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August 17, 2020

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash with Pesto is a fresh, tasty meal. Packed with vegetables, this dish is a healthy plant-based dinner.

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash

A dish full of veggies is the best kind of dish!

I love when it's easy to eat vegetables. For me, that means a meal that makes a lot (read: tons of healthy leftovers) and a meal that is flavorful.

If it tastes incredible, I'm more likely to eat it. And if it makes a large volume then I have servings for days.

This dish meets both those criteria. Spaghetti squash produces a TON of volume. And the fresh basil in the vegan tofu pesto is so tasty.

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash with Pesto is the perfect dish to prep on the weekends and enjoy all week! I don't know about you, but I never get tired of pesto. And the spaghetti squash kind of makes it seem like I'm eating pasta. But it's even healthier!

Now, there are a couple moving parts in this recipe. You basically have three separate steps to complete the dish.

First, you cook the spaghetti squash. This is easy because it's hands-off. Just scoop out the seeds and pop it in the oven.

Then you make the pesto. Throw basil and the other pesto ingredients into a food processor until it creates a smooth paste.

Finally, you cook the zucchini and tomatoes. Sauté them really quick to soften them up.

After that, you just put everything together! No need to freak out about the multiple steps. This recipe begs for multi-tasking. You should be able to easily make the pesto and get the zucchini cooking while the spaghetti squash is still in the oven.

But I don't want to get ahead of myself. Let's talk ingredients!

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

In a dish that's mostly vegetables, most of the ingredients will be, well, vegetables! Eating a variety of veg helps you get all the nutrients you need.

  • Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti squash is a fun type of squash named because the tender part of the squash looks like spaghetti. They are in season late summer and early fall, so buy them when they're fresh!
  • Zucchini: Use green zucchini for more color variety in this dish. More colors = more antioxidants.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: For a fresh pop of color, choose red tomatoes over yellow.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds tang and umami to the dish and helps flavor the veg.
  • Vegetable Broth: We'll use vegetable broth to cook the zucchini and tomatoes, instead of oil. Make sure you buy one with no added salt or sugar!
  • Basil: Before you use all of it in the pesto (see below), save a couple leaves to use as a topping. A fresh pop of flavor at the end makes a huge difference.

Tofu Pesto

We'll be making vegan pesto (of course) so there are a couple substitutes to a traditional pesto recipe.

  • Fresh Basil: No substitutes here. Basil is the star of any pesto recipe. I call for 2 ounces, which is a lot. But it's worth it for all the flavor!
  • Extra Firm Tofu: Traditional pesto recipes use oil to create a paste. We'll use tofu instead as an extra punch of protein and nutrients that oil doesn't have.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Pesto usually has parmesan cheese, but we can use nutritional yeast to bring that cheesy flavor. AND (as the name suggests) nutritional yeast is filled with good-for-you nutrients, unlike cheese.
  • Walnuts: I prefer walnuts in my pesto because of their proven brain benefits, but pine nuts will work just fine.
  • Garlic: For tang and umami.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV adds more tang and helps thin out the pesto.
  • Salt: Salt is a flavor enhancer. It's especially crucial in this dish because we're using nutritional yeast. Salt really brings out the cheesy flavor.

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash

How to make Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

It seems like a lot, but don't freak out. You'll have this dish ready in no time. AND since it makes so much, you definitely won't have to cook for a couple days!

Step 1. Start by cooking the spaghetti squash. I give simple instructions here, but if you're interested in a more in-depth tutorial check out my post on how to cook spaghetti squash.

Step 2. Using a large knife, cut the top and bottom off of a spaghetti squash. Cutting off both ends isn't 100% necessary, but I find it makes it much easier to cut in half. If you have a flat end on the bottom and a flat end on the top you can feel stable when you cut.

Step 3. Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Then scoop out the seeds.

Step 4. Place the spaghetti squash halves face down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until just tender. Note that this is a shorter time than I suggest in my spaghetti squash tutorial -- we want fresh, just done veggies for this recipe.

Step 5. While the spaghetti squash cooks you can start on the other two parts of this dish. First, prepare the tofu pesto. Add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste for salt.

Step 6. Then move on to the zucchini and tomatoes. Heat a splash of vegetable broth in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Use only a tablespoon or two or else you'll end up with tons of liquid in the pan.

Step 7. Add the sliced zucchini and sauté for 15 minutes, until they are just soft. Add extra vegetable broth if they start to stick. (But not too much! -- You shouldn't use more than 1/4 cup total.)

Step 8. Add the cherry tomatoes and minced garlic to the pan. Cook with the lid on for 3 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook off any remaining liquid for 30 seconds.

Step 9. When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scoop out the insides. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan with the zucchini and tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Step 10. Mix the pesto into the squash or serve in bowls first and mix the pesto individually into each bowl. Top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash

Recipe Prayer

Thank you God for fresh, seasonal vegetables that give us the nutrients our bodies crave. Amen.

Related Recipes

If you're looking for more summer vegetable recipes, check out my Vegan Ratatouille Bake or my No-Bake Plant-Based Stuffed Peppers.

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash

**This post contains affiliate links, for more information see my disclosure here.

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Zucchini Tomato Spaghetti Squash with Pesto is a fresh, tasty meal. Packed with vegetables, this dish is a healthy plant-based dinner.

Author:

Elizabeth

Serves:

4

Prep:

10

min

cook:

45

min

total:

55

min

Ingredients

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, sliced
  • 8 Ounces Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Vegetable Broth
  • 2-4 Sliced Basil Leaves, to serve

Tofu Pesto

  • 2 Ounces Fresh Basil
  • 4 Ounces Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons (15 g) Walnuts
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Using a large knife, cut the top and bottom off of a spaghetti squash. Cut in half lengthwise. Then scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place the spaghetti squash halves face down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until just tender.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the tofu pesto. Add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste for salt.
  5. Next, heat a splash of vegetable broth in a large nonstick pan over medium heat.
  6. Add the sliced zucchini and saute for 15 minutes, until they are just soft. Add extra vegetable broth if they start to stick.
  7. Add the cherry tomatoes and minced garlic. Cook with the lid on for 3 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook off any remaining liquid for 30 seconds.
  8. When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scoop out the insides.
  9. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan with the zucchini and tomatoes. Stir to combine.
  10. Mix the pesto into the squash or serve in bowls first and mix the pesto individually into each bowl. Top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

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August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography