Spaghetti Squash w/ Chickpeas & Kale

Sun-dried tomatoes give this vegan spaghetti squash recipe a savory pop. Hearty from chickpeas & kale, it's a great fall or winter weeknight dinner.

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale

The first time I had spaghetti squash, it was served with a big scoop of store-bought marinara sauce mixed in. It was slimy and goop-y and decidedly not spaghetti-like.

About a month ago, ditching the pasta idea completely, I planned a post for bbq spaghetti squash tacos. I have a super cute photo to prove that the meal existed, but the recipe ended in total disaster.

So, long story short, I’ve learned that I prefer my spaghetti squash as simple as possible and most importantly: sauce-less. The roasted strands come out of the oven with a nice al-dente bite, but, smothered in sauce, they become just too mushy for me. Check out this post to see how I cook spaghetti squash to get the yummy al dente strands you’ll want for this recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale

In this recipe, the roasted squash strands are lightly tossed with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and a good squeeze of lemon. I added chickpeas and kale to make it a full meal and toasted some pine nuts for crunch. Sun dried tomatoes add a nice pop of flavor, but you could add anything briny that you like – capers, or maybe some chopped kalamata olives.

So while spaghetti squash is not pasta and it never will be, this veggie-packed bowl just moved up my list as a healthy weeknight favorite.

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale

5.0 from 18 reviews
Spaghetti Squash w/ Chickpeas & Kale
 
This easy spaghetti squash with kale is a great healthy weeknight dinner! Flavored with rosemary, lemon, and sun-dried tomatoes, it's a delicious vegan and gluten-free dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Pinch of chile flakes
  • ½ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (packed) cups of chopped kale leaves
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (or capers or olives)
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare your squash following the directions in this post.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan, then add the shallot, garlic, rosemary, chile flakes, salt and pepper. (I added my garlic clove whole and removed it later).
  4. Once the shallot starts to soften, add the chickpeas and cook for a few minutes until they turn lightly golden brown. Remove the garlic clove, and add the kale leaves, lemon juice, and then give everything in the pan a good stir.
  5. Once the kale is partially wilted, add the squash strands, a little grated cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and more salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to incorporate. Remove from heat and top with toasted pine nuts and extra grated cheese.
Notes
Vegan option - skip the cheese

 

91 comments

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  1. I’ve always had spaghetti squash with marinara and also found it gets kind of wet, like it needs to be drained or something. Can’t wait to try your version.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      10.29.2014

      that’s what I thought too 🙂

    • Chris
      11.21.2017

      I love, love love spaghetti squash and also like it with marinara sauce. However, I make my own with lots of vegetables in it, so it is very thick. The secret is not to overcook the squash to begin with.

  2. Mareen from eenysuniverse.blogspot.com
    10.29.2014

    it looks and sounds so delious. i wish i could find some spaghetti squash anywhere. somehow the seem to not sell them anywhere here.

  3. I am SO with you. I like my spaghetti squash sauce-less as well. Love the chickpeas and kale in there. Yum!

  4. Kathryn from londonbakes.com
    10.29.2014

    I’m going to keep a real look out for spaghetti squash from now on – you don’t often seen them in the UK and I couldn’t see how they would be non-mushy – but this recipe sounds delightful. So bright and fresh.

  5. I’ve got 2 spaghetti squash needing so loving. I think one of them is going to get this very simple yet elegant treatment! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. I like your simpler approach to spaghetti squash. Allowing it to be its own thing rather than mimicking other foods should be a lot more satisfying anyways. The kale, pine nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes look like a great combo here.

    • Turner
      10.29.2014

      My thoughts exactly!

  7. yum yum yum, spaghetti squash is one of my favorite parts of fall, and I love introducing it to people who have never heard of it or seen it in action. and you said it right, it’ll never be pasta, but it’s versatility with flavors make it a suitable wannabe. yum! xx

  8. yum yum yum, spaghetti squash is one of my favorite parts of fall, and I love introducing it to people who have never heard of it or seen it in action. and you said it right, it’ll never be pasta, but it’s versatility with flavors make it a suitable wannabe. xx

  9. yum yum yum, spaghetti squash is one of my favorite parts of fall, and I love introducing it to people who have never heard of it or seen it in action. and you said it right, it’ll never be pasta, but it’s versatility with flavors make it a suitable wannabe. xx

  10. Yes, I love this idea. I think that spaghetti sauce should not be seen as a replacement for spaghetti, but something entirely different. I love the sauce-less idea! Definitely going to try this. Not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes so I think I will try the olives!

