Chicken parmesan spaghetti squash is a lightened up version of your favorite Italian classic! Crispy, juicy chicken and homemade sauce over low carb squash.
When I decide to go low-carb or “skinny” with a meal, I make sure the rest of the flavors make up for it. Here, we’re taking no shortcuts with the delicious, homemade marinara sauce, and it makes all the difference. Pasta? Spaghetti squash? Who cares as long as it’s smothered in that heavenly tomato sauce.
This chicken parmesan spaghetti squash holds a special place in my heart. I’ll set the scene for you: It’s any old week night, Taylor and I are about a month into dating, and we’re at my old, tiny apartment with my fat cat Max (R.I.P.) about to watch a movie. I’d been dabbling into cooking dinner for Taylor over the past couple weeks, but knowing the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, it had been decadent to say the least. Smothered pork chops with mashed potatoes. Creamy, white chicken chile enchiladas. Homemade fettuccine alfredo. The stuff of “legend” in Taylor’s mind now that I try and cook semi-healthier.
So anyways, here I am, cooking in the kitchen, about to drop a bomb on him. I was going to serve him chicken parmesan spaghetti squash knowing full well this man had no clue what a spaghetti squash was.
I was nervous. It was that type of early-on nervousness, feeling-eachother-out phase, where any kind of rejection, let alone a culinary one, could end in pure emotional devastation.
Bless his heart, Taylor didn’t make a peep of complaint (like he would feel comfortable doing now) and kept telling me how delicious it was. Now, for clarity, he did barely scratch the surface of the actual spaghetti squash, but the chicken and sauce itself was so amazing it didn’t even matter. Nowadays, I make myself spaghetti squash and cook him regular spaghetti (since we literally eat chicken parmesan weekly) but he still speaks fondly of that original chicken parmesan night.
This recipe, my friends, is the stuff of relationship legend.
Now, you can make chicken parmesan spaghetti squash in a number of cooking technique combinations, but here’s how I do mine:
- Roast the spaghetti squash and chicken parmesan in the oven. (Hi, easy clean up. Hi, healthy option)
- Nurture the homemade marinara sauce stove top like it’s my first born.
- 1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed (instructions below)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ cup dry red wine (something you would drink)
- 2- 28 oz. cans whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonaded and divided
- About 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 4 equal portions, (usually I get 2 big chicken breasts and halve them each through their equator to get 4 thin chicken breasts)
- 1 cup flour (any flour works here: all purpose, whole wheat, almond, etc.)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.
- Cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a large, sharp chef's knife, (if it's too difficult, try microwaving it for a couple minutes first to soften it). Run your knife in a circle along the membrane dividing the seeds, so you can easily scoop them out.
- Once the seeds are removed, drizzle about a tsp. of olive oil over the inside flesh of each side of the squash. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and then flip over onto the sheet pan so the cut side is down.
- Bake the squash for 40 minutes. (When it's done, you'll remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool while the chicken goes in to cook.)
- But meanwhile, once the squash is in the oven, you can start on the sauce.
- Heat a Tbsp. of olive oil in a large soup pot oven medium heat.
- Add the finely diced onion to the hot oil, and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add the garlic to the pot, and stir, letting cook for only 30 seconds. Quickly add the red wine, and turn the heat up to let the wine cook all the way off, (this may take another 5 minutes).
- Once the wine is almost evaporated and the onions are a nice purple color, add the tomatoes and stir.
- Season the tomatoes with another pinch of salt and pepper, as well as the sugar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, (more or less depending on your heat tolerance) and about half the basil leaves. Once the sauce is bubbling, turn the heat on medium-low and let the sauce slowly simmer until you're done cooking the squash and chicken (about an hour). Stir occasionally, and taste check for seasoning. As the sauce cooks, you can crush the tomatoes with your wooden spoon to make it saucier.
- When the squash is almost done cooking and the sauce is bubbling away, prepare the chicken.
- Cover a sheet pan with foil, and coat with non-stick cooking spray (or a thin layer of olive oil).
- Set up three medium-sized bowls in a row. Fill the first one with flour, (season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir) the second one with the cracked and whisked eggs, (season with salt and pepper) and the third one with the breadcrumbs (season with salt and pepper and stir).
- Take one chicken cutlet and first coat it completely in flour, shaking off the residue. Then, dip it in the egg, coating it completely. Finally, place the chicken in the breadcrumbs, and press firmly to coat evenly on both sides so the breadcrumbs stick. Place the completed chicken breast on the sheet pan, and repeat with the remaining three chicken breasts.
- Once they are all coated, (and the squash is out of the oven cooling) place the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven, and spoon a ¼ cup of the marinara sauce over each chicken breast and top with ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Return the chicken to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melty.
- Now that the squash is cooled, you can handle it. Flip it over, and use a fork to scrape out all the spaghetti-like flesh into 4 portions.
- To serve, spoon the sauce over the spaghetti squash, and place a piece of chicken on top. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and more fresh, chopped basil.