Food / Main Dishes / Vegetarian

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash BoatsI’ll be brutally honest – and this is just my personal opinion – but I’m tired of seeing people talk about spaghetti squash as if it’s THE ultimate substitution for spaghetti because let’s be real: it’s nothing like it. Spaghetti squash is amazing, which is why I would love to see more people glorify it for what it actually is and stop making a sad and weird attempt at pasta out of it. Zucchini noodles? Yes. That shit works. It has the same length, shape, and density as linguini. If you’ve been using spaghetti squash as a sub-in for spaghetti and nothing but, please step outside of that box. You will be so happy that you did.

But I mean…if you really love it, and it’s your thing, then that’s cool.

Upon digging into this Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash I realized that living on a mostly plant-based diet is, in fact, going to be exciting and full of surprises. I could not believe how tasty this dish was. It was like eating a bowl of nacho toppings with a fork – which is basically a dream, am I right?

To add to the mega-delicious-yet-totally-guilt-free factor: that dollop of sour cream isn’t actually sour cream – it’s plain Greek yogurt. And the melted cheese? Well, that’s definitely cheese, but I only used 1/4 cup per squash boat of shredded pepper jack and it created the ooey-gooey mess I was longing for. So, I win. Really. I feel like a winner in this. 

And on a scientific note, this dish is a great way to get your iron on because, albeit the beans are a non-heme source of iron, I fried them in a cast iron skillet with some Vitamin C to increase that absorption. BOOM. Ironed.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 of one yellow onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup of black olives sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans or kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack mozzarella, or cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of sliced scallions for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish


  • Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
  • Carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half. I find it helps to first slice off the end with the stem, because it's near impossible to slice through.
  • Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on each halve.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • While the squash bakes, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet (cast iron if you've got one) over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, jalapeño, and bell pepper.
  • Simmer until the onions are translucent, stirring often, approx. 5 minutes.
  • Add the beans and the olives.
  • Add all of the spices, and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  • Add the tomato sauce, mix, and bring the heat to low. Let it simmer until the squash has finished baking.
  • Once the squash is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle (or handle while wearing oven mitts, if you're impatient like me).
  • Drag a fork across the inner flesh of the squash to string it. Do this until you're close to the outer skin of the squash - but definitely leave some room in between.
  • Empty the spaghetti squash into the skillet and mix thoroughly.
  • Carefully spoon the spaghetti squash mixture back into the squash halves, or "boats" as everyone likes to call them.
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the tops of the boats evenly and put back in the oven for approx. 8 - 10 minutes or until the cheese fully melts.
  • Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream and garnish with sliced scallions before serving.


  • BevF
    May 16, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    This makes 2 servings, right? I’m feeding a family of four. And I really need to start learning and following portion sizes

    • Killing Thyme
      May 17, 2018 at 7:51 am

      Hi Bev!
      Yes. Each halves of butternut squash is loaded and quite filling! I’d definitely say this recipe serves two. Good luck!
      I hope you love it.

  • […] Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash (Total time is 50 minutes): This dish takes a bit longer than the rest, but in the end you get a squash bowl filled with what will taste like nacho toppings. Seriously. It’s kind of mind-blowing. […]

  • Justine
    August 29, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Great stuff, Dana — it looks super tasty! I’ve never actually served spaghetti squash in the shells, but this has inspired me to give it a shot — I’ve got a killer spaghetti squash pad thai recipe in my archives. ;)

  • Amanda C
    August 26, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    So my dog isn’t allowed to eat gluten (she’s the puppy version of celiac, not just on trend). Anyways, when my parents “babysit” they make her spaghetti squash so they can share with her and swear it’s her favourite. Maybe it will be mine, too. I really like the addition of olives!

    • Killing Thyme
      August 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Haha, poor puppy! I would never think to feed a pupp spaghetti squash, but I can see why they’d totally love it, and I’m sure it’s good for them. Hopefully you can get into it, too — I’m a sucker for olives, so I just *had* to throw some in here.

  • Mairead Rodgers
    August 26, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I completely agree that spaghetti squash is not a pasta substitute and everyone needs to stop pretending it is!!! I love my spaghetti squash though, so I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Colleen Milne
    August 26, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Lol, I so agree with you that squash is not spaghetti, not even close. It is delicious in it’s own right, and you really showcased that with this wonderful recipe.

    • Killing Thyme
      August 26, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Colleen! I really thought people were going to rag on me for making such a statement, but it looks like I’m not alone :P

  • Meaghan
    August 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Yum Dana this looks so good! Totally with you spaghetti squash is not spaghetti!

    • Killing Thyme
      August 26, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks, Meaghan! Haha — I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t down with spaghetti squash being a sub-in for actual spaghetti.

  • Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash - Yum Goggle
    January 18, 2016 at 11:06 am

    […] GET THE RECIPE […]

  • Diana L.
    January 15, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I had spaghetti squash for dinner last night and I totally substitute my spaghetti for it. While the rest of my family is having pasta, I’m loading up on this delicious squash (with my veggie filled bolognese sauce). But I’m ready to break outside the box and this is definitely going to be first on my list. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

      January 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Hey – if you love it, go for it! I actually don’t think it’s bad, it’s just – you know how people get with these trends sometimes. They promote it as if it’s ~exactly like spaghetti and then you eat it and lie to yourself the first few times but eventually are like, “Nope. Nope. Nope.”
      I’ll have to give it another chance sometime, though. Once I started to play around with spaghetti squash and started learning about all of the different things you can do with it while letting it shine as it’s own thing, I was so excited.

      I hope you enjoy this when you try it!

  • Nicoletta
    January 15, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Wow, Dana, that spaghetti squash is gorgeous and looks so yummy. I love it! Great on substituting sour cream with greek yogurt!

      January 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks, Nicoletta! I wasn’t sure what to expect – I was pleasantly surprised!

  • Julia (@Imagelicious)
    January 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Oh, I totally agree. It is NOT a substitute, but it’s still sooo good! I love your recipe with all the tex mex flavours and cheese!

      January 15, 2016 at 11:51 am

      I remember trying it and it being okay, but I think the hype people were creating is what set me off. Haha. I was like, “COMMON GUYS! This is nothing like noodles!?” You know how some of the veg trends go. Some are total yay, and some are like…wtf really? Haha. I love the former, though. Nothing beats finding a veg that can be magical. LIKE CAULIFLOWER!

  • Alanna @ One Tough Cookie
    January 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Hahaha, I’m COMPLETELY with you on the spaghetti squash thing — it’s not even remotely like the pasta! But my family has always enjoyed it halved and roasted, with a little butter and even a touch of brown sugar. This looks like a much more satisfying alternative! Thanks for sharing!

  • Tiffany Willoughby
    January 14, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    This sounds REALLY delicious!

      January 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Thanks, Tiff! It really was out of this world delicious.


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