Spaghetti squash is one of nature’s food miracles – vegetable noodles grown in a shell! I love the freshness of spaghetti squash and use it in any hot dish that usually calls for spaghetti noodles. It’s guilt-free and usually works great! This creamy avocado pesto is the perfect compliment to the freshness of spaghetti squash. Plus – from start to finish, this recipe takes only 30 minutes!
I know, I know, cooking spaghetti squash can be a pain. As much as I love spaghetti squash, sometimes I don’t feel like going to the effort of baking it for upwards of 45 minutes. And then there’s always the worry that I’ll chop off my fingers while preparing it… Roasting squash has always felt like more work than boiling noodles.
I’ve discovered the quickest, easiest trick to cooking spaghetti squash.
And it’s so obvious I wonder why it’s taken me this long to figure it out. Any guesses?
And the answer is… microwave it! Seriously.
All you have to do is poke around the squash every few inches with a knife and then stick it in the microwave for 5 minute increments 3 times. Once cooked, it’s easy to cut because it’s soft! Also much easier to scrape the seeds out. In sum: microwaving leads to quicker cook time and easier cutting. Game changer.
Now about this avocado pesto.
Pesto is a favorite around my house, and avocado takes it to the next level by adding some creaminess while also reducing the oil. We’ve used this pesto on sandwiches and noodles and loved it. I am sure it would be great on anything, really.
It is also really simple to make – all that’s needed is a food processor. Throw all the ingredients in while your squash is cooking and blend until smooth. It turns into a nice, thick sauce that coats the spaghetti squash noodles well.
Traditionally, pesto calls for pine nuts, but I’ve found that walnuts do a good enough job and at a fraction of the price. If you’re a pine nut lover though, feel free to use those in place of the walnuts in this recipe.
I decided to use shrimp and cherry tomatoes to round out this recipe, but it would also be delicious with some grilled chicken and spinach or peas. Pre-cooked shrimp and tomatoes worked well to make the dish in under 30 minutes because they only need to be sautéed for a few minutes and sprinkled with salt and pepper, but feel free to experiment with other veggies as time permits!
So there you have it, a very quick, very healthy, very tasty meal! I hope your family loves it as much as mine did!
Avocado Pesto Spaghetti Squash
- Using a small, sharp knife, carefully pierce the skin of the spaghetti squash every few inches. Place whole squash on a microwave safe dish and microwave for 5 minutes. Rotate and cook for 5 more minutes. Repeat once or twice more, or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto: add avocado, basil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, walnuts, salt, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until a smooth paste forms.
- Saute shrimp and cut tomatoes on medium-high heat, or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once fully cooked, use a large knife to cut the spaghetti squash in half, from stem to bottom. Carefully scrape out seeds and discard. Using a spoon, scrape the “noodles” out of the skin and place in a bowl. Add the pesto sauce and mix until spaghetti squash noodles are well coated.
- Serve Shrimp and tomatoes over pesto spaghetti squash. Garnish with extra parmesan if desired.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie