moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash with chickpeas

by Amy on 29 September 2011

now that it’s fall, i’ve been hearing lots about different fall + winter squash, + one that keeps getting mentioned is spaghetti squash. until yesterday, i had never encountered spaghetti squash, but i was intrigued, so i decided to see what others thought of it. a quick twitter poll revealed that most found it to have a great flavor + texture, + thought that it made for a tasty, healthy pasta alternative.

so, i picked one up + got to cooking. how was it, you ask? truly delicious! i could certainly tell it wasn’t pasta, but the noodle-like texture still had a comfort food feeling. the moroccan-spiced butter is simply amazing – so complex + savory. i had no problem finishing one serving of this dish. then another. then (really) one more. while i wouldn’t turn to spaghetti squash to curb a pasta craving (i’d opt for pasta instead), it’s so great (especially in this preparation) that i’ll definitely be using it for both side dishes + entrees in the future.

note: the original recipe simply called for the squash with the moroccan butter, but i amped it up (see below) with chickpeas + a few extra spices. the version below makes a great side dish or light entree. to make it heartier, you can add pulled chicken (or tofu, for vegetarians) to it.

if you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, do! for this veggie lover AND pasta lover, it totally hit the spot.

moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash with chickpeas

serves 4, adapted from smitten kitchen


1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas / garbanzo beans, rinsed + drained


to roast the squash, there are two methods: if you’d like to roast the squash whole, pierce it all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting and bake it in a 375°F oven for one hour. If you are good with a big, sharp kinfe, you can save some time by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.

meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. add the garlic + chickpeas, + cook, stirring, until the garlic is barely golden. stir in spices + salt, cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat.

if you roasted your squash whole, carefully halve it lengthwise (it will give off a lot of steam). remove + discard seeds. working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening + separating strands as you remove it from skin. toss with the spiced butter, chickpeas, + garnish with fresh parsley.

print this recipe print this recipe
EmailTwitterFacebookStumbleUponGoogle BookmarksShare

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tracey September 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

We love spaghetti squash,and this looks like a plate of yummy delicious fall flavor.YUMMMA

2 amy September 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

i can’t believe it took me so long to try spaghetti squash – i really loved it. + yes, the flavors were super comforting – definitely perfect for fall!

3 Jessica @ Cajunlicious September 29, 2011 at 9:19 am

Amy, this looks so delicious! Great photo!

4 amy September 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

thanks, Jessica! i thought the colors of it were just gorgeous – so fall-like. =)

5 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl September 29, 2011 at 10:13 am

I’ve been wanting to try spaghetti squash for quite awhile now, but my husband keeps turning up his nose. He likes chick peas, though, so I could probably get him to give this a try! Either that, or he might be on his own for dinner one night–this looks great! Thanks for giving me the motivation to give this a try.

6 amy September 29, 2011 at 10:21 am

ashley, your husband might actually eat it – it’s not nearly as vegetably as some of the other squashes – it’s very mildly flavored which allows the seasonings to be the main flavors. i think i’m going to try it next week with pasta sauce + see how that tastes, too. hope you try it + report back!

7 Kelly September 29, 2011 at 11:00 am

Ooh yummy! I usually just opt for a tomato sauce with extra veggies, but I love this completely different take on Spaghetti Squash!!

8 amy September 29, 2011 at 11:05 am

i think that’s how i’m going to prepare it next time – like ‘pasta’ with marinara, maybe some veggie ‘meatballs.’ i’m hooked on this stuff!

9 Mommyof2Girlz/StephD September 29, 2011 at 11:58 am

I have been wanting to try spaghetti squash! This recipe looks delicious, I love morocan spices and chick win :)

10 amy September 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm

you gotta try it! it’s way easier to prepare than i expected – the only tricky part was cutting it in half before roasting (you need a good knife + some arm strength) but i managed. just had some leftovers of it for lunch!

