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Spaghetti-Squash Chili

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Why do people think fast food has to be unhealthy?

When I got home from class, yesterday, I was hungry, so I wanted something that could be thrown together quickly. But that didn’t mean sacrificing health for convenience. In truth, this meal came together faster than I could’ve even driven to the closest McDonald’s:


Spaghetti Squash with Amy’s black-bean chili and tomatoes.

So easy to make: Poke holes in the spaghetti squash, then cut in half (widthwise) with a large knife. Bake at 400 F until soft (about an hour), then remove strands.  Mix the squash with Amy’s brand black-bean chili, then add a dash of cumin and little chili powder. Mix in 1/3 cup or so of Rotel diced tomatoes (original) with green chilis.

vegan chili

It was so good! After the spaghetti-chili bowl, I moved on to the rest of the meal. I’d cooked the brussels sprouts a few days ago; therefore I didn’t have to do much, yesterday, in terms of preparation.

chili meal

For the vegetable side dish, I used this recipe: Candy Veggies.

And once my “candy” was gone, I had something equally delicious and coconutty. These stayed in the freezer until consumption of the first two meal components so they wouldn’t live up to their name and melt.


Shown above: Coconut Melties.

If a meal has coconut, it can’t be bad, right?

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. YUMMY!! That looks really good :) I really like eating spaghetti squash as a dessert-type because it is sweet. I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on it with some coconut butter/oil and I am good to go!

  2. Molly says:

    I love spaghetti squash! I cut it in half, nuke for 12 minutes, and voila! I actually had it for dinner last night and am having it for lunch today. Simple, delicious, good :)

  3. I didn’t know they sold canned vegan chili! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that :)
    My favourite way to eat spaghetti squash is on a salad, it soaks up some of the dressing and tastes so delicious! It should be a bit warm before you top the salad with it.
    By the way, I tried your coconut melties and they were just as great as I’d imagined them to be :) :) Thanks for that little recipe!

    1. Thanks, Nicole! I’m so excited you tried them. I think I’m addicted hehe :-?.

  4. Interesting that a larger squash yields sweeter strands…usually I have heard that smaller = sweeter for melons, so it’s funny that it’s the opposite with squash. :)

    I don’t usually think of spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute…just as a generally delicious treat in its own right!

    My favorite method is to toss the strands with some chopped sundried tomatoes with a little of their oil, as well as some sauteed zucchini or mushrooms or whatever. The squash soaks up the sundried tomato flavor in the oil and it is delicious hot or cold!

    1. I wish that were the case… ’cause my choice is: small squash with thin, mushy strands or large squash that yields way too much for one person to eat it all without getting seriously sick of squash before it goes bad lol!

  5. Lisa C. says:

    Mmm, I love spaghetti squash with pasta sauce. As someone who is trying to lose a little weight, it IS a pasta substitute for me. Sure, it’s not like the real thing, but it sure beats those slimy shirataki noodles!
    😉 😉

  6. abby says:

    love love love spaghetti squash! never thought of mixing it with chili, though. that sounds yumlicious! :)

  7. I LOVE spaghetti squash. I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti noodles themselves, and this way I get in a serving of veggies! I usually just toss in some garlic powder or all-purpose seasoning and some tomato sauce (literally, just tomatoes, no added herbs or whatever). Now that I have nutritional yeast I hope to try that out as well.

    1. Valerie says:

      I love how you get a veggie serving in there, too!
      Sometimes, for my kids, I’ll add spaghetti squash strands to actual pasta. That way, they’re excited for the spaghetti and I’m excited they’re eating veggies :). Win win!

  8. Valerie says:

    As I wrote above, I’m a huge fan of spaghetti squash. But the first time I brought it home, I had NO idea it would look like spaghetti. I was so surprised! :)

  9. eatandrun says:

    Thanks for a great idea. This looks delicious!

  10. Fast food can totally be good and healthy food! I have half a spaghetti squash and chili in the freezer. I see a quick dinner in the near future!

  11. Caitlin says:

    Those sprouts look angelic, as if they are glowing!

    I really like spaghetti squash. Since I have to avoid most wheat products, spaghetti squash and brown rice pasta are my two favorite noodle-y options!

