Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with spicy Italian Sausage, Spinach, Apples, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack Cheese is a perfect Fall and Winter recipe. The stuffing is savory, spicy, sweet, and filling - blending perfectly with the spaghetti squash. This gluten-free recipe is a perfect addition to the holiday menu (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and is also a great option for an easy weeknight meal.
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash - easy side dish or main meal
This incredibly easy crowd-pleasing recipe is a well-balanced meal that has everything: lots of veggies (spaghetti squash and spinach), protein (sausage), carbs (apples), and comfort food ingredients (cheddar and pepper jack cheese). It's a simple dinner that a whole family will love! Easy enough to make it on a busy weeknight, yet the presentation is so appealing that you can serve it when you have company over. Serve it as a side dish or as a complete meal on its own!
What can be more attractive on a holiday table than a colorful, festive dish featuring seasonal ingredients? Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (with sausage, spinach, apples, cheese, and fresh herbs) is a great side dish (or main course!) to serve for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year's Eve! It will surely please almost every taste because this recipe combines both savory and sweet flavors.
Why make it
- Stunning presentation. It's easy to have a beautiful-looking dish when you're dealing with stuffed spaghetti squash. Serve it in a deep large bowl and let your family and friends use a fork or spoon to scoop out the deliciousness right out of each squash half.
- The flavor combo is amazing. Spicy sausage and wilted spinach go so well with squash. Green apple (Granny Smith) and red apple (Fuji or Gala) add just the right amount of sweetness.
- Nutrition-wise, this recipe is high in protein and gluten-free.
Is spaghetti squash a fruit or vegetable?
Even though we usually view spaghetti squash (and really all types of squash) as vegetables, did you know that it is botanically considered a fruit? Why? Because, botanically speaking, fruits contain seeds and develop from the flowers of a plant. And, since all types of squash have seeds and come from the flowering part of plants, all types of squash are considered fruit! And this includes spaghetti squash! So, next time you see it in the store or serve it to your family and friends, you can call it a fruit.
- Spaghetti squash is low in calories and incredibly nutritious, and a good source of folic acid, potassium, and beta-carotene.
- Sausage. This recipe uses spicy Italian sausage which adds lots of savory flavors and a bit of spice to the squash. You can use any other type of spicy sausage. If you don't like spicy sausage, use mild or sweet Italian sausage. You can also use chicken sausage. I used crumbled sausage, however, you can use the one in casings, too - just remove the casings and crumble it as you cook it.
- Spinach - I used fresh spinach, but frozen spinach can certainly be used! Make sure to thaw it and drain it from any liquid. I would even pat it dry with paper towels.
- Apples. Fresh apples not only add natural sweetness but also add texture. Pick apples with a firm texture and avoid apples with a soft and mushy texture. I also recommend using 2 different colors for the presentation - red and green. For green apples, I used the Granny Smith variety. For red apples, I recommend Gala, Fuji, or Honey Crisp. Do not peel the apples - it works better for presentation!
- Italian seasoning combines just the right dried herbs and is perfect for the stuffed spaghetti squash. You can also use fresh herbs if you like, such as thyme, sage, or oregano. But, since the sausage has such a strong flavor, just stick with the dried herb mix - it works the best here!
How to make stuffed spaghetti squash - the overview
- Roast the squash. You will need 2 medium spaghetti squashes. Carefully slice each one in half, and scoop out the seeds. (Tip: you can microwave each spaghetti squash for about 5 or 10 minutes to soften it a bit before slicing the squash in half. Make several large slits in the squash before microwaving.) You will have 4 squash halves. Roast the squash cut sides down in the preheated oven at 400 F for about 40 minutes.
- Make the filling. In the meantime, you will prepare a super easy and very tasty filling made with spicy Italian sausage, Italian seasoning, garlic, spinach, and chopped apples! I used 2 different kinds of apples to provide an interesting flavor profile (tart Granny Smith green apple and sweet Fuji red apple).
- Stuff the squash. After the spaghetti squash is roasted, stuff it with the sausage-spinach-apple filling.