11 Ally Garner September 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Holy cow. What timing! Just this weekend I was scouring the web looking for new recipes for spaghetti squash. Do you know just how little variation there is out there for spaghetti squash? I was so frustrated I gave up. This looks really warm & delicious. I’ve never cooked with a few of the middle eastern spices you mentioned, but i love the blend you created. Excellent recipe Amy!

12 amy September 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

it looks like my mind-reading skills are working. =) i came across tons of tomato-based spaghetti squash recipes but wanted to try something a little different, so this is what i wound up with + it was delicious! next week i’m going to try a more traditional recipe with marinara – can’t wait to see how that tastes, too!

13 BreAna {Sugar and Spice and All Things Iced} September 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm

YUM! I made spaghetti squash last night with some homemade marinara…so good! I’ll have to keep this in mind for a time when I’m feeling adventurous…I’ve never cooked with some of these ingredients before. 😉

14 amy September 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm

i love that you made spaghetti squash last night, too – great minds think alike. =) i’m going to try it with marinara next week because i’ve still never had it like that. let me know what you think of this if you try it out!

15 Renee September 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I have never tried spaghetti squash. What is the taste similar to? Yellow/summer squash, zucchini, or something like acorn squash? I think I will have to give it a try since it is winter squash season. My husband and I really enjoy squash.

16 amy September 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

it’s very mild – most similar to yellow summer squash i’d say, although it might even be more mild than that. that’s why i went with a pretty flavorful sauce – i knew the squash wouldn’t lend a ton of flavor on it’s own. you should definitely give it a try – i made yellow squash + zucchini at least once a week, + this was a nice change, both in texture + flavors.

17 EA-The Spicy RD September 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Sounds {and looks!} absolutely delicious Amy! Especially love the addition of chickpeas. Yum!

18 amy September 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

thanks, EA! another plus – it’s finally a gluten-free (i think?) dish that you + other GF people wouldn’t have adapt. =)

19 Chris @ TheKeenanCookbook September 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm

We usually make spaghetti squash with Italian herbs and parmesan cheese- this looks delicious as well! As a side note, you can also microwave spaghetti squash (cut in half, seeds removed, cut side down, in 1/4 cup water) in the microwave for 10 minutes if you are in a rush!

20 Chris @ TheKeenanCookbook September 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Yes, upon re-reading that comment I realized my baby-addled brain typed microwave in the microwave… As opposed to all the other places in your house that you can microwave things.

21 amy September 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

thanks for the cooking tip – that’s super helpful to know + would be a great time-saving option, too. i loved your use of ‘microwave in a microwave.’ specifics are always a good thing. 😉 your version with herbs + parmesan sounds delicious!

22 Lesley September 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

It’s not quite as satisfying as a really good egg noodle, but a much more waistline-friendly alternative. And the chickpeas add some protein so it’ll stick with you for a while. Good idea!

23 amy September 30, 2011 at 7:53 am

agreed – it reminds me of a cellophane noodle, + by adding some protein + flavor, you can use it as a hearty sub for pasta. it won’t curb a serious pasta craving, but it does make for a good healthy alternative. =)

24 Marina October 1, 2011 at 3:11 am

This is fantastic and it goes on my “to do” list :)

25 amy October 1, 2011 at 7:55 am

great! I hope it turns out delicious for you. =)

26 Simply Life October 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

wow, I’ve never been too creative with spaghetti squash but I’m loving this idea!

27 amy October 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Thank you! I thought the recipe was super creative + interesting + I’m so glad I tried it. It was fabulous!

28 Lauren October 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I have a spaghetti squash on my counter that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with. Glad I came to your site! This is a great idea!

29 amy October 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm

yay, glad i could be of help! i’d love to hear what you think of it. =)

30 Jess B October 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Yum! I love all things squash! This is absolutely the best time of year for them too! This recipe looks really good I will definitely have to try it! <3 Jess

31 amy October 4, 2011 at 7:23 am

i hope you try it + it turns out fab for you, jess!

{ 1 trackback }

leave a comment

Previous post:

Next post: