Spaghetti squash boats are fun to make and even more fun to eat! And despite being a multi-step recipe, they're ready in less than an hour.
These delicious "boats" let you enjoy the wonderful flavors and cheesiness of pizza 🍕 with a tasty vegetable base.
When my kids ask if we can order pizza, and I happen to have spaghetti squash in the house, I ask them if they would like these boats instead.
Nine times out of ten, the enthusiastic answer is "Yes!" So this should tell you how good they are. It's genius, really - enjoy all the cheesiness and goodness of pizza, but with a vegetable base.
Here's an overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make these tasty spaghetti squash boats. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
Spaghetti squash: I use a small 2-lb. squash in this recipe.
Marinara sauce: Try to use a sugar-free sauce such as Rao's.
Shredded mozzarella: Provolone is another good option.
Salt and pepper: Just a dash of each.
Topping: I like to use pepperoni.
Grated parmesan: It's best to use finely grated parmesan and not coarsely shredded, although if all you have is shredded, you can use that.
Chopped parsley: Used mostly as a pretty garnish. So if you don't have any on hand, you can simply skip it.
Making these spaghetti squash boats is easy! The full instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of the steps:
Rake a fork back and forth to remove strands of the flesh, keeping the shells intact.
Mix the strands with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella, then transfer them back to the shells.
Arrange the pepperoni on top and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and with parmesan.
Bake the boats until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
When you rake the flesh to create the strands, work carefully so that the shells remain intact, and leave some flesh in the shells.
But if, despite all your best efforts, the shells get torn, do not despair. Simply bake the filling in a casserole dish such as a square 8-inch baking dish. It won't be as pretty, but it will be just as delicious!
Frequently asked questions
I like to microwave it because it's so much faster. But baking does give you superior results in terms of texture and flavor.
Theoretically, you could, but I don't think it would be a very pleasant experience. Once baked in the oven, the skin will be quite tough and dry.
Piercing it helps prevent it from exploding in the microwave. So you definitely want to do that!
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can try different melty cheeses instead of mozzarella. Provolone is a good option.
- You can obviously use whatever toppings you like and enjoy. I tend to use pepperoni, but other options include olives, sauteed mushrooms, red onions, and bell peppers.
- Mix a cup of shredded cooked chicken into the strands. You might need to add some more pizza sauce if you do.
I usually serve these boats as a main course, alongside a simple green vegetable that I can cook in the same 425-degree oven, such as roasted Brussels sprouts.
You can also serve them with an easy side salad such as this arugula salad.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. They keep quite well, actually. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. I don't recommend freezing the leftovers.
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Spaghetti Squash Boats
- 1 (2 lb.) spaghetti squash
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- 4 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella divided
- Dash sea salt
- Dash black pepper
- 1 oz pepperoni (I like to use Applegate turkey pepperoni)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave: wipe the skin clean, pierce it in a few places with a sharp knife, place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high until tender, for about 5 minutes on each side.
- Allow the cooked squash to rest for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Cut it open with a sharp knife. Use a large spoon to discard the pulp and seeds. Rake a fork back and forth to create spaghetti-like strands, placing the strands in a large mixing bowl. Work carefully so that the shells remain intact, and leave some flesh in the shells.
- Add the marinara sauce to the spaghetti squash strands. Mix well to coat. Mix in 2 oz of the mozzarella.
- Sprinkle the inside of the squash shells with salt and pepper. Transfer the marinara-coated strands back into the shells. Arrange the pepperoni on top and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and with parmesan.
- Place the stuffed shells in a square 8-inch baking dish, or any baking dish that will hold them snugly. Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the boats with parsley. Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.