- Bake the stuffed squash. Top the spaghetti squash with shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese, and reheat it in the oven (or under the broiler) briefly until the cheese melts. That's it!
Variatoins and substitutions
- Use any winter squash. You can make this recipe with butternut squash or acorn squash and stuff it with the same filling. When using acorn squash, keep in mind that they are smaller in size and bake faster in the oven (about 30 minutes in the preheated oven at 400 F).
- Other cheeses that you can use besides cheddar and pepper jack are shredded mozzarella, habanero cheddar, Parmesan, or Asiago.
- Other greens besides spinach that will work well in stuffed spaghetti squash are kale, Swiss chard, and arugula.
- Fruit. Use chopped apples or pears.
- Nuts. Dress up this dish by adding pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, or slivered almonds.
- Dried fruit. You can also add cranberries, dried figs, raisins, or dried cherries.
- Toppings. Top the stuffed spaghetti squash with red pepper flakes, green onions, or chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil.
- Use crumbled sausage. It works best for stuffing the spaghetti squash. However, if you bought sausage in casings, that's not a problem - just remove the casings and crumble the sausage as you cook it.
- Fresh spinach or frozen. I used fresh spinach but frozen spinach (thawed and drained well of all liquid) can be used here, as well.
- To use cooking time efficiently, make the sausage mixture while you roast the spaghetti squash in the oven.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Refrigerate the leftover stuffed spaghetti squash in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheat in the oven. Reheat it in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. You can also microwave the leftovers. For the best and fastest results, you can take the spinach, sausage, apple, and cheese mixture out of the squash, and reheat this mixture and the squash separately. Then stuff this mixture back into the spaghetti squash.
What to serve with it
Simple, colorful, vibrant, and delicious Fall-themed salads are a perfect combination with stuffed spaghetti squash. Here are my favorites:
- Arugula Salad with Apples, Cranberries, Pecans, and Balsamic Dressing
- Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese and Lemon-Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
- Autumn Salad with Arugula, roasted Butternut Squash, dried Figs, toasted sliced Almonds, and Pomegranate Seeds.
- Simple Spinach Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese
- Arugula Salad with Pears, Apples, and Cashews
Other spaghetti squash recipes you might like
- Southwestern Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
- Parmesan Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, and Bacon with Pine Nuts
- Bacon, Spaghetti Squash, and Parmesan Fritters
- Parmesan Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- 2 spaghetti squash medium size
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 16 oz spicy Italian sausage crumbled
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning or Herbs from Provence
- 10 oz spinach
- 2 apples (1 green apple, 1 red apple cored and chopped)
- 4 oz pepper jack cheese shredded
- 4 oz cheddar cheese shredded
How to roast spaghetti squash
- Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut each squash in 2 halves, scrape out the seeds and the fiber out of each half.
- Note: before cutting each squash, you can microwave it for about 5 or 10 minutes to soften the hard skin a bit, and then cut each squash in half. Make several large slits in the squash before microwaving.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cut sides and inside of the squash. Generously season with salt and pepper.
- Place the 4 squash halves on the prepared baking sheet cut side down.
- Roast for about 30 or 40 minutes on the middle rack. Remove it from the oven when it's cooked through and soft. You can check by pulling the baking sheet out of the oven and piercing the squash with the fork - it should be soft.
- Remove the squash from the oven.
- While the squash is roasted, proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Make the stuffing
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat in a large, high-sided skillet.
- Add crumbled sausage and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sausage is cooked. Drain excess fat.
- Add Italian seasoning to the cooked sausage, and stir to combine.
- Add fresh spinach in batches to the sausage and cook on medium heat until the spinach wilts.
- Add chopped apples and mix with the sausage and spinach mixture.
How to stuff spaghetti squash
- By this time, you have roasted the spaghetti squash for 30 or 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven and turn the cooked squash halves cut sides up.
- Let it cool slightly.
- Divide the sausage, spinach, and apple mixture among the 4 halves and stuff the squash until the mixture is leveled. Top with shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
- Roast the stuffed spaghetti squash in the preheated oven at 400 F for 15 more minutes until the cheese melts.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.