This spaghetti squash marinara with butternut and chickpeas is so exciting, not just because it was the first thing I cooked in my new kitchen when we moved to Texas, but mostly because it rocks! And I know it’s actually good because my husband and two toddler boys agreed. I never expect to like spaghetti squash, and yet it always blows me away. No, it’s not really anything like spaghetti. But it is still filling and satisfying (not to mention nutritious!) and a great neutral base for an awesome sauce.
Speaking of sauce, this sauce is…awesomesauce. It’s rich (but not TOO rich), full of coziness and flavor, and is made with super easy ingredients you might even already have on hand.
The chickpeas add a great texture, nutrition, and help keep you fuller longer, which is especially great here since spaghetti squash will not hold you over as long as its real spaghetti counterpart!
The marinara sauce is definitely optional but adds a great punch of flavor. I’ll admit I did not make my own this time, but there are tons of great marinara recipes out there, or you could even just use some canned crushed tomatoes.
A Note About Blenders
Pro tip – you can not beat the smoothness that comes from using a Vitamix. I have used a lot of blenders, and there’s simply no comparison to a Vitamix. If cost is an issue, you can buy a refurbished Vitamix for significantly less, and there are sales going on regularly from different stores. Either way, consider it a long-term investment. They have great costumer service, and many people’s Vitamix blenders last them thirty years!
However, while smoothness results with other blenders will not ever reach Vitamix quality, you can still make your sauces much smoother by leaving them in the blender or food processor longer. I know this might seem obvious, but you don’t know how many times I’ve seen people with not the greatest blender blend for 10 seconds and call it done. If you give it a minimum of a good 30 seconds to even a few minutes, it will get things so much smoother.
If purchasing a Vitamix just isn’t in the cards for you right now, a Ninja blender or Cuisinart food processor are still great options for blending. You can check out all my appliance recommendations in my online shop.
Now let’s get to it!
Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Butternut Cream and Chickpeas
- 1/2 large spaghetti squash sliced lengthwise
- 1/3 cup optional marinara sauce of your choice
- Several small basil leaves optional
- 1 can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
Butternut Cream Sauce
- 1/2 can butternut squash puree pumpkin or sweet potato would probably be fine
- 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar white or apple cider vinegar would be fine
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast optional
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the squash to your taste.
- Place the two halves face-down on your baking sheet and bake for 40-60 minutes, until browning on the outside and edges and soft (but not mushy) on the inside.
- Meanwhile, place all butternut cream sauce ingredients into your blender and blend on high until VERY smooth and creamy. There should not be any chunks or pieces!
- When your spaghetti squash is ready, flip the halves over and reserve one half for another day. Pour most of the can of chickpeas into the other half of your spaghetti squash (reserving a small handful), sprinkle salt and pepper on the chickpeas to your liking, and stir.
- If the sauce is not already very hot from blending, heat it now (however you like).
- Pour as much of the butternut cream sauce as will fit over the chickpeas inside the squash, and reserve the rest of the sauce for another time.
- Garnish with remaining chickpeas, add a dash of pepper, then spoon a few tablespoons of (optional) marinara.
- Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the whole dish is heated through.
- Top with a few basil leaves. Serve along with extra butternut cream sauce and marinara and enjoy!