Southwest Spaghetti Squash

Southwest Spaghetti Squash

Easy comfort food! Fresh and satisfying with just a little heat from the canned green chilies and chopped fresh jalapeno. I love all of the freshness topped onto this comforting cheesy bake. It's a great contrast to the cheesy, beany goodness inside and the corn adds a sweet crunch and pop! So Good.

I also use a few other staples from the pantry to make this healthy recipe fast.

Canned chicken makes this so much easier because I don't have to get out a skillet and cook anything to prep the filling. Baking the squash is the only thing I cook before assembling the squash boats.

This could easily be made as a vegetarian dish as well by simply leaving out the canned chicken.

I cut the squash in half and remove the seeds then place the squash halves into a large shallow baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water in it. Rub the exposed surfaces with vegetable oil and bake it in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Your's may not take as long if it's smaller. I use very large spaghetti squash because we love the leftovers from this for lunches throughout the week and I grew some very large spaghetti squash last summer.

I prefer to remove the seeds and bake this kind of squash cut side up to get the most evaporation out of it. Spaghetti Squash has a tendency to be somewhat watery and I feel like this helps it dry out a bit.

I also think using larger more mature spaghetti squash helps with that too. I used a few of the smaller immature spaghetti squash that didn't quite finish growing when the weather really turned cold here last fall and it was very interesting.

They were still a touch green in color and the skins were somewhat soft. I knew they wouldn't harden off and keep well so I thought, what the heck, I'll cook them and see what we get!

What we got was angel hair spaghetti squash and perfect with Shrimp Scampi! If you grow your own spaghetti squash I highly recommend cooking a few of your baby squash. It was very tasty.

Here's a step by step tutorial for making this Southwest Spaghetti Squash. Click on the pictures for a closer look.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the drained canned chicken, the chili flakes, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and dehydrated minced onion. Then add one can of rinsed and drained black beans, a can of drained corn, and a small can of chopped green chilies. Stir these together and season generously with salt and pepper. When combined with the spaghetti squash, the seasoning of the filling will be greatly diminished.

When the squash is soft and thoroughly cooked it will pull away very easily with a fork in long shreds.

Remove the shredded squash to a large bowl then combine the chicken mixture with the shredded squash. Add half of the cheese and stir gently to combine. Now fill the squash boats with the filling and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake the squash in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes depending on how large your squash is.

This was a squash that I grew in our garden last summer and it was really large. It took an hour to bake. Most spaghetti squash from the grocery store are 1/2 to 3/4 the size of this and wouldn't take as long to bake.

Now it's time for my favorite part. The toppings! I have some chopped cilantro, Greek yogurt, thinly sliced scallion, lime wedges and some diced jalapeno. Pile it on and create a fresh and healthy flavor bomb!

Yum! Every time I see this picture I think it must be time to get out another squash and make this again.

Southwest Spaghetti Squash keeps very well and makes great leftovers for lunches, especially if it hasn't been topped with fresh ingredients yet. When you add the fresh toppings it won't seem or taste like made ahead food at all.

Imagine what that might mean if you are planning to have guests.

These spaghetti boats reheat so well in the oven that they totally qualify as a make ahead meal. (Instructions Below)

Enjoy!

~Melisa

Southwest Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash cut in half and seeded

12 oz canned chicken

1 1/2 cups shredded mexican style cheese blend

1 Tablespoon red chili flakes

2 Tablespoons ground cumin

3 Tablespoons dehydrated minced onion

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

one can of black beans rinsed and drained

one can of corn, drained

one small can of chopped green chilies

salt and pepper

For Toppings

Fresh chopped cilantro, Greek yogurt, thinly sliced scallion, diced jalapeno and lime wedges.

Method​

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash in a large shallow baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water in it. Rub the exposed surfaces with vegetable oil and bake it in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Your's may not take as long if it's smaller.

In a small bowl, combine the drained canned chicken, the chili flakes, cumin, garlic powder and dehydrated minced onion. Then add one can of rinsed and drained black beans, a can of drained corn, and a small can of chopped green chilies. Stir these together and season generously with salt and pepper. Remember that when combined with the spaghetti squash, the seasoning of the filling will be greatly diminished.

When the squash is soft and thoroughly cooked it will pull away as shown, very easily, with a fork into long shreds. Remove the shredded squash to a large bowl then combine the chicken mixture with the shredded squash. Add half of the cheese and stir gently to combine. Now fill the squash boats with the filling and top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake the squash in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes depending on how large your squash is.

Top the baked squash boats with fresh chopped cilantro, Greek yogurt, thinly sliced scallion, and some diced jalapeno. Serve with the lime wedges.

To reheat as a make ahead meal (directions are for one very large squash)

No need to bake after filling the squash boats. Do not top with the rest of the cheese yet. Cover the boats with foil and refrigerate until 2 1/2 hours before serving. Remove from the refrigerator for one hour to take the chill off.

Remove the foil and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake them for about an hour at 350 degrees.

Top the baked squash boats with fresh chopped cilantro, Greek yogurt, thinly sliced scallion, and some diced jalapeno. Serve with the lime wedges.

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Copywrite © 2019 by Melisa Smith