moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash

I keep promising you all some quick, easy recipes but sharing instead a mousse that requires at least five bowls and an electric mixer that must be washed down no less than three times, a quiche that has at least three different components, cauliflower that demands you cook each ingredient separately and a from-scratch doughnut recipe that entails reducing, rolling, freezing, frying and dipping. I have no doubt that you’re standing out there in front of your monitor, hands on hips, demanding answers. Except I don’t have any logic or rationale that will explain I choose to use my limited free minutes of time to make elaborate recipes and not, say, dinner, I only have this one peace offering today.

spaghetti squashscooping out seedsspaghetti squash innardsroasted

There’s a caveat, however. This is a ridiculously quick recipe if you have a microwave. We used to but don’t any longer so it still took over an hour, but it’s an hour that requires only a few minutes of hands-on time. Still, it is my favorite preparation of spaghetti squash, not only because it is delicious but because it approaches winter squash in my favorite way: by waking it up. I’ve never had a taste for squash recipes with cream or sugar or piles of cinnamon; I think the natural sweetness of squash is best contrasted with bolder ingredients, like garlic and tahini, jalapenos, olives and preserved lemons, chile-lime vinagrettes, hearty beans and ham or cayenne-dusted caramelized onions. I think you get the picture.

scraping the squash strands

But this is the simplest one yet, while also being one of the first winter squash recipes I made, and one of the first times I noted how Gourmet always raised the bar, even on simple recipes. I’d say especially on simple recipes. It’s such a shame they won’t be around to do this any longer — and an even bigger shame that their publishers didn’t see or couldn’t find the viability in moving a brand in their prime online — but I’m glad I at least have their archives of speedy gems like these for those increasingly frequent times when the real fun is outside the kitchen.

talking to the farm animals

One year ago: Pepita Brittle, Cottage Cheese Pancakes and Consummate Chocolate Cookies
Two years ago: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sautéed Apples and Roasted Stuffed Onions
Three years ago: Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters and Dreamy Cream Scones

Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from Gourmet

Cooking spaghetti squash in your microwave is super-quick, but roasting it isn’t much more work — I’ve made it both ways and it works equally well. This works great as a side, but I tried something different this time and bulked it up with canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed. We had it with couscous but if I had thought of it sooner, it would also be great with some sautéed greens.

Serves 4

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, if you’re cilantro-averse

To cook the squash in a microwave: Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.

To roast the squash, two methods: If you’d like to roast the squash whole, pierce it all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting and bake it in a 375°F oven for one hour. If you are good with a big, sharp kinfe, you can save some time by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is barely golden. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.

If you have microwaved or roasted your squash whole, carefully halve it lengthwise (it will give off a lot of steam) and remove the seeds.

Carefully halve squash lengthwise (it will give off steam) and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with the spiced butter and cilantro.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

239 comments on moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash

  1. Amber

    I think my favorite part of the blog now is getting a little visual dessert at the end of every recipe! You have the cutest baby I’ve ever seen : )

  2. Jenny in NYC

    Oh yum! Spaghetti squash will always remind me of my childhood. I think it was the first vegetable I fell in love with. I will be making this soon!

  3. Spaghetti squash is a staple in my house because it makes me feel like I’m having something not as good for me (aka actual spaghetti) and it’s so versatile. I’ll have to try this version if I can ever resist the temptation to just roast it, butter, salt, & pepper it. yay autum! yay Jacob & his overwhelming cuteness!

  4. I ate spaghetti squash only once in my life. My mom cooked it. (She’s not the best cook.) The experience was not one to remember. You make it look so pretty, I consider giving it a second chance. This time I’ll cook it!
    Yeah, I’m with you about not using too much spice to overwhelm the natural flavor of the veg + spending time ouitside the kitchen watching a beautiful child.
    OK, mine is starting to nag, so off I go…

  5. Jenn C.

    Now I see why a little bird whispered in my ear at the market this week and told me to buy a spaghetti squash! This looks delicious, can’t wait to make it this weekend.

  6. I keep looking at the spaghetti squash at the farmer’s market, but have been so unsure of how to make it. Definitely going to make this, thanks for posting a quick recipe.

  7. Spaghetti squash makes me swoon. It’s great sprinkled with parma too.

    I just tried microwaving it for the first time last weekend. I cut it and put it in water though and it came out super gooshy. So, microwave it whole is what you’re telling us?

  8. If I were to run for some kind of office, perhaps I would run on the platform that spaghetti squash should always be roasted. In a real oven. Not that of the microwave variety. That just seems wrong somehow.

    That said, what a great combo of flavors! And what a sweetheart on his little playmat–he looks like he’s ready to start getting busy really soon!

  9. Micki

    (-: Those apple cider donuts *were* a pain in the butt, and I wound up making fried strips instead of donuts. But the whole family *loved* them, and the leftovers were also delicious with some fried apples on top, baked until warm, then served with whipped cream. perfect (-:

    And if I had a spaghetti squash, I’d be trying this, too! Thanks for all the goodies! (And the bonus baby pics!! (-:)

  10. I keep seeing spaghetti squash at the farmer’s market but haven’t a clue what to make with it…this recipe looks so simple and delicious I am going to have to pick up a squash this week! Thanks!

  11. I have two spaghetti squash sitting on my counter right now! My husband was planning on making something exciting with them, but he never got around to it so I thought I would just cook them up and serve them with a nice tomato sauce… boring! This sound great-I can’t wait to give it a try!

  12. kt

    Have you ever boiled spaghetti squash? I know it doesn’t sound promising, but honestly, I think the texture comes out way better (and it takes less time than roasting). I actually tested the two methods side-by-side (on two different halves of the same squash) out of curiosity.

    To boil, just halve and seed the squash, then lower into a big pot of boiling water for anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. Since the squash has been halved, you can easily test to see if it’s tender enough. Believe it or not, it does not become waterlogged or mushy! Eager to try this recipe, as my husband and I are both huge spaghetti squash fans.

  13. This looks delicious, I’ve been looking for something to do with spaghetti squash. Butternut squash and acorn squash both show up in my kitchen quite often in fall, but not spaghetti squash. I’ll have to try this! Also loving the baby pictures, he’s beautiful.

  14. you continue to amaze me. You do realize that every time I need to cook ANYTHING I visit Smitten Kitchen first & foremost? and guess what, you’ve never failed to come to my rescue. this dish looks fabulous .. beautiful color and with some roasted chestnuts, this might make a beautiful addition to the Thanksgiving spread…

  15. Barbara

    This is exactly what I’ve been craving. Thanks Deb. Can’t wait to try it. And of course, Jacob looks absolutely adorable (as usual). Keep the pictures of him coming – I know we all enjoy them.

  16. Symphonic Chef

    Mmm… with Thanksgiving coming up, it will be fun to try several of your spiced-up squash recipes! Speaking of Thanksgiving, have you ever stuffed a duck into a chicken? We are wondering how to do this. Thanks!

  17. ricasuave

    His Royal Cuteness is also QUITE the well-dressed man about town, isn’t he?? Since the mister and I are embarking on South Beach to drop a few pounds, I’m definitely going to dry this recipe … I bet it would work well with Baharat spice blend, as well (which contains the above plus cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg)

  18. Geri S.

    Spaghetti Squash is such a wonderful veggie I adore it, you can do so many things with it and your way sounds grand I’m going to get one tomorrow and use your recipe. I love your spices and just reading about it makes my mouth water. Jacob must enjoy all the wonderful aromas coming out of his mom’s kitchen. He looks so content lying there. Love his outfit so manly. Everyone have a great weekend!

  19. Katrina

    Thank YOU!! I have a spaghetti squash and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I also bought Rice Krispies for the Browned Butter Salted version tonight! Making them for a baby shower on Saturday. Thank you, thank you!

    I also made the Apple Cider Doughnuts last week and all my friends (on our “gift” list) loved them. My 4 and 2-year old kids loved helping with the prep and decor (I banned them from the kitchen during the frying).

    Sweet baby boy too – you are a wise Mama to do what fuels your soul when he’s sleeping or otherwise occupied. Everyone has their thing – reading, writing, baking, cooking, etc. Elaborate recipes?! Sure!! Good for you.

  20. linda

    i will def make this recipe…YUM… but…
    the “GEM” of this post is jacob…he is
    thriving & this photo of him & the lighting is just great!

  21. I never would have thought that you could microwave squash–does it work on all varieties of winter squash? that could certainly make things like squash soup more accesible on a weeknight. because even we without babies sometimes have a hard time getting dinner on the table on a weeknight!

  22. i adore winter squash and this recipe looks absolutely delectable. however, i must admit that although i am a huge s*k fan (and that lately, you’ve been posting recipes for the EXACT thing i’ve been thinking about the evening or morning before i find your post in my inbox), it’s pictures of the ‘lil guy that i hope to find most of all. he’s one of the most adorable babies i’ve ever seen and i truly appreciate your willingness to share morsels of him with your digital fans!

  23. joylynn

    To Beth#39: I make acorn squash in the microwave with the piercing method when we are short of time. It works great! Usually takes about 7-8 minutes in my 1100 watt microwave depending on the size of the squash.

  24. Interesting! I’ve never done anything exciting with spaghetti squash due to lack of recipes, intelligence or something else. Not sure. Usually just roast it, scrape it, dump pasta sauce on it and chow down. This, however, sounds delicious, tasty and easy. Will try it soon.

  25. Please Deb, do no apologize. If there is any time that I want to be puttering around the kitchen it’s fall. Plus, the 93 degree Phoenix heat around dinner time is enough to keep me inside as it is. May as well be productive.

  26. ALinDC

    Perfect timing– I just bought a spaghetti squash and have been trying to figure out what to do with it other than throw on some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon…this looks divine!

  27. Elizabeth L.

    The only time I microwaved spaghetti squash it turned out watery and tasteless, but now I will give it another go with this recipe.

    Jacob looks absolutely perfect. The look of wonder on his face is very nicely enhanced by your use of the gorgeous light.

  28. I have never prepared spaghetti squash. I know it is unheard of for a food’s teacher. This should be easy enough and another great recipe to share with my class. We are studying fruits and vegetables as I write this comment. Baby pictures are adorable!!!

  29. I contemplated the spaghetti squash last weekend at the store. Then I realized I needed to empty the food I already have in the fridge before I went around stuffing it with more. It’s like a disease. I am now, however, mourning the squash that could be waiting for me to turn it into this. Delicious!

  30. Ok, the spaghetti squash looks look but not nearly as cute as what’s laying on the blanket. I just did some spaghetti squash with clams, mussells and shrimp (substituting the spaghetti squash for the pasta I normaly use).

  31. I ALWAYS thought, BEFORE I HAD MY KIDS, that they hardly cried – not too fussy – slept on que – back then, I got all my mothering skills WATCHING TV! WOWZERS was I ever wrong! I just love the photo of Jacob posted. He looks so so cute!

  32. Jil

    ohh, he is just too cute! such a stylish little man! :) i love the sounds of this recipe…my mom is obsessed with spaghetti squash; i might just have to make this for her.

  33. p.j.

    Thanks, I am going to try this Sunday night for dinner – – with the chickpeas. I bought 2 spaghetti squash at the last day of our farmer’s market last week, and haven’t gotten around to searching for a good recipe.
    Your acorn squash with chili-lime vinagrette is terrific. I am planning to make it for Thanksgiving.
    Thanks also for the pictures of Jacob–he is gorgeous and reminds me of my own son, who will be 20 in 6 weeks.

