Perfectly cooked spaghetti squash tossed with the world's best pesto and topped with juicy chicken breast. This pesto chicken spaghetti squash is a healthy and delicious weeknight meal that is loaded with good for you nutrients. Gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 adaptable.
If you like the sound of this recipe you should also check out my Sesame Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Broccoli and my Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
Allow me to introduce you to the meal that I could eat multiple times a week and never get sick of. This healthy, quick and easy, chicken pesto spaghetti squash is a total crowd pleaser and the perfect family meal prep.
Here's what you have to look forward to:
- Perfectly cooked spaghetti squash
- Tender and juicy chicken breast
- The world's best pesto – seriously.
- Easy cleanup
- A few simple ingredients
- A happy family 🙂
Let's Get Cooking!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Spaghetti Squash
- Chicken Breast
- Pesto – Basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese – There are a million versions of pesto that are delicious. You can easily make pesto dairy-free, or nut-free, switch up the herbs, etc. You can follow this recipe for dairy-free avocado pesto or this recipe for carrot top parsley pesto.
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
TOOLS YOU WILL USE:
- Sheet pan for roasting
- Food processor for pesto
- Large good knife
- Cutting board
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
To make this meal you have three basic components to prep:
- Spaghetti Squash
- Roasted Chicken Breast
All three of these components can be made ahead of time and tossed together for a 2-minute meal (THE BEST!)
I use my perfect every time roasted chicken breast for this recipe. It is the best and easiest chicken breast recipe. I perfected this method of cooking chicken breast when I was a personal chef and still make the recipe multiple times a month.
For the pesto, you can use this recipe or your favorite pesto recipe. I am personally not a fan of jar pesto but if you have one you like – go for it!
- Toss the spaghetti squash noodles with warm pesto, then add the roasted chicken on top, finish with more pesto and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Spaghetti squash is pretty bland on its own, I like to take every opportunity to add flavor!
ROASTING SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
I prefer roasted spaghetti squash over steamed or pressure cooked. When roasted, spaghetti squash takes on a deeper flavor and retains some texture. Steaming (or instant pot, pressure cooking) will produce a bland soggy “noodle”.
- Cut spaghetti squash open lengthwise
- Poke spaghetti squash with a fork all over (about 4-5 x on each side)
- Scoop out seeds and strings.
- Rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper
- (optional) throw a few fresh herbs (basil, thyme, bay leaf are all good options) into the cavity of the spaghetti squash
- Turn squash over and roast cut side down for 30-40 minutes or until “noodles” are al dente or crisp-tender.
HOW TO MEAL PREP SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH PESTO CHICKEN:
Prepare all of the components separately and store them separately in the refrigerator in sealed containers.
When you are ready to eat:
- Simply heat the spaghetti squash in the microwave or oven.
- In a small saucepan toss the chicken with pesto and heat gently
- Add chicken pesto to spaghetti squash, and more pesto and cheese on top.
EXTRA TOPPING IDEAS:
Feel free to get creative and add more toppings to this dish! Here are a few ideas:
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – Mini bocconcini mozzarella balls would be fantastic!
- Toasted Bread Crumbs – In a small pan toast bread crumbs with olive oil, salt, and a pinch of dried basil. Sprinkle on top of chicken.
- Fresh Basil – always a good idea
- Tomatoes – Especially when they are in season!
- Broccoli – Do you have leftover cooked broccoli? Throw some on top!
- Spinach or Kale – You can always add greens to just about any dish. I would wilt first in a pan and then add to the spaghetti squash before the chicken.
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS FOR THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is naturally gluten-free and keto-friendly
- Vegetarian – Eliminate the chicken, top with roasted tofu or cruciferous veggies like cauliflower or broccoli
- Vegan – Follow notes for vegetarian and eliminate cheese in the pesto.
- Dairy-Free, Paleo, Whole30 – Eliminate cheese in pesto, you can follow this recipe for dairy-free pesto and replace the dill for basil.
- Low Fodmap – Eliminate the garlic in the pesto
MORE HEALTHY SPAGHETTI SQUASH RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE:
Sesame Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Broccoli
Veggie Parmesan Spaghetti Squash Boats
I can’t wait for you to try this Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash Recipe! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo!
If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
- 1 large chicken breast, bone-in, skin-on
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 5 tbsp pesto Use the recipe linked or your favorite jar pesto
- Preheat oven to 425° - You can roast the squash and chicken at the same time.
- To roast the squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise using a large sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and strings using a large spoon. Using a fork poke the outside of the squash several times. Brush the flesh of the squash with 1 tbsp olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then place the squash flesh side down on a baking sheet. (optional: add a few fresh herbs to the inside of the squash while it is roasting). Roast for 30 minutes or until the outside of the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. Do not overcook the squash, you don't want mushy spaghetti squash strands. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- To roast the chicken: (You can follow the detailed recipe tagged in notes) Using bone in skin on chicken breast, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes (you can roast at the same time as the squash).
- Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, and using a fork scrape lengthwise down the squash to release the "noodle" strands.
- When chicken is cool enough to handle slice into bite size pieces.
- While chicken and squash are cooking prepare your pesto (use recipe linked in notes) or use your favorite jarred pesto sauce.
- I prefer to assemble directly in the spaghetti squash halves, but you can also remove the spaghetti squash noodles and assemble in a casserole.Toss each spaghetti squash half with 1-2 tbsp pesto (depending on how big your squash is and how much pesto you like), top with sliced chicken and an additional 1-2 tsp of pesto on top, finish with a generous sprinkle of parmesean cheese.
LEFTOVERS - HOW TO REHEAT - AND MEAL PREP TIPS:
- MEAL PREP: This recipe is perfect for meal prep. You can make all components 1-3 days in advance and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator
- REHEATING: Warm spaghetti squash in the microwave or oven. In a small saucepan over low heat warm pesto, add chicken to the pesto to heat through.
- LEFTOVERS: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Can I Help You Meal Plan?
Enter your email below to download my free - one week - real food (mostly plants) meal plan. Grocery list, recipes, prep schedule, it's all there for you 🙂