Feeling a little bloated from a food hangover? Or just want to eat a little healthier in the New Year? I first saw this recipe when my sister Lolly posted the link on Facebook during Winter break. And I thought after all of the heavy, caloric food that’s been offered the past several weeks, this Lemon Chicken and Spaghetti Squash looked like a quick, healthy and delicious alternative. Had to get it on our upcoming meal repertoire ASAP!
Eager to try it, I got around to making it immediately after the holidays ended. In so doing, we incorporated our homemade turkey stock (we were out of homemade chicken stock) in place of commercial chicken stock. My guess is the dish may be too bland if you use packaged broth, but if you do, think about including some other spices and/or herbs of your choice to amp up the flavor.
A few other changes included adding some fresh cremini mushrooms, increasing the cherry tomatoes by about another cup, and decreased the baby spinach—only because our package weighed five ounces, not eight as the ingredients called for. Our two chicken breasts weighed in at 3/4 pound, which was plenty for two, with leftovers.
Cooked as instructed, the roasted squash came out perfectly! What a clever idea to “fork” the squash around the perimeter and then microwave for 5 minutes before you cut it in half. How come I never heard of this technique before?? I’m going to try this next time I roast an acorn squash too because they can be such buggers to try and slice open.
In a straight line around the perimeter, use a fork to make holes.
After microwaving for five minutes, cut the squash in half along the “forked” line.
Scoop out the seeds and fibers and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
Spread a little olive oil all over the cut side and season with salt and pepper. Make sure to turn the cut side down before roasting.
In addition, as toppers we sprinkled on some red pepper flakes (shocked, right?) and a tad of shredded parmesan cheese. I’m thinking some rendition of this will become a monthly dinner staple during the cooler months.
NOTE: To make it a vegetarian dish, use vegetable broth and tofu chunks in place of the chicken.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 chicken breast, cut into 1-2 in pieces
For the sauce:
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 cup chicken broth (homemade if at all possible)
- 8 ounces baby spinach
Sear the chicken pieces in hot oil for several minutes.
After the chicken is removed from the skillet, add onions (and mushrooms if using) and sauté for a few minutes.
Broth and lemon juice are added after the tomatoes and garlic and will simmer for 20 minutes.
The chicken is added back after the sauce has reduced down for 20 minutes.
The final step is folding in the baby spinach until it wilts.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- With a fork, poke several holes into the spaghetti squash along a straight line from end to end. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Cut squash in half along the holes. Remove seeds with a spoon. Drizzle squash interior with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place squash cut-side down on baking tray and bake for 40 minutes until soft. Let cool.
- While squash is roasting, using a skillet, cook the chicken breast on medium-high heat with a little olive oil for 6-8 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Sauté onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add lemon juice and chicken broth, and cook until the liquid partially reduces, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
- Using a fork, shred the inside of the squash.
- Pour sauce over the squash. Serve immediately.
After roasting for 40 minutes, let the squash cool slightly then shred the inside with a fork and add to dinner plates.
Over your shredded squash, ladle the chicken and veggie mixture adding any other toppings last.
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