  12. Sarahishealthy says:

    As a matter of fact, I HAVE tried candy veggies! :) I tried them two days ago, and it’s all I can think about especially now after seeing them again on your blog. I am impatiently waiting til grocery day so I can stock up on more brussel sprouts and make more candy! :)

  13. hmcclees says:

    Hey Katie! I love this idea. I love spaghetti squash and usually make my own homemade marinara with mushroom, tomatoes,garlic, basil and parsley and serve over the top as a spaghetti surprise. It’s delicious:)

  14. Leslie says:

    It is funny, isn’t it, how we automatically think McDonalds and Burger King at the mention of fast food. But some of the healthiest foods are “fast” food. Youcan’t get any faster than raw carrots and dip, now can you?

  15. Jess says:

    I’m addicted to spaghetti squash! I love it with some sauteed eggplant and mushrooms. Plus, it keeps well in the fridge for two days.

  16. Angela says:

    Haha I can just imagine frozen spaghetti squash. Ewwww…. of course I am actually not a lover of the stuff in any form. More for everyone else, I guess! 😉

  17. I was thinking “coconut melties” would be fabulous to take to my family christmas supper for the “treat table”. But Im not so sure now that I think about it… with all that cooking and body heat, it would be just my luck that they would melt ;0)

    I think Ill make them for myself instead 😀

    1. I was just thinking the same thing! I thought: Maybe I should make these for Thanksgiving… oh wait, that’d be expensive, and people wouldn’t appreciate them for the delicacy they are. Plus, they might melt! LOL oh well, more for us, right? 😉

  18. Sarah A. says:

    I must make your coconut melties. I keep seeing them everywhere around the blogworld!

  19. dragonmamma/naomi says:

    I assume you had the spaghetti squash already cooked? I can’t imagine just heating up a hunk of spaghetti squash for a few minutes and achieving the proper texture.

  20. I loveee spaghetti squash, I have some left over in the fridge waiting to be eaten tonight :) Can’t get enough of it! Your concoction looks delish :)

  21. Lorin says:

    I’ve made spaghetti squash once in the oven. As much as I like them they are such a pain to cut (we have bad knives so that is part of the problem too) and I didn’t cook them long enough even though it was in the oven for 45 minutes already. It is delicious though, I’ve only had a few times in my life.

  22. I love coconut. It works so well with anything!

    Making fast meals can be so healthy and so many people don’t realize there are endless possibilities besides salads.

  23. Diana says:

    Looks like a fabulous lunch. Certainly better than anything you could get at McD’s. Last I checked, they didn’t have anything with coconut :(. Too bad for them!

  24. i LOVE spag. squash. ever since i found out i can’t have gluten ( several months ago) i have been subbing in veggies as grains (cauliflower rice, zuke noodies or spaghetti squash). i don’t even miss the real thing! this is a fave combo in my book!

  25. Spaghetti squash is definitely a favorite of mine. Shoot, it’s what I kicked off my blog with! :)

    1. Hehe way to go in with a bang! :)

  26. Marissa says:

    I wish I’d had your lunch! Mine are always so boring in comparison hehehe.
    As for spaghetti squash, I love it, but my knives don’t! They can barely cut it :(.

  27. Camille says:

    I love squash in any variation. I could eat it for at least 1 meal a day! Unfortunately, the prep is sometimes a pain in the butt. I’m not a fan of peeling and cutting squash.

  28. I love vegan chili, just relinked my recipe today. Pretty much just dump a bunch of stuff in a pot and pray for the best…LOL :)

    As for spagh squash, yep, I dig it! Along w/ spiralized zucchini noodles.

    Fresh or raw or cooked plant based foods CAN be so fast…and are almost always more nutritious than their processed counterparts, i.e. gluten containing noodles.

    And I am a huge fan on FAST. Have to be with a FT Job, and FT family to care and cook for :)

  29. I’ve read two spaghetti squash blog posts in a row (the other was on Why I Consume Art). I think the universe is trying to tell me something! BTW, the coco-hearts look sooooo adorable!

  30. L. says:

    I agree that all the fuss and fear about pasta is just silly. If anyone cares so much, they can count the calories and work them into their healthy diet like any other food. Just remember to eat veggies and fruits, which are carbs as well, and you are fine. Not like they are twinkies :) Though in my opinion, that spaghetti squash looks way finer and tastier to me than noodles. I guess I’m not that big on grains for some reason…I don’t get it. o.O I’m more of a nuts girl, which are even MORE feared lol. Oh no, healthy fats! I’m pretty sure you’ve written a few things on that subject as well 😛

    At the same point, now I am really wanting some of my colorful alphabet soup noodles right now, just because they are sooo darn cute.

