Southwest Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is a healthy dinner idea that’s loaded with flavor. Featuring black beans and diced tomatoes, it’s easy to assemble, and is a delicious alternative to other spaghetti squash recipes.
Why You’ll Love It
It tastes amazing. Spaghetti squash can taste a little bland on its own, but when you add in spices like cumin, garlic, and salt, it becomes a dish you’ll crave.
It’s easy to customize. This recipe is vegetarian as written, but you can easily add extra protein to make it more filling. Try adding in leftover rotisserie chicken, or cooked turkey or pork, when it’s time to stir in the other ingredients. If you need a dairy-free recipe, simply skip the cheese on top, or use your favorite vegan alternative, like my Vegan Nacho Cheese sauce.
It’s nourishing. Spaghetti squash is a great source of antioxidants, and when you add in the black beans, you’ll get extra fiber and plant-based protein in each bite.
It uses pantry staples. If you keep canned beans and diced tomatoes in your pantry, this recipe is easy to throw together on a busy weeknight. You could also swap these ingredients for marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, or Parmesan cheese, and add in a little Italian sausage if you like, for more of an Italian-style meal, without the pasta.
Ingredients You’ll Need
When shopping for spaghetti squash, look for one that has a vibrant yellow shell, rather than a pale one that might not be fully ripe yet.
If you want to add extra veggies to this dish, you can also saute an onion and bell pepper in a little olive oil in a large skillet, while you wait for the spaghetti squash to roast in the oven. This will give it more of a fajita-like flare!
How to Make Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
1. Cook the squash.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and use a sharp knife to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. It will be the easiest to start the knife in the center of the squash, where it’s the most hollow, then carefully work your way to the ends of the squash, where it will be more dense to cut.
Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then drizzle a little olive oil into each half and rub it around the edges. Arrange the squash halves cut-side-down on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake it in the preheated oven until it’s tender, about 45 to 60 minutes.
You can test the squash for tenderness by piercing the outer shell with a fork. It should easily slide in and out of the shell when it’s tender. Alternatively, you can use an oven mitt to squeeze the outer shell. When it gives easily under pressure, you’ll know it’s ready to use.
2. Add the fillings.
When the squash is done roasting, set the pan aside to cool briefly. In a large bowl, combine the drained tomatoes, black beans, cumin, garlic powder, and green onions.
Use an oven mitt to handle the hot spaghetti squash, and use a fork to scrape the squash strands into the bowl from each half. Season with salt, and then stir well to make sure the seasoning is evenly distributed.
Scoop the mixture back into the two squash shells, dividing the filling evenly. Arrange the spaghetti squash boats (filling side up) on the rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle the tops with the shredded cheese.
Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the filling is piping hot.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the squash cool briefly before serving. You can garnish it with any toppings you like, such as extra green onions or cilantro, or add a dollop of sour cream, pico de gallo, or guacamole on top.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cooking the squash with the cut-side facing down prevents it from drying out, but also allows excess moisture to drain from the squash without pooling the middle. You’ll flip the squash later to cook cut-side up once you add the fillings, to make individual serving bowls. (They are quite generous portions, though!)
Check for brown or soft spots in the outer shell. A good squash will have a dark yellow color without any soft spots or signs of mold, and it should feel heavy for its size.
This squash has a relatively mild flavor, so it will blend in to any sauce and seasonings you use. It can lean a little on the sweet side, so be sure to use plenty of salt to balance that out. You can also add a dash of red pepper flakes to the mix, if you’d like a little more of a spicy kick.
Yes, spaghetti squash is naturally gluten-free and makes a great alternative to spaghetti and other pasta varieties.
Southwest Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
This flavorful Southwest Stuffed Spaghetti Squash is loaded with black beans, diced tomatoes, and spices for a healthy weeknight dinner you’ll crave!
Servings: to 3
- 1 (3 pound) spaghetti squash
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies , drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans , drained & rinsed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin , minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt , or to taste
- ¾ cup shredded cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds in the center. Place the squash cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in the oven until the shell is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 to 60 minutes. A brown spot should develop on the outside of the skin as it cooks.
When the squash is done cooking, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool briefly. In a large bowl, combine the drained tomatoes, black beans, cumin, garlic powder, and green onions. Use an oven mitt to handle the hot spaghetti squash, and use a fork to scrape the squash strands into the bowl from each half. Season with the salt, and then stir well, to make sure the seasoning is evenly distributed.
Scoop the mixture back into the two squash shells, dividing the filling evenly. Arrange the spaghetti squash boats (filling side up) on the rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle the tops with the shredded cheese. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the filling is piping hot.
Serve warm, with any additional toppings you love, such as diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, or extra green onions. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Update Note: This recipe was updated in April 2023 to be easier and more flavorful. If you prefer the original, you can find that here.
Calories: 325kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 2118mg, Potassium: 1020mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 1249IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 416mg, Iron: 5mg
If you try these Southwest stuffed spaghetti squash boats, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like them.