  34. head mama

    a delicious, easy, healthy,fairly guilt free recipe- very autumnal which I miss very much being from New England but living in Florida. Which makes me wonder…what about thoughts on Thanksgiving sides??

  35. i love the simplicity of this – basic and just enough spice, exactly the way i enjoy cooking. i’ve been meaning to pick up a spaghetti squash! your son, by the way, is absolutely precious.

  36. Little Jacob is so angelic under his gym! Your photography transcends beautiful in all realms. My patient turned me on to Smitten Kitchen and I am hooked. Am a big fan of spaghetti squash so will try this tonite! Thank you for all the inspiration! JJ, MD

  37. I just realized how very cool it is that they call it “spaghetti squash”. My kids will, I’m sure, think that is hilarious. And weird. And then, they’ll have to touch it and hold it in their hands. And maybe that’ll be enough to get them to eat it.

    It’s a process, after all…

    Love how simple it is! Thanks!

  38. That looks super tasty. I’ve been resisting the urge to add lentils to everything. I’m sure I could cook up some tasty lentils up and add them to the squash once it is out of the oven.

    (And I have a ton of cumin. It’s one of my favorite spices.)

  39. NicM

    Oh fantastic! I also prefer my squash with savory seasoning rather than sweet, but for some reason spaghetti squash has never appealed to me. I think this recipe could change that and the easy prep is perfect while I’m down with an injured hip. More easy recipes, please!

  40. I love squash like it’s my job, although I’ve never (not yet) been a fan of spaghetti…I tried to make a spaghetti squash pesto dish not so long ago that was edible, but only because it was doused in very good olive oil and fresh basil.

    I’m thinking that spices might be a better flavour pairing with squash than herbs…maybe I’ll give it one more go…

  41. Jen

    Spaghetti squash is a new favourite at our house. My husband came up with using preserved lemons in the mix as well, after we got some for Christmas. It is REALLY good. With garlic and salt and some olive oil! Yes!

  42. It feels like everything is just squash central these days, and I dig it. I really hate winter, but if it weren’t for squash it would be totally intolerable, I mean at least there are delicious dinners like this one to make up for the absurdly cold weather. I am in Montreal, where the weather is unjustly cold although I guess it’s my fault for choosing to move up to Canada. I can’t get over how impressive you are, new mom and constantly the food blogger extraordinaire.

  43. Toni

    I swear I’m part Morracon but my Polish aunt says otherwise. I can’t stop using cumin and coriander and can’t wait to use it on my just home from the market spaghetti squash. thanks for this!

  44. Thanks for sharing all the pics of your little guy. Just wait until he is old enough to help out in the kitchen like my little gal Elli. She turned 8 yesterday and helped make her birthday dessert with me. (You can see pics on my blog of the Strawberry Napolean we made last night.) It does take some patience, and things can get messy, but it’s all worth it.

  45. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I love spaghetti squash, and this is a new way for me to try it.

    And I feel the same way about Gourmet. It seems we are at a prime time for food writing when people seem to really be turning back towards natural, local, fresh. I have just recently discovered Gourmet magazine and I am so sad to see it go. I’m not kidding when I say this, but my VERY FIRST issue as a subscriber was simultaneously my VERY LAST issue. Yup, November 2009 was the first of my subscription. :(

  46. Thanks for posting this. During the squash months I don’t go the spaghetti route often enough. This take makes me want to try it tonight! Not to mention, I’ll put cumin and cayenne in just about anything…

  47. I have a spaghetti squash on the counter! My husband is on an elimination diet and can’t eat the pesto I usually toss it with. If I sub olive oil for the butter and leave out the cayenne – we can all eat this! Thanks for that bit of inspiration.

  48. Stoich91

    I’ve never tried spaghetti squash, but it sounds like loads of fun. Also loads of fun? The Skip*Hop barnyard activity mat, up-the-fun-factor-ante with a cute baby, included, free of charge! Ha! :) Your baby pics are as beautiful as your food photography; stunning and inspiring, especially for a new mom!!!

  49. PG

    Definitely going to try this for my sister’s visit this weekend — the recipe says Moroccan but the spices (especially cilantro) match my mom’s cupboard, so this looks like a spin on some childhood flavors.

    If you are taking requests for certain types of recipes … I would love to accumulate more recipes that aren’t necessarily quick in total time, but that require very little preparation time and that get their magic in the oven. I have an oven that’s still new enough to be quite accurate, so recipes that call for a certain amount of time in the oven (instead of relying on my dubious judgment of “done”) are the most reliable for me.

    E.g., I made the Momofuku pork buns last weekend (albeit buying the steam buns in Chinatown rather than wrestling with yeast), and they were shockingly easy in terms of the total amount of prep. Dump sugared saltwater in a bag with a couple lbs of pork belly before you go to bed; take it out the next day after lunch and cook it covered for 3 hours; then give it some time uncovered at a higher temperate for the fat to get golden and crispy; chill the meat and then cut it into strips; warm it back up in the oven for 15 minutes while dicing a cucumber and scallions and steaming the buns.

    The total prep time for this was about 30 minutes (including the time to clean the fridge when I didn’t put the brine bag in a bowl and it started leaking water), and didn’t require much exercise of judgment. And I think judgment is what separates you amazing folks who can Cook from those of us who can Read a recipe.

  50. dana828

    I’m with Shauna on the roasting bit–it’s the only way to go! Spaghetti squash is my daughter’s favorite veggie, and I just happened to pick one up today! We usually do a quick chunky tomato sauce and chicken sausage with it, but this recipe sounds amazing!

  51. Beautiful and fresh, and easy to boot. I’m game! To think you do all those complicated dishes with a (super cute!!) baby is proof of your amazing-ness. As a new mom myself, I rely on easy stuff. Not too easy, but no mousse or nothing that requires numerous steps and ingredients. I applaud you. Keep on chooglin’!

