansas City, keep up the great work!
I tried the Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowl Recipe. I don’t care for Chickpeas, so replaced them in the recipe with “seasoned” Black Beans (careful…not black bean soup). I didn’t have on hand all the ingredients for the Parsley-basil Pesto, so I left it off. It was just delicious & quick. The family loved it. What a complimentary flavor those seasoned black beans added.
* — A quick note to families with toddlers who are learning new foods, that are “finger-friendly”. If you loosed up the strands for the child, they love pulling the strands out to eat, just like regular spaghetti. It is healthy, and so much fun for them. I recommend you
start them out with minimal seasonings (salt, & butter, & maybe a little sweetening), to avoid any digestive distress from stronger seasonings…save those for later in their new food growth.
Thank you for sharing, Kakie!
I HAD to come back to your site just to commend you for an amazingly flavourful dish! I too only had cilantro and basil, but was sooo tasty! I love mediterranean and combined with the sweetness of the spaghetti squash- sublime! Well done! (Second meal of yours we have tried this week! My husband and I LOVED your crispy tofu, and last night, while marvelling at this dish, he mentioned, “Well this C&K definitely knows what she’s doing!”)
I’m so happy you did, Michaela! Thank you for your review.
I made this— it was AMAZING!! Especially the pesto !
My one complaint was the chick peas were too hard. I am not sure what to about that ? Marinate in lemon juice & white vinegar? Or simmer the chick peas ?
I’m glad you loved the pesto! Chickpeas are tricky sometimes. Some cans are more cooked then others. It’s frustrating, for sure.
I made the Mediterranean garbanzo pesto spaghetti squash version, and it was incredibly delicious and very nutritious. I am going to use this recipe as one of my main staples for eating healthy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. It really was incredibly tasty. I could easily eat one of these every day and not get tired of it. All the possible variations for what you can stuff the spaghetti squash with will keep things interesting. I am going to try adding some quinoa into the Mediterranean salad next time.
Thanks for your review, Terry!
This was absolutely delicious!!! I’ve made countless recipes from both your site and cookbook now, yet every time I try something new I am still amazed at how you get it just right every.single.time :) I can only imagine how much testing you do for each recipe to make it so foolproof for us, so thank you so much! This was such an inspired, fresh take on traditional pesto with pasta, which is delicious but can be a bit heavy at times. The extra lemon in this pesto, lack of cheese, pepitas instead of pine nuts and mix of parsley and basil just tasted perfect together. So fresh and delicious with the spaghetti squash and chickpea salad mixture. I’ll be making this again soon!
I love everything about this comment! I’m so happy you enjoy so many recipes, Jen. Thanks for your feedback!
Going to try the Mediterranean Squash Bowls, they sound delish. Will subsitute white kidney beans for chick peas as I simply do not like the texture of them.
Made this today for lunch and it was good, but not great.
I’m sorry you didn’t love this one! Thanks for your feedback.
This was my first time cooking with spaghetti squash. It wasn’t as hard to cook as I thought and this dish was soooo good! The only thing I changed using almonds in the pesto instead of pepitas. Definitely on my fall repeat list!
Amazing!! Instead of serving in the bowls I scooped the squash into a casserole dish to make it a little easier to serve. So delicious.
This is my new go to recipe!! I’m typing this as I eat it for the first time because it’s SO GOOD and packed with so much flavour. I added a little extra garlic and basil, and tossed in some avocado which was a nice addition!
Wonderful, Natalie! I’m happy to hear that.
Delicious spaghetti squash I really liked baking on cookie sheet with olive oil & spices! [no water] I added (when ready to serve) ricotta cheese & salsa—mmmmm thank you
Good recipes for spaghetti squash but you are missing one of the best parts. Those seeds you are discarding. Rinse them and sprinkle with salt as desired. Throw them on the cooking sheet with the squash and bake. Now you have great and nutritious ( I think ) roasted seeds. May even be great in your pesto! If you enjoy pumpkin seeds in the fall, welcome to the rest of the year.
Wow! this was my first time trying to make spaghetti squash and it couldn’t have been easier. I had lots of avocados and tomatoes, so I added them to the salad and omitted the pesto, DE-LISH! I am buying your cookbook and can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thanks so much!
You’re welcome, Rosanne! Thank you for taking the time to review.
This recipe rocks!! Not the greatest in the kitchen but I can follow a recipe. This was very simple and took me about an hour. I love spaghetti squash and this was a great alternative. Have to have the pesto. Fortunately I had some on hand. Thank you so much for the recipe
Shirley M. Wentzel
If I microwave it, How long do I,000 degree Microwave
Hello, I am a very traditional cook faced with feeding five adults – one is a vegetarian, two do not eat beef or pork (mostly vegetarian as they are from India), one dislikes most vegetarian dishes. Tough group to cook for every night unless I make two different meals. I made the Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowls tonight. Even though no one ever ate spaghetti squash when served in place of pasta, EVERYONE loved this dish. The vegetarian ate it as the main meal. I served Italian sausage made from chicken for those who needed something more. I have used other of your recipes, thanks for all your work, you make my days easier. Have a great evening. Adus p.s. Why did I have spaghetti squash if no one likes it? My neighbor gave me a giant one, in this time, I am loathed to waste anything.
I’m thinking about substituting quinoa for the chickpeas. What do you think?
Hi Robin, you could just omit them. Adding quinoa could be interesting!
We love your spaghetti squash pizza bowls and were skeptical that anything could live up to that bowl of deliciousness. This certainly does– and it feels even more healthy. The colors, the fresh vegetables, the yummy pesto– it all comes together in a delicious squash bowl. Who doesn’t love eating directly out of a vegetable? Yum.
Melissa A Locke
Great recipe, tried it tonight. Nice blend of flavors!
Thank you, Melissa!
Kate, this Mediterranean Squash Bowl was outstanding!! It had such great flavor. I added cubed cucumber and marinated it and the red onion in a Sweet Rose Wine Vinegar. That really took the bite out of the onion (the wife doesn’t like raw onion), with the vinegar adding a subtle sweetness and a nice crunch with the cucumber. She loved that added touch. Glad I happened upon your site.
Thank you, Randy! I’m glad you loved it.