    Take Care Miss Chocolate :)

  31. Namaste Gurl says:

    Your lunch looks amazing and tasty. Love the addition of those coconut melties. I’m hooked on them now because of you– thanks :)

  32. Fi says:

    There are some foods that make md jealous I don’t live in America! Artisana and justins being one and the second us spaghetti swish squash Looks sooo good! Xx

  33. Claire says:

    I’ve never had Spaghetti Squash, this will have to be remedied when autumn comes around! In the meantime there’s a few things to say:
    1) Lemon LOVER! Well really any citrus fruit, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, passionfruit etc … I’ll try and begin a summer love affair with them all 😉
    2) I’m a Harry Potter fan these days but when the books initially came out and everyone was crazy about them I tried to aviod them (not sure why) but then a few years ago I was sick for two weeks and had read all other books in the house I turned to Harry Potter and really enjoyed them. Now I’m kicking myself for having started so late 😛
    3 – Which is of great importance) I made some Boatmeal this morning with pear, then a thought occured “what classically goes with pear and Katie would like?” It was obvious “CHOCOLATE” … that may or may not have been an audible cry 😛 So I grabbed a little piece … who am I kidding? A good sized piece of 70% and proceeded. The result was a sublime breakfast, sweet from the pear but the bitterness of the chocolate cut though it nicely. Seriously, this is the best combination I’ve tried so far Pear and Chocolate Boatmeal, give it a shot. (I’m not obsessed or anything clearly :P)

    1. Ok, I don’t think I can take your word for it. I’m going to just have to try it for myself. Darn, do I have to? 😉 😉 It sounds so good, Claire!

  34. kristisn says:

    I’ve never tried spaghetti squash…. I know, it’s hard to believe :) One of these days I’m going to try it.

  35. Hey Girl!! I love spaghetti squash and I am drooling over here over you lunch!

    What the heck are these gorgeous coconut goodnesses?? I must try them! I usually add coconut oil to my squash with a bit of sea salt….drool


    1. Coconut melties!! Must try lol! :)

  36. BroccoliHut says:

    I heart spaghetti squash too, but I find that no matter how many recipes I try, I like it best just straight-up roasted with a little salt. YUM.

  37. That’s what I try to tell my bf too! usually you can throw together a far more healthier meal at home in the same time that you drove to McDonald’s, ordered and drove back home. Luckily, he believes me now 😉

  38. I never buy squash because I don’t have any big knives. Is it hard to cut up? And did you cook it? I’ll admit, squash still intimidates me a bit…

    1. I have this old knife that I bang through the squash with another knife. Perhaps it’s not the most professional way to cut a squash in half LOL, but it works! Yes, I definitely cooked it (cut in 1/2, bake at 400 for an hour or more, depending on the size). Then you get to scoop out the middle, which is fun :).

  39. That lunch looks right my alley…I have roasted sprouts almost every night. I actually find the smaller spaghetti squash to be sweeter and the larger ones to be watery. Spaghetti squash and pesto with brewers yeast is the best!

    1. Brewers yeast? Hmmm, I might have to try it! I’ve heard that brewers yeast is really healthy.

  40. My favorite way to eat whipped cream is in almond-milk hot chocolate, of course! Or just straight from the can…no shame in that.

  41. I never thought about mixing spaghetti squash with chili, awesome idea!

  42. Emily says:

    I love this idea, Katie! I agree…healthy food can be fast, and I wish more people would realize that!

  43. dara says:

    Cut the squash (spaghetti) length wise in half. Bake the squash cut side down in a shallow baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water at the bottom @ 425F until the squash is tender. Remove from oven, let cool. Scrape out the insides of the squash careful not to tear the shell but getting as much insides out as possible. Stir the insides with your choice of Italian seasonings: oregano, basil, marjoram, tarragon… whatever; dried or fresh plus salt and pepper to taste. Line the inside of each shell with your favorite pasta sauce or make your own. Divide the “insides” mixture equally between the shells, then cover the insides with more sauce. Top with your choice of herbs (or cheese for those who eat it) and then bake at 425 for 5-10 minutes. Eat squash out of the shell and enjoy :)

  44. Sapphire says:

    I’m thinking of making chili with lentils tomorrow. I have plenty of lentils :)

  45. Lindsey says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing more non-dessert recipes! I love vegetables too!