  52. I just ate my first hard winter squash of the season last night! Timely. Nothing feels more comforting than the smell of squash roasting in the oven. And the color?! Gorgeous. Thanks for the idea. I need to break out of the same old salt, olive oil, and little sprinkle of brown sugar.

  53. Elizabeth

    I highly recommend taking the seeds out before cooking it because you can roast them like you do with pumpkin seeds. In fact, my family has come to the conclusion that we think spaghetti squash seeds are even better than pumpkin seeds!

  54. crazy. i toodled over here just to check to see if you had any recipes for spaghetti squash since i have on on the kitchen counter. and here this is!! thanks for dinner!!

  55. I am so happy I discovered Spaghetti squash a few years ago. This is one of the easiest squash to work around, especially with a microwave. I do take the seeds out first. I never tried it with Moroccan spices (but will). I generally serve it as a “squashotto”: adding in onions, mushrooms, peas, Parmesan and a little bit of creme fraiche!

  56. my oh my! spaghetti squash is my all time favorite fast dinner! usually i just use pesto or butter – both are favorites. i’m excited to try a new twist with it! thanks!

  57. Lenore

    Deb, once again you have grokked my dilemma from all the way across the country. I finally cooked one of the two (!!) spaghetti squashes I got from our CSA at least two months ago. I hadn’t has spaghetti squash in many years and, I have to say, my reaction was “meh”. So I for days I’ve had cooked squash in the fridge with nothing to recommend it…until now.

    By the way, would this freeze well? Even tasty stuff can go bad, since there’s only one of me and many cups of squash to eat.

  58. Danna

    i’ve been enjoying your recipes but this is the first time i’ve had all the ingredients to make one :) perfect opportunity to use my final summer csa stuff. last time i cooked spaghetti squash i mixed it with some greens and beans.. a little too much going on. diggin the simplicity with this one. thanks for the inspiration!

  59. Dennie Raviv

    I love your middle eastern recipes. They are very authentic, not the American adaptions one usually finds.
    2 comments: Have you tried a Tunisian cold pumpkin “salad” ( more of relish or side dish) with lots of garlic and cumin and hot pepper . I can send you recipe if you are interested.
    2. have you seen the cookbook Ottolenghi, the cookbook – only out in U.K. (with UK measdurements) has great middleeastern fare and beautiful photos.
    I continue to enjoy your site it is definately a cut above the rest!!!!
    Dennie Raviv, Nes Ziona, Israel, vacationing in Palm Beach

  60. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your recipes. I don’t always follow them exactly I usually just throw in a pinch of this or dollop of that, but the colors are such an inspiration and I LOVE your way with spices. And such a sweet baby, he’ll soon need some fun kitchen tools to play with!

  61. I’m with you on saying no to sugary squash recipes! Thanks for the simple fix – will be buying squash at the store this weekend.

    What beautiful winter light in your little one’s picture!! That bleached, thin, muted light is what I love about winter.

  62. OK another confession on my part. You need to know that now I come here for the photo of “the monkey” first, and then I go back up and read your great text and drool over your photos, (when there’s drool left from ogling Budro!) .Confession is good for the soul. Now I’m thinking this squash is something i might give a whirl.

    I’ve added you to my favorite sites on my blog as well. You really do a terrific job.

  63. Jenn C.

    Oh goodness, this was delicious! I think I might cut down a little on the amount of butter next time – although the buttery richness was awesome, it was a little overwhelming after a while.

  64. Jen S

    HI! The Moroccan spices really brighten up the squash. Thanks for the tip. And I too am sad to see the end of Gourmet Magazine. Did you know since it’s part of the Epicurious business many old Gourmet recipes are available on the Epi website.

    1. deb

      Jen S — Yes, but not their Web exclusive recipes. (I’ve used many, such as the Lebanese Eggplant and the Chocolate Pudding Pie.) And there won’t be any new ones.

  65. Lindsey

    Hi Deb!

    My housemate and I made your squash tonight. We had a pumpkin left over from Halloween instead, but wow! The Moroccan Spice was a great change from the typical butter/brown sugar combo! Delish!!!
    (PS- also goes great with a bit of rotisserie chicken.)


  66. Rhonda

    Cool squash recipe adn just in time for Thanksgiving…another vegan recipe for the SIL as olive oil will replace the butter. Will have to go find one now to practice. I laughed out loud at the comment about you telling Jacob about the farm animals. He’s not going to be a vegan huh. Glad to know it wasn’t zoo animals. I just donated my son’s zoo mobiles as I thought it was time to let go after 12 years. Wonder why the makers of these things don’t put veggies on them?

  67. This looks SO good. I’ve never tried spaghetti squash for some reason; really, I have no clue why. And big thanks for the non-cilantro option. I’m one of those people with the cilantro = soap thing.

  68. Philippe

    Wow. That was great — I added a pinch of cinnamon, steamed green beans, and some garbanzo beans, next to some lemon-olive bulghur…best meal I’ve cooked in a long time!

  69. Rachel

    I made the butter sauce to toss over some roasted delicata squash, and it was terrific. I think this would work well with any roasted squash. Thank you for this versatile recipe, Deb!

  70. Nancy from PA

    Love, love, love the spaghetti squash! And, love the Emperor and his new clothes! Too cute! Ditto on the sentiments re Gourmet. The reason I subscribed to Gourmet and NOT Bon Appetit was BECAUSE of the lack of advertising. I suppose they just don’t get it. I would have paid WAY more than $13 a year for the magazine. Hope they keep the iPhone app and content.

  71. Ruth

    This is excellent. Run don’t walk to your nearest market to buy a spaghetti squash to try this! This is fabulous. Everyone loved it. So easy and delicious.Thanks Deb!

