When the skies are grey, and the air is chilly, I crank up the music (and the thermostat) and turn to a comforting dinner of cheesy Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken and bacon to warm my soul.
Is the weather a dominant topic of conversation where you live too?
It comes up often in Wisconsin. I wonder if people in California or Florida talk about the weather with the same frequency?
Can you bond over pleasant temps and abundant sunshine the way you can over frigid air and permaclouds?
While I can’t give you that answer, I can say with certainty that, no matter the temperature and region, we can all unite around simple, delicious weeknight dinners such as these spaghetti squash boats with chicken and bacon (or one of these other healthy baked casserole recipes).
They’re comforting enough for a cold Wisconsin night while being healthy enough to be appropriate for a lighter evening meal (just like this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna).
5 Star Review
“My family loved it! We’ll be making it again.”— Carolyn —
How to Make Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken
These spaghetti squash boats with chicken and bacon remind me of chicken Alfredo, without the heaviness and excess (unless it’s my healthy Chicken Alfredo Bake). They are creamy, cheesy, and satisfying, but (unlike chicken Alfredo) they are well-balanced and won’t send you into a total food coma afterward.
- Spaghetti Squash. Instead of pasta, these spaghetti squash boats rely on the roasted spaghetti squash itself (like this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna), which shreds into thin, noodle-like strands.
- Greek Yogurt. Replaces Alfredo’s signature heavy cream for a protein-packed healthy swap (also used in my favorite healthy Turkey Tetrazzini).
- Chicken. Lean and juicy chicken breasts deliver protein without excess fat (however if you prefer dark meat, feel free to swap for thighs.
- Garlic. Adds some zippy Italian flair.
- Spinach. A handful of sautéed greens gives the dish beautiful color and an extra serving of veg.
- Bacon. Keep things from becoming *too* virtuous (we are still going for comfort food, after all). I love the way the crunchy pieces contrast with the creamy Greek yogurt and tender chicken (similar to this Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole).
- Mozzarella. Because cheese is love. It gets mixed right in with the other “stuffing” ingredients and then melted on top too for good measure.
- Roast the spaghetti squash according to this recipe for Roasted Spaghetti Squash.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Cook the chicken in 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon fat and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Toss in the spinach. Stir until wilted, then add the Greek yogurt, basil, and half of the mozzarella cheese. Remove from heat.
- Use a fork to shred the spaghetti squash, keeping it in each squash half.
- Divide the chicken filling among the boats, and gently mix it into the shredded squash.
- Sprinkle with bacon and remaining mozzarella cheese, then bake until the cheesy is bubbly. ENJOY!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. The squash can be roasted and “shredded” up to 1 day in advance. The entire dish can be assembled up to 1 day in advance as well. Bake as directed just before serving.
- To Store. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat in the oven or gently in the microwave until hot.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing, as the spaghetti squash will become mushy.
How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? I hope it’s as pleasant and lovely as these easy spaghetti squash boats with chicken!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the recipe for these spaghetti squash boats with chicken, as it is written, is entirely gluten free.
I have not tried this particular recipe with ground turkey, however, I think it would be a wonderful swap for the chicken (see these Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats). Simple brown the turkey until cooked through and then finish preparing as directed in the recipe.
For a vegetarian version, you can omit the chicken and bacon (or swap them for a plant-based alternative). Then, load up on your favorite veggies. Roasted red peppers, portabello mushrooms, or roasted eggplant would all be lovely in this recipe. (These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are another great “stuffed” vegetarian entree to try.)
Spaghetti Squash Boats with Chicken
For the Roasted Squash
- 2 medium spaghetti squash about 2 pounds each
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Stuffing
- 4 strips thick-sliced center-cut bacon roughly chopped
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups baby spinach torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil plus additional for serving
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roast the spaghetti squash according to this recipe for Roasted Spaghetti Squash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered; about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry.
- Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and season with garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, then add the spinach. Stir the chicken and spinach together until the spinach wilts, then stir in the Greek yogurt, half of the mozzarella cheese, and basil.
- Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to shred and fluff the inside flesh so it's no longer attached to the walls and makes a "nest."
- Divide the chicken filling evenly among the boats, using a fork to lightly mix it with the spaghetti squash. Arrange the stuffed squash on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the reserved bacon and remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake until the cheesy is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve hot, sprinkled with additional fresh basil.
- MAKE-AHEAD: The squash can be roasted and “shredded” up to 1 day in advance. The entire dish can be assembled up to 1 day in advance as well. Bake as directed just before serving.
- TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm in the oven or gently in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: I do not recommend freezing, as the spaghetti squash will become mushy.
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