Fresh Tomato and Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Here we are in March…in like a lion, out like a lamb.  In south Florida we are most definitely enjoying lamb-like weather.  Jimmy and I are found in the courtyard often, reading and writing, the dog typically sprawled at our feet.  Jimmy will spend his mornings outside working on his laptop, leisurely smoking his pipe which, by the way, smells positively heavenly.  We read the New York Times in the morning and take pleasure in a simple happy hour or dinner in the evening.  Clearly the mosquitos haven’t found our house yet…but they will.  In the meantime, if it’s morning or evening, assume we’re puttering outside.  This dish is a spring and summer joy.  Simple and healthful, it may be served as a vegetable side dish or as an entree with a piece of grilled tuna or chicken atop.  It’s lovely at a picnic or poolside as it travels extremely well.  Spaghetti squash is much lighter than pasta and undeniably lower in calories.  Those who are allergic to wheat will love this alternative.  No more sneezing and itchy eye!  Regardless of your reason to try this dish, I think you’ll truly enjoy it and so will your family.

Fresh Tomato and Pesto Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 spaghetti squash, medium size
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2-2 cups fresh basil leaves plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 7-ounce container of store-bought pesto or approximately 1 cup of homemade, I use store-bought, reduced fat
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. This is completely optional and may be left out for a dairy-free, vegan or paleo dish.  It’s still absolutely delicious.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and cover foil lightly with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Cut both squashes in half lengthwise.
  3. Using a large, metal spoon, scoop out all the seeds from the squashes.  Discard the seeds.
  4. Place the squashes cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the flesh is fork tender.  I check them at 45 minutes and return to the oven checking for doneness every 5 minutes or so.
  5. While the squashes are baking finely mince the garlic and place in a medium size, non-reactive bowl.  I use glass.
  6. Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the garlic.
  7. Using your hands, rip the fresh basil into small, bite size pieces and add them to the garlic-tomato mixture.
  8. Add the pesto and olive oil to the tomato mixture.  If using parmesan cheese, add it as well.  Mix thoroughly so all ingredients are well combined.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the squashes have baked.
  10. Remove the squashes from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes or until they’re easy to handle.
  11. With a small paring knife cut the flesh of the squashes lengthwise down to the shell being careful not to cut through to your hand, making 3 or 4 parallel cuts, each cut about 3/4″-1″ apart.  This allows bite size pieces and makes it easier to assemble the dish.
  12. With a large, metal spoon scoop the flesh out of the squashes and place into a large bowl.
  13. Pour the tomato-pesto mixture over the squash and gently toss until all the squash is well coated.
  14. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with any fresh basil leaves and serve.
  15. If serving within a few hours the bowl may be covered with plastic wrap and then transferred to the serving platter right before serving.


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