  72. Jessica

    What perfect timing! I have had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter for the past two weeks, not quite knowing what I was going to do with it. Now I have my recipe. Thank you.

  73. Shazza

    I will definitely be making this, with the chick peas, and probably serving over the greens. Sounds great, and these are my favorite flavors. Except for little baby feet of course! Jacob is cute as can be…what a happy boy! And he is getting so big.

  74. Mary

    This is wonderful. You reminded me how much I love spaghetti squash, even though I don’t care for the Moroccan-spice profile. For tonight’s supper I’m making your sausage-stuffed zucchini boats, and wouldn’t they look cute floating on a little pond of spaghetti squash! We can’t seem to get enough vegetables around here, so YAY to adding another one without just throwing in another salad!
    My favorite way with winter squash and sweet potatoes is just some butter and salt, please!

  75. Thanks for this one, and those other more savory squash recipes. I’m not big on super-sweet veggies (can’t stand sweet potatoes), but have always liked squash whenever it was paired with savory complements. This one is definitely on my list now!

  76. kate

    I’ve looked at your recipes for a while now but I’ve never commented before. My husband made this for dinner last weekend and it was so delicious! As you suggested, we added chickpeas to bulk it up and we didn’t have any on hand, but greens would have been a great side. We’ll definitely make this again.

  77. shelle

    The recipe sounds delicious, thank you. With my last spaghetti squash I seasoned it tex-mex style and used it as a vegetarian taco filling.
    And little Jacob is adorable!

  78. Catherine

    I love the microwave for all vegetables and have found that it’s even easier to slice up the squash before nuking — no steam to deal with. ;-)

  79. Jessica

    Loved it! Thank you so much for the inspiration! I’d forgotten what a beautiful veggie spaghetti squash is. Now I can’t wait to make it again. My kids were totally intrigued by such an interesting dish. :)

  80. Clio

    My little muffin is 3.5 months and likes to keep me company in her Bjorn while I do dinner prep, then the play mate while i do the parts involving heat. At any rate, we did this recipe yesterday but added in some onoins/garlic/ginger/broccoli with the squash & chickpeas- it made a really substantial meal along with a light cucumber salad! The only thing is, I roasted the squash for an hour in the oven, and then it was pliable enough to work with but still too starchy to eat. I ended up simmering it, as spaghetti, for quite a while with the broccoli etc and it cooked enough to be tasty but i’m wondering what went wrong. Was it just an exceptionally big squash? At any rate, thanks for the inspiration!!

  81. Glenda

    I finally got around to making this last night, it was just great. I added a little grated Parmesan before serving. As a vegetarian I thank you for all the wonderful recipes that end up on my table. Cooking the squash in the microwave worked GREAT! can you cook other hard squashes the same way?

  82. Meg

    I love this website! I made your stewed lentils on Saturday night, and I made this tasty squash last night with roasted potatoes and broccoli. Delicious! Thanks Deb!

  83. I’ve been a lurker on this site for quite some time now… I read a lot of food blogs, but I think yours is my favorite. Your photography and your recipies are always knockouts.

    I made the Moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash last night, and added about two cups of Swiss chard sauteed in olive oil. I though it was yummy and unusual – it has a nice amount of heat to it, too. My husband wasn’t too taken with it though, he said the cumin flavor dominated too much. I’d like to try it with chick peas, as you suggested – I was also thinking some golden raisins and sliced almonds might be nice, too. Also, microwaving the squash worked like a charm. Thanks, Deb!

  84. Roo

    I made this last night – I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the microwaving worked – however, the cumin falvor dominated to the point where it was all i could taste. I am trying to think of ways to temper it after the fact. maybe i can add garam masala, or curry powder to even it out tonight? Any ideas?

  85. So happy you posted this. I have a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter that I have no idea what to with. Furthermore, the boy has said, “I’m not eating that!” Maybe he’ll give this a shot. I will definitely take the suggestion about the greens and also the almonds and raisins.

  86. Lonna

    This year my garden produced over 30+ 3-4 lb. Spaghetti Squash. I roasted them all and either froze them or dehydrated them. Now I have to come up with some different recipes other than marinara or alfredo sauce. Thanks for the recipe! Will try this weekend for family.

  87. Marjy

    I love just about all squash, but the common preparation of using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute has never been to my liking as the sauce always seemed to overwhelm the squash. This, however, looks to be right up my alley!

  88. It’s been ages since I’ve had spaghetti squash. My children used to ask me to make it all the time. Like Lizzie (who also sent a comment) cannot find this variety in England. Your little buster is so cute !

  89. I have to add my two cents about the yumminess of this spaghetti squash recipe! I never would have used Moroccan spices, but they were great! Hubby loved it. We had chicken thighs, pan fried with it. I like the strong flavor they have. Chicken breast, though less fattening, tastes like nothing to me. Thanks for your great pictures of your food and Jacob!

  90. I am totally with you on the savory, spicy winter squash dishes! The natural sweetness of the squash works so well when combined with contrasting tangy and spicy flavors. I love spaghetti squash and was trying to think of a different way to prepare it, and I was thinking it would be nice sauteed in a ginger-thyme butter. All of the recipes I found while googling for inspiration also called for honey or brown sugar, and I thought, really? Does it really need that? Seeing this recipe convinces me that it will turn out just great without any extra carbs. Thank you for sharing.

  91. Stephanie

    LOVED IT! Along with pretty much everything I’ve tried from your blog.
    I tried to cut back on the butter, but ended up adding some at the end. It’s a beautiful combination and, really, what’s wrong with a little butter on your spaghetti squash? We had it with lentils. Perfect.

  92. Laurie

    I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. I had all of the ingredients plus a pot of Rancho Gordo garbanzo beans, so decided to give it a try. It was so, so, so good. I am looking forward to having the leftovers tomorrow.

  93. Adrienne

    I can’t wait to try this tonight. Usually I don’t buy spaghetti squash ’cause I find it on the bland side, but this sounds great. Might have it with quinoa. I too am anti- sugar & cinnamon squash recipes. Yuck. If I wanted pumpkin pie that’s what I’d make.

  94. Chris

    I made this last night, adding a can of chick peas in order to pass it off as a main dish. It had surprising good flavor for such a simple preparation. Thanks for passing this one along.

  95. Liz D.

    I don’t know why I never thought of this! I love cumin; it is hands-down my favorite spice. The spices in this were delightful. Really perked up the sometimes heaviness of the squash. Thanks for such a simple and helpful suggestion.

  96. Kris McG

    This was wonderful! I tend to shy away from spaghetti squash because I don’t really care for tomato-ey preps for it, but I had to do something with the squash that showed up in the CSA share. This was it and was it ever yummy. A big hit w/ all in my family.

  97. Gale

    Made this last night and loved it! Crazy easy. I’d never made it before and it will definitely be added to my repetoire. Had it as a side dish sans chickpeas, but will add them next time (perhaps with the recommended greens too) to turn it into a great vegetarian entree. Thanks!

  98. Val L.

    I just finished stuffing myself full of this–delicious! Even my 4 year old daughter and vegetable-averse husband enjoyed it. Thanks for a great recipe!

  99. Vrie

    Made this and loved it! (Make a lot of your stuff and love it!) I’ve been using the leftovers to make salads with shredded brussels sprouts and shaved carrots, toasted pecans, and a little extra moroccan spice, all tossed together in a pan for a couple minutes, with a handful of golden raisins thrown in at the end. Wanted to share it because it’s my new favorite leftover-lunch! Thanks for your ideas!

  100. I love spaghetti squash, but I’m obsessed with very flavoral dishes and this is the perfect solution. While your recipes and voice truly make for such a wonderful read each week – your photos are outstanding and really make this blog rise above so many of the food blogs out there. Congrats and keep cooking. (and baking too please).

  101. Margret

    I made this for a dinner party and it was much adored (and requested for a Thanksgiving dinner I’m going to). I did a hybrid cooking method – put it in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes to get it a little softer so I could cut it in half more easily and to jumpstart the cooking. Then, I put it in the oven for the rest of the cooking to get the roasted flavor.

  102. Catherine

    Hello there! What a wonderful recipe, and it seems like I’m going to have fun searching your blog for more… I so TOTALLY agree with you that Gourmet was one of the best magazines ever! It saddens me to see that once more, money rules over art …
    Take care,

  103. annie

    I used your recipe for Thanksgiving and added a little bit of coconut oil (leftover from when I made your oatmeal carrot cookies- also yum!) and it was a hit! Thanks for the recipe!
    I had an extra squash so I made it again last night with some plumped golden raisins (butter, vinegar, water) and lots of chopped garlic. I also found using metal tongs to be helpful, instead of a fork.

  104. Have made this twice now. Delicious and satisfying. We’ve had it both ways: with couscous and then with sauteed spinach and chickpeas. Both wonderful. Thank you!

  105. Sue

    Don’t laugh but it’s not simple enough for me — melting butter in a separate container is not something I’d do except for maybe for Christmas. I want lots of herbs and healthy things but throw it all in one dish and nuke it quick. Nothing else will do!

  106. Jendorf

    I was tempted this week by a particularly beautiful spaghetti squash in the grocery store. . .it brough back memories of something I’d loved as a child and haven’t had since!
    So, I came home, searched for a recipe, and you totally delivered (as usual). This was the perfect pairing with my lemon roast chicken, and it got me out of my roast chicken/starch side/veg side rut. . .
    I got 2 thumbs up from my 4-year-old son, my 2-year old gobbled it up, but my 6-year old thought it was too spicy for her. I would make this again in a heartbeat, but I’ll cut the cayenne a bit next time just to make everyone happy.

  107. ilse

    Thanks for this delicious looking recipe! It’s what inspired me to try spaghetti squash!

    i wanted to ask if someone somehow makes use of the seeds? could you dry them like pumpkin seeds?

    thanks! and i’ll concur on the cuteness of your little boy!

  108. Susan

    Oh, this is squash is fabulous! I just made this for dinner, and it was wonderful–so flavorful. I too do not like sweet vegetables made even sweeter–I prefer them more savory. ( I love roasted sweet potato fries with plenty of salt and pepper!) This recipe came together super-quick, and cooking the squash in the microwave was great. I inadvertently made it a Smitten Kitchen night, as I am now finishing off the vanilla roasted pears I made from this site two nights ago. (Also really great!) Reading your stuff is such a treat, and you do have one of the cutest babies on Earth!

  109. I’m 19 and just started getting into cooking and baking and I made this recipe for lunch today and it was SOOO good. I love that I can make it in the microwave so I can eat yummy and healthy food when I go away to college! It was super quick and I was practically drooling as I was eating it. Thanks for such an awesome recipe!

  110. I made this squash recipe twice last week. Once for myself and my husband, with all the ingredients actually listed in the recipe. And once without any butter and about half the spices for my parents (at their house). It was AMAZING the first time. It was really good the second time too – I substituted for the spices as best I could – although I def. recommend sticking to the recipe. I switched out the butter for just two tablespoons of olive oil and since I don’t normally cook with butter, I think I’ll do that at my own house next time too.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes. It all looks so delicious, and I’ve got a list as long as my arm that I want to try.

  111. Mandy

    Yum! I just had this for dinner and it was great. I added a few cashew pieces and a splash of lemon juice, which I think complemented the flavors quite well.

  112. Turner

    Made this today for a late lunch during the big snowstorm in the NE. Delicious! As noted by another commenter, my squash took MUCH longer to roast than 40 minutes. He was a bit of a big boy, but I think my main problem was that I followed the photos and not the written instructions so I put the squash halves in the pan cut-side up. When I realized my error, I flipped them and 20 minutes later they were done to perfection. I think there is some steaming action that happens when they are cut-side down. I look forward to making this frequently! Thank you.

  113. Jennifer

    This was delicious. I made it for dinner last night but added some garbanzo beans and turkey sausage. Then ate it for lunch today. And will eat it again tomorrow. The only thing I will do differently next time is not allow it to explode in the microwave :(

  114. jenniegirl

    Totally awesome in the microwave (started in the oven…oven caught on fire…baking soda to the rescue, and squash in the microwave). Anyway, dinner was saved and yummy (added bits of leftover steak and couscous)…guess I’m cleaning the oven tomorrow….Spaghetti Squash is our new staple.

  115. Rebecca

    I made this recipe today and it turned out completely watery and (i’m surprised I’m even saying this) the taste was too buttery. I roasted the squash in the oven and then used only 2 tbsp butter (because it was a smaller squash). What did I do wrong?

  116. Mike B

    What a great dish. I only had coriander seeds and crushing them in the molcajete produced the best lemony fragrance immaginable. To say the truth that fragrance and a bottle of cheap Zinfandel was more than enough dinner for me. Nonetheless, the spiced squash was just wonderful. Acommpanied with a fresh beet salad dressed with vinegar and oil; altogether the meal was a treat! Many thanks.

  117. I think I have already commented on this… but I wanted to tell you that I kicked it up a notch with bacon… I cooked bacon and used the bacon fat in place of butter and then added all of the spices (at my husband’s request). It was quite delicious. Also used Israeli couscous this time for a different texture. Thanks again for sharing this recipe.

  118. Barb

    This is the recipe that got me HOOKED to your blog and with some downtime at work I thought I’d finally comment. I now have to buy 2 squashes when I make this – one to leave on the counter for us to nibble at, the other to actually serve. It’s a hit every time and has gotten spaghetti squash skeptics begging for more! Your blog is FANTASTIC! The writing is hysterical, the pics make me swoon and the layout is so “clean.” But most importantly, I have never had a recipe fail. You are my go to for all things delicious these days. I hope you’re enjoying the cookbook writing process, because I CANNOT WAIT!!

  119. Heather

    Fantastic!! Made this last night with half of the butter, and it was delectable! My husband and I ate half of it, then layered the rest on top of a few goat cheese ravioli, which was amazing. This will be a staple weeknight recipe. So quick and easy!

  120. Lynda

    I’ve only just discovered your blog (thanks to googling pea pesto – delicious recipe by the way). The timing was perfect though, as I had picked up a spaghetti squash in the supermarket, never having heard of it before. I came straight here on the off-chance you may have a recipe or two and was delighted to discover you did. We’ve just enjoyed this as part of a lovely dinner, with some lamb kofta for him and falafel for me. Delicious first encounter with this vegetable. Thanks!

  121. Dear Deb,

    I tried spaghetti squash at first but now use butternut squash instead. I really like it better with the latter. Spaghetti squash has a great texture but butternut has a creamy texture. I make a big batch and mix it with pasta, bulgur wheat or rice- or just eat it with a spoon like Nutella. This has become one of my staple recipes. Thank you!

  122. Deidre

    I just made this last night with a can of chickpeas. It was so tasty and really simple! It will definitely be making a repeat performance in the near future.

  123. SusanL

    I think there should be some sort of 12-step program for this recipe. Like, my co op this time of the year keeps offering boxes and boxes (literally!) of squash, and every time I get spaghetti squash, I just have to make this recipe. (Kinda surprised I don’t know it by memory now.) Great stuff.

  124. i prepared spaghetti squash for the first time last night for my boyfriend’s parents. i had bought the squash a few days ago as a challenge for myself, however, this particular type squash is a cinch to work with. it practically makes itself, all you need to do is add the extra taste, and this recipe does indeed add a soft spicy flavour that everyone at dinner loved. i will be making this again. oh, i used the microwave method which was no hassle at all. thanks for the wonderful recipe sk!

  125. Leah

    I just made this for dinner and it was delicious! I made a few changes, using a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some vegetable stock instead of the butter. I also chopped up a third of a bunch of kale and tossed it with the spices and squash. The textures and flavors were perfect together!

  126. Marissa B in AZ

    Never tried this Spaghetti Squash, I had visions of mush when it comes to squash. Did it in the microwave and it was fantastic! First bite: interesting Second bite: Whoa this is good! The spicy sneaks up on you, just how I like it! Now to figure out what to make with it…

  127. Grace

    I love this recipe! I added in some chili beans for protein. I cooked them in a little oil with garlic and allspice, and it was fantastic!

  128. R

    This is what white people who have never had Moroccan food call “Moroccan”. AKA-not spicy at all. Way too bland, would never use this recipe again.

  129. bergamot

    Made this again tonight. Doubled it as a main for the family (as penance for an overly indulgent dinner last night) and added toasted almonds on top for some protein. So good. And, no, I am not “white” and actually grew up on Indian food. This is a very flavourful dish (though not “spicy” in terms of heat).

  130. Beth

    Delicious! I wanted to beef it up for a main course, too, so I added cauliflower, zucchini, and chickpeas. Subbed olive oil for butter and used less than the recipe called for since I’m trying to be healthy. Definitely needed a lot more garlic and spice than the recipe called for, and I ended up adding 1 Tb of honey and some raisins for some sweetness.

  131. Barbara

    I am new to your site but you have me hooked on this terrific version of sp. squash! I googled how to cook it, looking for something different and this came up! You are so right about the contrasting flavor – never would have thought of it. Even my husband, who claims to not like cumin raved. Makes it something special. Thank you!

  132. ashley

    your site is always my first search when i’m looking for recipes…this came out DELISH. my husband didn’t even ask “where’s the meat?” as he usually does when i go all vegetarian-like on him for a meal! yet another keeper from smitten kitchen :)

  133. hi Deb, I am such a fan of your site! I wanted a spaghetti squash recipe that didn’t pretend the squash *is* actually spaghetti and this fit the bill. I made this with the chickpeas as you suggested, and it turned out so well. I subbed in some coconut oil to replace part of the butter but you gotta have some butter, it makes things yummy. Thank you so much! I’m a new cooking blogger and photographer and you are such an inspiration to me. :)

  134. Michael

    Just a tip on cutting spaghetti squash… the strands actually run concentric around the center, not length-wise.

    When you cut it lengthwise (like in the pics with the recipe) you’re actually cutting it so that when you scrape it, you’ll get really short strings. If you want long spaghetti-like strings, cut across the diameter (in other words, lay the squash on a side and cut roughly 1 – 1.5 in thick discs (more work to scrape the seeds from all the discs though)). Seems counterintuitive, but you get really long strands that way. It’s much more spaghetti like.

  135. CC

    Tested like a Deb-junior :-) YES YES YES to the chickpeas. Adds nice nutty flavor. Yes to the toasted almonds, also. I also tested with toasted pine nuts (which I love) and I surprised myself by preferring the toasted almonds. I vote “no” to the honey. My squash had a nice, barely sweet, delicate flavor that did not benefit from the addition of honey. It sounded better than it tasted :-) LOVE this recipe, will make it often!

  136. This dish is delicious and so easy. We have had it twice now, once with farro and once with couscous. I much prefer it with couscous. I mixed the spiced squash in with the couscous and we had it as a main dish. Yum! Thank you!

  137. Carolyn

    I made this recipe and it was awful! i didn’t think the moroccan spices were a nice compliment to the squash. as i was eating it I was wishing that I opted for a tomato-based recipe instead. I love smitten kitchen — it’s my recipe go-to but this one should be skipped. :(

  138. Diane

    I made this once before and just made it again — it is a delicious side dish. I might prefer a Tbsp less butter, letting the spices do all the heavy lifting. I made it to go with roast chicken and potatoes, and just inhaled the leftovers for lunch. So nice to have a dish that showcases fall produce without being too sweet.

  139. Ro

    Tried this last night and it was delicious to me and the boyfriend alike. RE: Carolyn’s comment above, if you’re like me and don’t care for tomato sauce and squash, DO try this recipe! The Moroccan spices and butter compliment the squash and allow it to retain a little of its inherent sweetness.

  140. Holly Keyes

    Made this with a small spaghetti squash tonight and it was excellent. I made the butter mixture but didn’t pour it all on as there was only about 2 cups of “spaghetti”. We used the leftover butter for the roasted cauliflower – that stuff will rescue any veggie. My housemate tried it and loved it and he is not keen on squash. Roasted in the oven for 45-50 minutes to perfection.

  141. Made this for dinner last night, and it was delicious! Definitely one of my new go-to’s for fall. I served it with sautéed greens, as well as the turkey meatballs from the first Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Such a great weeknight meal!

  142. Carol

    A friend gave me a spaghetti squash last week. Never made it before. Took a breath, found your recipe and went for it. I am embarrassed to say, I was skeptical, but I should have trusted you…it was quite tasty. I did add chick peas as you suggested and was lazy so just ate it like that. Makes a lot. Hope it reheats okay. Tomorrow I will try some of it over cous cous. As usual I can always count on your recipes. Thank you.

  143. I have been making Spaghetti squash in my Instant Pot. It’s super quick and easy. Cut in half, take out seeds, use steamer insert, one cup water, high P for 7 min, manual release. It’s perfect. A tiny bit al dente and delicious. It’s my new favorite starchy veggie which I substitute for a carb.

  144. Gillian

    I just made this for lunch in less than 5 minutes with leftover cooked spaghetti squash from the fridge. Topped with some leftover chana masala (Smitten Kitchen Recipe we had for dinner last night). Fantastic, easy, hearty and vegetarian. Thank you, this is exactly what I needed today!

  145. I used the amount of butter asked for to saute a zucchini, two tomatoes, and the spaghetti squash, and used the leftover to fry an egg in the same pan. It’s still way too buttery! I’ve made this with olive oil before, and it didn’t seem so heavy. Maybe it’s personal preference, but I’m definitely not making it with butter (at least not that much) again.

  146. Lucy

    Still another way to cook spaghetti squash:
    Halve the quash in the middle (not from end to end), using a strong spoon — an ice cream scoop works well — remove the seeds. Place the two halves in a tall pot and add several inches of water. Steam the squash until tender. Cool a little before scraping flesh away from the rind. Discard rind. Takes about 15 minutes.

  147. antislice

    Delicious – I accidentally (truly) browned my butter, and added some preserved lemon and ras el hanout left over from an attempt at tagine & I did the chickpeas. Nearly ate the entire squash’s worth in one sitting! I thought the preserved lemon added lovely little bright notes – pickled onions or lightly pickled raisins/currants would do a similar thing.

    1. deb

      Are you using CTRL + P or the print icon under the recipe? If you do, you should get a clean page. (I just checked that this one is working.)

  148. Baltimom

    If using a big sharp knife on a large spaghetti squash is terrifying to you (guilty), try using a pumpkin carving kit. The small serrated tool does a good job of getting through the exterior. I am trying this recipe tonight with the crisped chickpeas recipe (minus the zucchini and possibly minus the yogurt).

  149. Jackie

    Went to the Farmer’s Market (indoors, it’s 5 degrees out) and picked up a spaghetti squash on a whim. Came to Smitten Kitchen because I knew you’d have a wonderful way to cook it- cooking it in the microwave was so easy and fast and the spice combo inspired! Cinnamon and brown sugar have their place but here isn’t it, nor was a tomato based sauce. Thank you for yet another excellent recipe.