Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Kielbasa and Pine Nuts

I had never tried spaghetti squash until a few months ago.  In a quest to find a healthier “pasta substitute” last fall, I stumbled upon several recipes calling for spaghetti squash in place of traditional pasta noodles.  To be honest, I’m fairly certain I had to Google a picture before going to the store to make sure I grabbed the right type of squash.  Even still, I’m pretty sure I nearly bough a butternut squash instead.

spaghetti squash3

My initial intention was to transform this non-pasta item into a mac and cheese dish.  However, as I began working with the squash I decided to abort the mission and instead of trying to make it something it wasn’t (pasta) and make it delicious as itself!  I would caution people that want to use spaghetti squash in a dish that calls for marinara or red sauce (or some other traditional pasta dish).  The squash has a distinct flavor that I think would likely clash with the red sauce.  That being said, when you accept that it’s not pasta, it’s never going to be pasta, and begin working with flavors that compliment the nuttiness of the squash, it’s truly delightful.

toasted pine nuts

I’ve made this dish with shrimp instead of kielbasa and it was lovely as well.  However, if I have the option I’d go with the kielbasa.  It draws out the flavors of the squash and the pine nuts very nicely.

sausage and pine nuts


Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Kielbasa and Pine Nuts

Yield: 2-4 servings


1 medium sized spaghetti squash
1/2 lbs kielbasa
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
a pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper (to taste)


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- With a sharp knife, pierce several holes around the entire squash (this will let it steam while cooking and prevent it from exploding!). Place the squash on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes (until the skin is tender).
- While the squash is roasting, toast the pine nuts in a pan over medium/low heat turning constantly. These have a tendency to burn very quickly so keep them moving around the pan and keep your eye on them. When they are beginning to turn golden brown, remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the kielbasa. Bite sized pieces are preferable. Once they are browned, remove from heat and set aside.
- Carefully remove the squash from the oven and cut it in half lengthwise (watch out for the steam!). Remove the seeds from the inside of the squash and discard (or save them for toasting later). Using a fork, pull the strands of squash out of the shell and place in a clean bowl.
- In a large skillet heat a few tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic over medium heat. Cook until the garlic begins to soften.
- Add the strands of spaghetti squash to the skillet. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add the pine nuts and kielbasa, mixing until sufficiently heated.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.

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9 Responses to “Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Kielbasa and Pine Nuts”

  1. 1
    pannybear — February 1, 2009 5:21 am

    That looks amazing! I’m off to the store to buy a spaghetti squash and some kielbasa….yum. You are one creative cook and your photos are beautiful! I’ll let you know how my version turns out. :0)

  2. 2
    Mary Lynne — February 2, 2009 3:13 am

    I hope I can find spaghetti squash around here…It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it!! Good work

  3. 3
    Stephanie — February 2, 2009 7:03 am

    Love the site!
    Would you mind if I added a link to you on my page?


  4. 4
    bonnie — February 2, 2009 7:29 am

    Looks great, can’t wait to try it!! Wonderful pictures make my mouth water.

  5. 5
    Emily — February 10, 2009 1:46 pm

    Totally right on about just accepting its not pasta…not gonna be pasta…but its pretty darn as a veggie.

  6. 6
    Mary Lynne — February 23, 2009 8:07 pm

    While mine did not look as lovely as your photos….it tasted fantastic! I loved it and I’ve already been asked to make it again soon! The receipe was easy to follow and thanks for the heads up on watching the nuts carefully while toasting. I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand so I substituted slivered almonds and that seemed to work fine.

  7. 7
    Corey — August 11, 2009 2:49 pm

    I’ve used spaghetti squash regularly with marinara, knowing full well it’s a veggie. When you don’t try to convince yourself it’s something that it’s not, you’re not disappointed, as you’ve pointed out.

    Onto my question:
    Ordinarily I slice it in half and remove seeds, then microwave facedown in a sealed dish with a tablespoon of water. Does roasting it make the flavor more special, as I would assume it would?

    • kate replied: — August 11th, 2009 3:39 pm

      Corey — I have tried both methods for cooking the squash. I find that while roasting the squash whole in the oven is a bit more complicated (cutting it and removing the seeds while still warm) the flavor is more intense. I prefer that method if I have the time, but in a pinch I will microwave it. Give it a try and see if the difference is worth it for you!

  8. 8
    Sue — November 29, 2009 4:23 am

    Must try this, looks very nice. We use grated cauliflower as a rice replacement, this (when we can find it) may well be the pasta replacement. As Corey pointed out – you know the veg is not what it is pretending to be – cauliflower is not rice, but it is an excellent substitute. The same I hope follows for the squash.

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