Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

Spaghetti squash is kind of a magical vegetable. If you cut it open before cooking, it looks like a normal, solid, bright yellow squash. But after cooking, with a simple scrape of a fork, it separates into impressively long, slightly crisp strands! There are many recipes out there that substitute this squash for pasta, and with good reason -- it’s almost as satisfying topped with tomato sauce as actual spaghetti is. But I find there are fewer recipes that treat this vegetable as an actual squash, complementing its flavor rather than trying to hide it. 

Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

But this recipe treats the squash as squash, giving the whole thing a quick cook in the microwave before tossing the strands with a beautifully spiced butter. The strands soak up the flavor of the spices perfectly, and the dish manages to be both light and luxurious, the butter lending just the right amount of indulgence to the steamed vegetable. 

Spices used in this recipe

Cumin Ground
Cayenne Pepper
Aleppo Style Chili Flakes
Salt, Kosher



  1. Pierce the squash all over with a small, sharp knife, going about one inch deep to prevent it from bursting. Place the whole squash on a plate in an 800-watt microwave, and cook on 100% power for six minutes. Carefully turn the squash over to its other side and microwave at 100% power again, until the squash feels slightly soft when pressed, eight to ten minutes more. Let the squash cool for five minutes. 
  2. While the squash cools, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When foam has subsided, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic has just turned golden. Stir in the spices and remove the pan from heat.
  3. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise -- it may still be quite hot to the touch, and will give off steam when opened. Scrape out the seeds in the middle with a spoon and discard.
  4. Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash away from the sides and into a bowl, making sure they separate well. 
  5. Put the squash in a bowl and toss well with the spiced butter, salt, and cilantro. Serve warm.

Serves 6 as a side dish. Adapted from Gourmet.

You might also like

Spiced Squash Broth with Toasted Fideos

This is it, folks. This is the perfect, unexpected, amazing vegetable soup, adapted from Michael Solomonov’s beast of a cookbook Zahav. This recipe is the perfect example of his brilliant and unusual use of commonplace spices and other ingredients.

Tilapia & Black Bean Rice Bowl With Butternut Squash & Two Salsas

Rice bowls are starting to be a big thing these days, and there's a good reason. Take something a little saucy, something with some great texture, something with protein or some bite to it, arrange on top of rice, add the condiments of your choice, and enjoy your healthy, delicious, and filling meal!

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Spiced Yogurt

A different take on split pea soup, using yellow split peas instead of green, with a swirl of spiced yogurt to brighten things up.

Vegetable Pho

A blend of aromatic spices brings the traditional complex flavors of pho to a vegetarian version.

Chickpea Salad With Red Onion, Sumac, & Lemon

Have you ever heard of sumac? If you live in the American South, you may think of it as a weed. But hopefully after making this recipe, you will now think of it as a delicious weed.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

A silky smooth butternut squash soup spiced up with Vanns Mild Curry.

Braised Chicken with Moroccan Spices, Preserved Lemon, and Green Olives

Here's a warming braised chicken dish to brighten up your dinner on a cold evening. Packed with Moroccan spices, preserved lemons, and briny green olives, this dish offers a punch of flavor with relatively little effort.

Spiced Potato-Spinach Patties with Raita and Tomato Chutney

Creamy raita and tangy tomato chutney offer the perfect accompaniment to these crispy, savory, Indian-spiced potato patties spiked with a generous amount of spinach.

Carnitas Tacos

You may have heard rumors about how carnitas are cooked. Rumors about vast quantities of lard, in which massive chunks of pork swim, braising over the lowest heat possible until they’re fall-apart tender.

Fajita Turkey Burgers

Vanns Fajita Seasoning doesn't need to stay inside of a tortilla - it makes for a great fajita-inspired turkey burger as well!