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.
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:
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
To make this meal you have three basic components to prep:
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:
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.
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