Liza's Spaghetti Squash Boats

Kristina Abernathy

Liza's Spaghetti Squash Boats

Cooking time




Red sauce:

1 to 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, quartered

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, whole

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 large fresh basil leaves

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey (optional)

Spaghetti squash:

2 small to medium spaghetti squash

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pumpkin seed pesto:

1 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted but unsalted

3 cups fresh basil leaves with young stems

3/4 cup nutritional yeast plus more for serving

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Water, only if needed


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

2. In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper with olive oil. 

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

4. Place mixture onto the baking sheet and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

5. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before handling. 

6. Turn oven up to 400 degrees F. 

7. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a large knife and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Using the same piece of parchment paper and baking sheet, place the spaghetti squash “bowl” side up and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 

8. Roast for 60 to 75 minutes or until a fork goes all the way through to the baking sheet with no resistance.  

9. In the meantime, in the bowl of a food processor, add roasted tomato mixture, fresh basil, fresh spinach, balsamic vinegar, and optional maple syrup or honey. 

10. Puree until smooth. 

11. Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula, taste, and adjust for salt and pepper as needed. 

12. Finish processing until everything is incorporated and smooth. 

13. Wash or rinse the bowl of the food processor and place it back on its stand. 

14. Add pumpkin seeds, fresh basil, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and black pepper. 

15. Pulse until well combined, scraping down sides as needed. 

16. While running, slowly drizzle olive oil into the pumpkin seed mixture until fully combined. Add a little water (2 tablespoons at a time) to attain desired pesto consistency only if needed.  

17. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper as needed. 

18. When spaghetti squash is ready, remove from oven and carefully (using oven mitts and a fork) loosen the stringy squash “meat.” Let it remain in the skin or “bowl” and create a well in the center like a nest. 

19. Gently spoon red sauce into one half of the boat and pumpkin seed pesto into the other half. You will have half red and half green. 

20. Sprinkle nutritional yeast in a line down the center between the two sauces. It will resemble the Italian flag!


1. Roasting spaghetti squash bowl side up caramelizes the edges of the squash and helps it to retain its signature al dente crunch. 

2. Both the red sauce and pumpkin seed pesto can be made ahead and frozen. Simply reheat in a small saucepan on the stovetop.

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Liza's Spaghetti Squash Boats
Liza's Spaghetti Squash Boats
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Liza's Spaghetti Squash Boats
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