  11. I have to agree with you. It always turns up slimey and watery for me when I add sauce. I cannot wait to try this recipe though. Thank you for the inspiration!

  12. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com
    10.29.2014

    I definitely agree that spaghetti squash treated like actual spaghetti leaves something to be desired. But this combination with hearty greens and chickpeas sounds fabulous!

  13. Elizabeth from themotherhubbardscupboard.com
    10.30.2014

    My experience was the same as your the first time I had spaghetti squash, so I have avoided it since… I will have a go at this recipe as I have some beautiful kale growing in my garden! Thanks for sharing! Liz x

  14. Alex from dalyankofte.tarifi.info
    10.30.2014

    It looks great. I must try. Thanks for the recipe

  15. Loving your simple approach and how versatile this is with any veggies. Putting it on my list to try next week!

  16. Candice
    10.30.2014

    I have always wanted to try spaghetti squash but I have NEVER been able to find one. I’m iriginally from Australia and nor year I searched in fruit and veg markets everywhere, but no luck! 🙁 nowadays I live in Germany, but still haven’t spotted one here..! Any tips on where to find one?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      10.30.2014

      Aw, I’m not sure, maybe they’re grown more in the US than other places?

  17. I love spaghetti squash. I am always surprised what wonderful food dishes
    uses that squash as the main foundation. This is a wonderful example.

  18. I’m a big fan of spaghetti squash, but I agree, the more sauce and toppings involved, the worse for wear the spaghetti squash gets. I’m trying to get some more of my family members on board with it, though. They tend to shy away from things like this, haha.

  19. I completely agree with you on sauce making spaghetti squash mushy! Keeping it simple is totally the way to go 🙂

  20. rae from lovefromberlin.net
    11.01.2014

    Great post, I have never actually had spaghetti squash but i am def. not a fan of normal soggy spaghetti so will have to take your word for it and avoid sauce with spaghetti squash at all costs! This recipe looks great. bookmarking it! And – lovely photography as always.

    rae of love from berlin

  21. Lisa Slovin from thirdactevolution,wordpress.com
    11.03.2014

    Absolutely positively delicious! Here’s a photo:
    /Users/llslovin/Desktop/DSCN2087.JPG
    I made the vegan version and used capers. The mix of flavors is fantastic. Can’t wait to blog about this one!!

  22. Judy
    11.04.2014

    I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious!!! This is definitely a new favourite in our house. Thank you!

  23. I’ve always found the same thing with spaghetti squash – way too runny and mushy when mixed with sauce even though the flavor is fantastic. I love the simplicity of this recipe – letting the spaghetti squash shine!

  24. Allison
    11.11.2014

    This was my first time trying spaghetti squash and I really enjoyed this dish. I think the squash I used was unusually large so the ratio of “spaghetti” to toppings was a bit off. Next time I would add more of the “good stuff,” but great flavor combo nonetheless!

  25. Samantha
    11.14.2014

    I love this recipe! It was so easy to make-especially when you allow enough time for the spaghetti squash to cool. The flavors were refreshing and crisp. I always feel so empowered when I make such a colorful and fresh vegetarian meal! Thank you for all of the inspiration!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      11.16.2014

      Hi Samantha, I’m so glad you liked it!

  26. Sofia
    11.15.2014

    I just made this with some substitutions and it was fantastic! This was my first time cooking spaghetti squash and it was delicious and very easy. I used chicken instead of chickpeas (I just cooked it in the oven at the same time as the last fifteen minutes of the squash); collard greens instead of kale; and sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. Thanks you so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe! I can’t wait to try other types of squash :o)

  27. Jill from jillheffron.com
    11.17.2014

    Made this dish yesterday and it was delicious! I substituted rainbow chard for the kale (I know it’s good for me, but I just don’t like it!), and instead of sundried tomatoes, which I find to be too acidic, I roasted some cherry tomato halves tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper for 1 hour at 200 degrees, then for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. I really loved the combination of flavors and textures in this dish. Thank you for the inspiration!

  28. Laura
    11.18.2014

    Delicious idea, it’s cooking right now on the stove and smells wonderful. I have gone with capers as I love them. Can’t wait to eat!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      11.19.2014

      Hope you liked it! I love capers too 🙂

  29. Emma from emmaslittlekitchen.com
    11.20.2014

    I made this last night- the hubby and I LOVED it! Such a simple, fresh and light dish for the autumn and winter. I think you hit the nail on the head but letting squash be squash. The only other time I tried spaghetti squash, I did the marinara thing and it was hugely disappointing. We will be making this one again for sure!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      11.21.2014

      Hi Emma – yay, I love hearing about squash success! Glad you and your husband both loved it.

  30. Jo from ahappyblog.com
    12.08.2014

    All of my favorites, can’t wait to try this tonight! Thank you.

  31. Jamie
    12.09.2014

    I made this recipe for the forts time tonight and I have to say, I was so impressed. The flavors are perfect with one another!

  32. Foodeaser(dot)com
    12.22.2014

    Yum Yum

  33. Megan
    01.05.2015

    I pinned this recipe a couple months and I don’t know why it took me this long to make it! It was delicious and super flavorful. The sun-dried tomatoes are a really nice touch!

  34. Megan
    01.05.2015

    I pinned this recipe a couple months ago and I don’t know why it took me this long to make it! It was delicious and super flavorful. The sun-dried tomatoes are a really nice touch!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      01.05.2015

      Ha, well I’m so glad you liked it 🙂

  35. wendy
    01.15.2015

    I started a mostly vegan diet and thought that i was doomed because i couldn’t find any recipes i liked. I figured I’d be stuck eating plain raw veggies. I just made this and it was sooooo good! I love the mixture of the different spices and all the different textures of the food. I will definitely be making this again!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      01.15.2015

      Aw, I’m so glad – I hope you find some more delicious things so you don’t feel so doomed!

  36. Lillypilly
    01.17.2015

    Where I am these squash vary in size, how large or small is the one this recipe uses?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      01.17.2015

      Mine was sort of medium in size – I’d say I used around 5 cups full in the recipe.

  37. sara from dogmemad.wordpress.com
    01.17.2015

    thanks for this recipe, which saved me from throwing out a spaghetti squash from the co-op bag that had been lying around for ages since i hadn’t been able to find inspiring way to use it – like you i find that the whole idea of uding it like spaghetti really doesn’t do it for me. i left out the dried tomatoes but used a nice portion of parmesan and it all worked out quite well – although i have to say i’ll never choose to buy a spaghetti squash and i do hope they won’t be adding them too often to my subscription bag…

  38. Traunza
    01.18.2015

    Made this tonight. It was pretty good! Sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts are what set it off. Spaghetti squash was just a wee bit mushy. Overall good, I would make it again.

    • Traunza
      01.25.2015

      Update–This dish got better the next day, after the flavors had melded a bit. Will definitely make again!

  39. Julia
    01.21.2015

    Just tried the recipe -Delicious!!

  40. Becky
    03.24.2015

    I’m looking forward to making this tonight. Can I make the spaghetti squash ahead of time?

  41. Sally from lifeloving.co.uk
    04.22.2015

    I love spaghetti squash so this is a great recipe to try. The only downside is that spaghetti squash is hard to come by in the UK. I’ve seen it sporadically in Waitrose. Do any others in the UK have suggestions on where you can get it?

  42. Jan
    05.20.2015

    This is delishious! Used dried rosemary and roasted sunflower seeds. I did not use cheese.

  43. Seema
    01.04.2016

    It turned out so nice! Thanks for the recipe.t

  44. Hope
    01.13.2016

    This recipe has become one of our favorites in the fall/winter. I make it probably every other week. I use spinach instead of kale because my husband and I are spinach aficionados. I also add capers and use goat cheese instead of Parmesan. Add the goat cheese right before serving and it melts a bit to take on a creamy sauce-like texture. Fantastic!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com
      01.14.2016

      Hi Hope – that makes my day to hear! Your version sounds so delicious!

  45. Rachel
    02.23.2016

    this dish was INSANELY good!! can’t wait to make it again.
    used sundried tomaotes (not in oil) and soaked in water for a little bit before adding in.

  46. Marla from marlasmuffins.com
    04.15.2016

    Just made this for dinner. YUM! Thank you for the recipe:)

  47. Kim
    06.21.2016

    Terrific recipe that was easy to follow and resulted in a delicious dinner!

  48. rachel waters
    07.11.2016

    I’m making this tonight w/some sauteed mushrooms instead of sun-dried tomatoes and am quite excited. Thank you for the great idea!!

