This Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Stuffed Spaghetti Squash boats recipe is one of the most delicious dinners ever, not to mention unbelievably simple to make! It’s made with only wholesome ingredients, so it’s completely Whole30, Paleo, Keto, and Gluten Free friendly.
About the Recipe
It’s been two years since I had a garden of my own, and I find myself really missing it lately. Dirt in my hands has always been a therapy for me, but I also miss getting to eat all the delicious goodies from the garden!
Thankfully, my mother in law was kind enough to share some of her garden’s harvest with us, and last week she gifted us a beautiful homegrown spaghetti squash.
I’d been toying with the idea of coming up with another stuffed spaghetti squash recipe, so I already knew exactly what I’d be making with it!
Spaghetti Squash Magic
Spaghetti Squash is one of those magical vegetables that makes everything so much better. It’s basically the bacon of vegetables. Sure, you could exist without it, but why would you want to?
In this recipe, the spaghetti squash ties the whole dish together and gives it you the feeling of eating pasta without actually eating pasta. The cooked spaghetti squash strands are about the size of thin spaghetti or even angel hair pasta and have a super mild flavor!
Possibly the best thing about spaghetti squash is that you get to serve your finished dish inside the squash boats, making the presentation a part of the fun!
Get your shopping lists ready! Here’s what you need to make the recipe:
- Spaghetti Squash. A medium spaghetti squash will weigh about 3 pounds and will yield enough to serve 4 people. In this recipe I cooked the spaghetti squash in the oven, but you could save yourself a step and cook spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot, if you wanted to.
- Chicken Breasts. I get most of my meat delivered and share all about that in my Porter Road review. You can always save time by using leftover cooked chicken or by buying a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
- Nitrate Free Bacon: I always try to use sugar free, nitrate free bacon. Naked Bacon Original is my first choice!
- Ranch: My favorite is Tessemae’s, but any kind you like is great!
- Coconut Milk. Light coconut milk works best in this recipe!
- Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is the secret to giving this a bit of a cheese-y kick that’s Whole30 and Paleo friendly. For a Keto friendly substitute, use shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Baby Spinach. A little goes a long way in this recipe! The spinach adds a little extra texture and flavor.
- Ranch Seasoning, optional. I occasionally like to sprinkle a little homemade ranch seasoning in this mix to add extra ranch-y flavor, but that is completely optional!
- Baking Sheet
Making the Recipe
I’m walking you through this recipe step by step. If you’re new to cooking or haven’t tried a recipe like this before, I’m here for you! And I’m about to show you that it’s easier to make than you might think.
Cooking the squash
First, preheat your oven. While it’s preheating, poke a few holes in the skin of your squash with a fork, then microwave it for 2 minutes. This will soften the ultra hard skin just enough to make it easier to cut through. Allow it to cool.
Cut the squash in half from the stem to the bottom. Use a spoon to scrape away the seeds. Drizzle the cut side with a little olive oil, season lightly, and lay face down on a baking sheet and roast.
To test a spaghetti squash for doneness, poke the skin with a paring knife. The knife should easily and smoothly pierce through the skin with and flesh without much pressure.
Tip: If you’d like to skip a step, you can buy pre-cooked spaghetti squash (I’ve seen it at Costco and other grocers). Alternately, you can prepare the spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot if you have one.
Prepping the other ingredients
While the squash is cooking, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy, then set the cooked bacon aside on a paper towel lined plate.
Use the same skillet to cook the chicken, about 6-7 minutes per side, or until cooked though. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Set it aside.
Once the chicken and bacon are cool enough to handle, dice them into bite-sized pieces and roughly chop the spinach leaves.
Mixing up the good stuff
Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash out of the skin into a bowl. Add the diced chicken, bacon, spinach, nutritional yeast, ranch, and coconut milk. Toss well until fully combined.
Note: If the spaghetti squash is still warm when you mix the ingredients, the spinach will wilt nicely without becoming overcooked and mushy. I like a little texture so my preference is to mix it raw, but you can sauté the spinach lightly before mixing if you prefer it cooked down a bit more.
Finish & Serve
Spoon the chicken and squash mixture into the squash skins or a large bowl. Top with a little extra ranch, some crumbled bacon and cracked black pepper, and you’re in business. Enjoy!
To reheat the dish before serving, loosely cover with foil and bake in the oven at 375 F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Yes! To freeze the recipe, transfer the squash mixture to a gallon sized plastic freezer bag. Squeeze all of the air out of the bag, seal, and place in the freezer for up to two months.
If you don’t like or don’t have spaghetti squash, you can substitute zucchini noodles or palmini. Both are Whole30 compatible and Keto friendly alternatives.
If you can have gluten and grains, you can also substitute thin spaghetti or angel hair.
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Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash
- 1 large spaghetti squash about 3 lbs.
- 1 lb chicken breasts or repurpose leftover cooked chicken to save time.
- 8 oz. sugar free bacon
- 1 cup baby spinach chopped
- 2/3 cup ranch dressing
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ranch seasoning optional, see note below.
Cook the Spaghetti Squash
- Preheat your oven to 400F. While it preheats, microwave your spaghetti squash for about 2 minutes (this softens it a bit to make it easier to cut). Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Drizzle the flesh with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Lay cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, until soft and cooked through.
Cook the Bacon and Chicken
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Set it aside on a paper towel to cool.
- *If using leftover or already cooked chicken, skip to the next step. Season the raw chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper. In the same skillet as the bacon, cook the chicken over medium heat for for about 5-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until cooked through. Set the chicken aside.
Assemble and Serve
- Use two forks to scrape the hot spaghetti squash from the skin, scooping it into a large bowl. Dice the chicken and bacon into bite sized pieces and chop the spinach.
- Add all of the ingredients except about 2 tablespoons of chopped bacon to the bowl and toss to mix well.
- Spoon the the chicken mixture into the squash skin halves to serve as squash boats or serve family-style in large serving bowl. Drizzle with a little extra ranch and sprinkle the reserved crumbled bacon and serve.