Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Olives and Chicken

My elementary school prided itself on having nutritious and healthy lunches. All breads were whole grain, there were multiple vegetable and fruit options, and treats were things like celery and peanut butter with raisins or frozen bananas with carob chips. 

I think I brought my own lunch every single day of elementary school. 

Now, of course, I would love for someone to cook and prepare all that healthy food for me, but as a kid I wasn't as interested. I distinctly remember the disappointment of the frozen bananas with carob chips. If you aren't familiar with carob chips, just know that they look just like chocolate chips, but they have a different taste that is less sweet, slightly bitter and more molasses-ish. If you want to try a cruel trick on a first grader, hand them a banana with carob chips and let them take a bite. Carob just does not equal chocolate. 

When I first heard about recipes that used spaghetti squash as an alternative to pasta, I was reminded of the carob chips. Some things just don't work as a substitution, and I wasn't sure about this one. After trying a couple different recipes, though, I think the key is not to think of spaghetti squash as a substitute but as a food in its own right. It has its own flavor and sometimes it works well with other ingredients and sometimes not as well. 

Sometimes, even, the flavor it adds is better than pasta. This recipe is one of those instances. Since spaghetti squash has a slightly sweet natural flavor, it works really well with the slightly salty chicken filling that is added to it here. The squash has more crunch to it than regular spaghetti and I really like the texture that it adds. Throw in the added bonus of having fewer calories and more beta carotene than pasta and you've got way more than a substitution. Did I also mention that this recipe is super fast to make?

Fast, delicious, and good for me? Win, win, win. As you can see, I've come a long way since elementary school. Just don't ask me to give up chocolate for carob anytime soon. 

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Tomato, Olives and Chicken


  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or 2 cups already cooked, shredded chicken)
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, drained and chopped (can substitute Kalamata olives)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (in the winter I use 1 1/2 T dried basil)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Arrange the spaghetti squash halves, cut side down, in the bottom of a shallow, microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high until flesh is tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, 3-5 minutes (if using already cooked chicken, skip this step and add the chicken with the tomatoes and seasonings). Add the tomatoes, olives, basil and oregano, bring to a simmer, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about another 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat the broiler.
  4. Flip the spaghetti squash over and, using a fork, pull the strands from it, making spaghetti-like pieces. Season the flesh with salt and pepper. Make a slight "hole" in the center of each squash half to make room for the filling, then spoon the filling into squash halves. Sprinkle the top of each with feta cheese. Transfer the stuffed squash to a baking sheet or roasting pan and place under the broiler. Broil until the cheese is golden brown, about 2 minutes, then serve.
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 15 min Serves: 4

Recipe Source: Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller

20 Click For Comments:

Looks delicious! I have actually never had spaghetti squash but find it very intriguing. 

This looks so flavorful and satisfying. The presentation is so beautiful! Yum.

Not gonna lie. Spaghetti squash terrifies me. :) But I love your stories about elementary school, especially as I read about people these days who are eating pink slime coated meat. :( 

I love this! What a fun and delicious idea for a special dinner. It's so easy I could make it on a weeknight too. Thanks for the great idea! Pinned!

We tried spaghetti squash about a year ago at one of our local restaurants.  They had it listed as one of their side dishes.  We thought why not....WOW it is great.  It has its own unique taste.  Naturally sweet with a bit of a crunch.  Really looking forward to trying this recipe.

You gotta love spaghetti squash!  Looks tasty!

Gorgeous photos! I've never actually cooked with spaghetti squash...I think I'm sort of scared of it! But your pictures and this recipe truly look amazing... so I just might have to venture into it!

Wow, sounds like your school was way ahead of its time!  I've never had carob, but I think you've convinced me to steer clear :)  I've also never had spaghetti squash, though I definitely want to try this recipe.  It sounds great!

Sounds delicious. I made spaghetti squash for the first time last week and was pleasantly surprised ! 

Great presentation. That recipe looks terrific.

Love your blog...I will be back often

That looks so YUMMY!!!  How many calories do you think it has per serving??

You know, I wouldn't be able to give you an accurate estimate, but this calorie calculator might help. http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

love the recipe...except the part about using a microwave...eeks!

can do very similar recipe in crock pot

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Olives, Tuna and String CheeseRecipe courtesy Robin Miller
.Prep Time:10 minInactive Prep Time:-- Cook Time:3 minLevel:EasyServes:4 servings.Ingredients2 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped1 teaspoon dried oreganoSalt and ground black pepper2 tablespoons green olive brine (from the olive jar)2 (6-ounce) cans chunk white tuna in water, drainedString cheese1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leavesDirectionsArrange the spaghetti squash halves in the bottom of a slow cooker.
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Spoon the mixture over the spaghetti squash. Pour the olive brine in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
When ready to serve, using a fork, "loosen" the squash slightly, creating spaghetti-like strands. Spoon the tomato sauce over the squash, top each piece with some tuna, string cheese, and basil and serve.

We eat spaghetti squash regularly..a favorite way is to cut squash and clean out seeds..put cut side down into shallow pan add a bit of water and put in oven at 350 until skin pierces easily with fork..when cool enough shred out of skin and mix it with spaghetti add sauce...yummy.

I found your recipe via Pinterest and made it for dinner tonight. It was delicious and as easy as you suggest in your post! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful dish!

Isn't Pinterest just amazing? I'm glad you liked the recipe!

Thank you for your pin... I tried making this late night and it was AWESOME!!!! My kids totally loved it... Thank you again...

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