Spaghetti squash recipes that will make you forget it's a vegetable

Spaghetti squash is a cheap and often under-utilized vegetable that's surprisingly versatile. While it's popular with folks looking for an alternative to pasta, given its spaghetti-like texture when cooked, it doesn't taste like pasta — or have much of a flavor at all. For this reason, it's important to really impart flavor when preparing it.

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can do just that, making the spaghetti squash an inexpensive and ideal vessel for family dinners. With that in mind, here are some recipes that will make you — and the picky eaters in your life — forget that it's a vegetable.

Four-cheese spaghetti squash

With such a pasta-like texture, it's natural to want to do a riff on macaroni and cheese, and this recipe from Delish is both nuanced in its flavor profile and fun to eat. It's also easy to prepare. Like most recipes with spaghetti squash, start by roasting it in the oven until tender. And in this case, make sure you season the squash properly so it doesn't lack flavor down the road. 

Once you've roasted the squash and scraped out the innards, all you have to do is prepare a four-cheese sauce featuring mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, and fontina cheeses, combined with garlic, milk, and broth. Mix the cheese sauce with the innards, then place the mixture back into the hollowed-out skins, and broil until the color turns golden. Then you'll have an ooey-gooey cheesy dinner for everyone.

Spaghetti squash burrito bowl

One of my favorite foods in the world is a good burrito bowl, and this fun recipe from Making Thyme for Health literally turns the spaghetti squash into one. It's also packed with southwestern flavors. 

Once you've roasted and scooped out your squash, sautée onion, pepper, and jalapeño with salt, pepper, and cumin until they soften a bit. I tend to like my veggies firmer than most to retain texture, but your tastes may vary. Then it's time to layer your ingredients: black beans and corn on the bottom, followed by your seasoned onions and peppers, your salsa of choice, fresh cilantro leaves, and finally the roasted spaghetti squash; repeat. Once you're done, add the Monterey jack cheese and garnish with green onion, and broil. 

Spaghetti squash tater tots

Tater tots are a nostalgic comfort food, enjoying a resurgence in hipster foodie circles. And I'm not judging — they really do pair perfectly with ketchup and basil pesto aioli alike. 

This five-ingredient recipe from Listotic is a re-imagining of tater tots made with spaghetti squash, which makes perfect sense given its texture — though you will have to squeeze out the excess moisture in order to shape a tot that will maintain structural integrity. You'll also want to make sure you cut the strands into shorter strips so you don't end up with strings, so make sure to do a rough chop on them once they're roasted and ready. 

Once you've done that, add the squash to a bowl along with Parmesan, eggs, panko crumbs, and seasoning. Mix everything together, shape your tots, bake them, then serve with the sauce of your choice. They really do taste good with everything.

Lasagna-stuffed spaghetti squash

Lasagna is one of the world's most perfect foods, so why not try it in a new incarnation? This recipe from Kitchn does just that, replacing standard semolina pasta with spaghetti squash, but making sure it retains all of the flavors of a classic Italian-American lasagna dish. So start by browning some onions and ground beef, then add crushed tomatoes or the tomato sauce of your choice; you can opt for jarred to save some time if need be.

Once you've roasted the squash, stir it into your tomato sauce, and get ready to make layers inside of the leftover shell as you would a regular lasagna. Start with a layer of the ricotta mixed with parsley and salt, then add one quarter of the tomato, beef, and squash mixture. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used, then add shredded mozzarella on top (or alternate with the other layers), then bake until the cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Spaghetti squash latkes

As a native New Yorker, I have strong feelings about latkes, but you don't have to grow up in the northeast to appreciate this traditional, fried, delicious Hanukkah delicacy. And this recipe from the Food Network replaces the humble potato with spaghetti squash, making for a new spin on an old standby.

Once you've roasted and drained the spaghetti squash, combine the strands in a bowl with egg, fresh dill, chopped green onion, garlic powder, onion flakes, and ground black pepper. Once mixed, add in the dry ingredients and prepare to fry. Once you're ready, shape them, fry them, then dry them while keeping them warm in the oven.

Serve with your favorite toppings and sauces, which can include traditional favorites like sour cream, horseradish, and applesauce. Or, you can get creative with gourmet toppings like caviar, or fun toppings like hollandaise sauce and egg. And I always recommend garnishing with chopped green onions for flavor and kick.

Spaghetti squash pepperoni pizza boats

Spaghetti squash bowls are excellent vehicles for nearly anything, and stretchy, gooey mozzarella cheese topped with crispy, fried pepperoni shouldn't be an exception. So, this simple recipe from Delish is here to make this combination a reality for all of us pizza aficionados. 

While you're roasting your squash halves, thinly slice your pepperoni log, and crisp it to taste in a bit of oil in a hot fry pan. Once that's done, use a fork to fluff up all the squash in each half, then get ready to lay down some layers: marinara, shredded mozzarella, and the crispy pepperoni. Use the same fork to mix the cheese, pepperoni, and squash, while maintaining the integrity of the squash boat shape; that's your "crust." Finally, top the finished halves with more shredded cheese, then bake until melty. Garnish with parsley and dig in!

Chicken Alfredo spaghetti squash

Butter, garlic, sage, and cheese are flavors that dominate this comfort food classic. That's how it should be when making anything Alfredo, so it's only right that this recipe from The Gunny Sack highlights these rich tastes. 

Once you've melted the butter, add your flour and fresh sage. Once it's sufficiently combined, add chicken broth, then cream cheese and Parmesan, stirring until creamy and smooth. After that, stir in the squash and chicken, and just like that you're done! Season it with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley to finish.

I'd recommend letting it sit for a bit so the textures can combine and set, but not so long that it cools. Serve with broccoli and garlic bread, and you have dinner for cheese-lovers everywhere.

Buffalo chicken spaghetti squash bake

If you want to conjure all of the flavors of Buffalo chicken wings in a single casserole, this savory recipe from Gluten Free Jess does the job. It's also a great way to sneak fiber into a game day favorite without sacrificing any of the flavors.

Start by roasting your spaghetti squash and cooking your chicken; use chicken breasts if you want to keep it light, but this is also a great way to utilize leftover rotisserie chicken. (You'll also get more chicken fat and flavor that way.) Once that's done, sautée diced carrots, onion, celery, and garlic until they're softened, in a separate pan. Once ready, add the cooked chicken, Buffalo sauce, and some buttermilk to the vegetables. Stir, then add shredded mozzarella cheese; next, fold in the roasted squash and mix all of the contents together. 

Finally, pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with more mozzarella (and some blue cheese, though you can omit it if need be), and bake. Remove from heat, garnish, and enjoy with a cold beer.

Spinach and spaghetti squash dip

It's quite common to find spinach and artichoke dip at parties and gatherings. But wouldn't it be nice if there was a more affordable and easier version? Thanks to this recipe from Julia's Album, there is, and it's super savory and delicious. Also, while it's vegetarian and gluten-free, I don't necessarily recommend going completely low-fat; in this case, fat does equal flavor.

Once you've roasted your spaghetti squash, fork it out of the shell and remove any excess moisture. A little air dry time helps as well.

Once the squash is ready, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese in a saucepan over medium heat. Then, add the spinach and spaghetti squash, stirring until everything is adequately mixed. When you're done, add minced garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a pop. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your dipping implement of choice.