      • rachel waters
        08.09.2016

        This is literally my new favorite meal it was GREAT!! Thank you for the inspiration 🙂 XO

  49. Melissa
    08.31.2016

    I just love this! I’ve made it a few times! I love spaghetti squash but I’ve never liked it pretending to be pasta, I found this recipe when trying to figure out what else to do with it! I also eat meatless a few times a week and this is the perfect meatless meal that is both filling and totally satisfying!

    • Hi Melissa – I’m so glad you liked it, thanks for sharing!

  50. Carys
    09.05.2016

    Tried this tonight and LOVED IT! We made some slight modifications based on what we had on hand – no sun dried tomatoes, and crushed almond instead of toasted pine nuts – and I was a little worried that the flavor would suffer because of it, but it was still fantastic. Really one of those first-bite, ‘holy crap this is better than I expected’ moments. It’s been a while since I cooked with spaghetti squash and I was glad to get back into it. Thank you!

  51. Tera
    10.07.2016

    What would you revcommend as a substitution for pine nuts? My husband is not allergic, per-se but had a reaction to them years ago. Can’t wait to make this for Thanksgiving!

  52. Debbie from loveandlemins.com
    04.10.2017

    I am reading this combination and it sounds scrumptious! I have a question. Would like to make as a side for Easter dinner. Do you think I could make the day before and just reheat it? Andcto rehest what would you suggest?

    • Hi Debbie, I’ve never tried reheating this one but I think it will be fine. I would just undercook the kale a bit, so that once you reheat it it doesn’t lose it’s vibrant green color.

  53. Anita
    09.18.2017

    This is amazing! The flavors were spectacular! Because i was making it for person with restrictive oil intake, I roasted spaghetti squash without oil. It turned out wonderful. I also used very little oil in the cooking of shallots, garlic, kale, etc. I served it to them sans sun-dried tomatoes & Parmesan cheese (per their request). I added these two ingredients to the rest of the batch. I tasted it both ways & while I prefer with the sun-dried tomatoes & Parmesan…both ways

  54. Mike
    10.26.2017

    Made this tonight, with alterations: way more chick peas (~2 Cups), more garlic, maybe a bit more kale. It was very, very good. A great meatless option; a definite keeper.

  55. Christie
    05.07.2018

    I’m currently eating this for the second time -I love it!!
    Note: The quality of the sundried tomatoes MATTERS. I used some from the dollar store the first time and they were terrible (and had nitrates or something like that in them. Ick.). I got Non-GMO Project & certifies Organic ones and the recipe came out MUCH better. I didn’t have lemon the second time, but I just a good amount of nutritional yeast (I Bragg’s, if brand matters) and it’s delicious. I did use a teaspoon of dried rosemary broken up and minced the garlic. 🙂

  56. Michi
    11.17.2018

    I LOVED this! Only change was added a zucchini in the beginning to get rid of it and add basically no calories to the dish. I might put the sun dried tomatoes in earlier to get their flavor to permeate more but either way, it was delicious and I thank you so much!

  57. Wendy
    01.11.2019

    Excellent recipe for spaghetti squash and kale. We made as written it with the sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan. Loved it.

  58. Tommie
    01.24.2019

    OMG! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love this recipe!! Had to use spinach since I didn’t have any kale. And I used the Kalama olives, oh yes!!

  59. Polly
    01.25.2019

    Made this tonight – My spaghetti squash was really big – Love the recipe!

  60. Lucas
    01.29.2019

    I generally groan with readers saying, “loved the recipe but I changed it to blah blah blah”. Usually the suggestions are less than impressive or helpful.

    I did it pretty much as you did and wish I’d taken the squash a little further in a hotter oven. My oven’s fault, not your recipe I must add. (Just moved into this house and am still working out the oven). Do you let the skin shrivel or brown?

    And I love your suggestion of capers or olives as an alternative to the tomatoes. Based on that theme of saltiness, I used anchovies, so thank you for your suggestions.

    • Hi Lucas, ha ha, well I’m glad the recipe was flexible :). I let the spaghetti squash brown a little on the outside, not to the point where it shrivels.

  61. Networks from networks-india.com
    02.04.2019

    Nice n testy recipe.Thanks for sharing.

  62. Nick
    02.09.2019

    Made this tonight for my girlfriend and I and it came out fantastic! Thank you for this simple and healthy recipe. I have book marked it and plan on making it in the future.

    By the way, I followed the instructions the way they were but our squash was a bit big so I only used about half.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.