Each Southwestern spaghetti squash bowl features your favorite Southwestern spices and is loaded with black beans, grilled corn, and tangy cheese!
Whenever I don’t eat as healthily it takes a toll on my energy levels, so I’ve try to break the habit by preparing easy, healthy, and delicious dinners like these Southwestern spaghetti squash bowls.
Spaghetti squash makes up the bulk of each Southwestern spaghetti squash bowl. It’s distinctly earthy, subtly sweet, and enhanced by the warm, smoky flavor of cumin and aromatic, savory chili powder. Hearty black beans and grilled corn (with the tasty, charred bits and all) join the stringy flesh, as do tangy cheese crumbles! I have had this stuffed spaghetti squash bowl twice this week, alone!
Why You’ll Love This Spaghetti Squash Bowl
Each one is flavor-packed and chock-full of nutrient-rich foods, but here are a few more reasons you’ll love this Southwestern spaghetti squash bowl:
- The method is quick and easy – Better yet, a significant amount of the cooking time is inactive, meaning you can sit back and relax while dinner is in the oven.
- Great for meal prep – Just store in an airtight container without the cheese and cilantro. Then, reheat it in the oven when you’re ready to eat. Super simple!
- Fantastic presentation – Working with spaghetti squash is excellent because it is a delicious ingredient, AND the squash halves double as bowls. We eat with the eyes first, after all! Another plus is fewer dishes to clean.
- Vegetarian – This Mexican-style recipe is healthy, low-calorie and a tasty meatless dish.
Spaghetti Squash Bowl Ingredient Notes
- Spaghetti Squash: Ripe, medium-sized spaghetti squash are best for stuffed spaghetti squash bowls. Look for firm squashes free of soft spots with dry, rounded stems.
- Corn: Sweet, crisp corn is even better when grilled. Although the kernels retain their sweetness, the hint of char they develop makes them even more satisfying.
- Black Beans: Canned black beans are quick and convenient. Just read the label to ensure the beans don’t contain unnecessary ingredients. Three ingredients should be listed: beans, water, and salt.
- Cheese: Cotija, panela, queso fresco; Cacique has it! All work well in the stuffed spaghetti squash bowls. Cotija is robust, panela is mild, and queso fresco is salty with a nice tang.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is synonymous with Southwestern dishes. It adds a bright, citrusy flavor and beautiful color to the bowls.
The complete ingredients list with amounts is in the recipe card below!
How to Make Spaghetti Squash Bowls
To make these stuffed spaghetti squash bowls:
- Bake the squash: Halve the squash, brush with oil and seasonings, then cook until fork tender.
- Grill the corn: Brush the corn with oil, season with salt, and grill. Once grilled, cut off the kernels.
- Scrape the squash: Leave the squash to cool, then scrape the flesh with a fork to release the spaghetti-like strands. Reserve the squash shells, then combine the flesh with the corn and beans.
- Fill: Fill squash shells with the squash, corn, and bean mixture, then top with cheese.
- Broil: Place under the broiler to melt the cheese, garnish each Southwestern spaghetti squash bowl with cilantro, and enjoy!
Variations, Substitutions & Cooking Tips
- To shuck corn – Peel the outer leaves until a single layer remains. Then, peel back the leaves at the top of the cob. Next, grasp the leaves you peeled back along with the tassel and firmly pull down with a firm tug. Lastly, invert the husk and cob before you break off the leaves and silks.
- Make it vegan and dairy-free – Replace the cheese with a vegan alternative, or skip it altogether.
- Swap black beans for pinto beans – Canned pinto beans are just as good in this recipe.
- Add meat – Sliced steak, ground beef, chicken, shrimp; you name it. Add about 2 ounces per serving for extra protein.
To make squash bowls in advance, roast the squash and grill the corn. Store the squash, corn, and beans in separate airtight containers, refrigerate, then assemble when ready. Alternatively, you can make the bowls without the cheese and cilantro and store them in airtight containers. Whatever method you use, consider glass food prep containers that are microwave and oven safe to make reheating a breeze!
Storage & Freezer Tips
Spaghetti squash bowls should not be frozen, but they can be refrigerated. Again, to refrigerate, make the bowls as you would – just skip the cheese and cilantro. Once done, store the stuffed squash bowls in an airtight container and refrigerate them. They will stay fresh in the fridge for 5 days.
How to Reheat
It’s best to reheat =spaghetti squash bowls in the oven to retain texture. To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, add a splash of water to the baking dish you plan to reheat the stuffed squash bowl in and place it in the oven for 5-8 minutes. If you prefer to use the microwave, reheat for 1 minute and check the food. If it isn’t warmed through, continue in 15-second intervals until it is.
- 2 spaghetti squash (halved, lengthwise and deseeded)
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 3 ears of corn
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Cotija (I used Cacique)
- On a baking sheet (line with parchment paper for easy clean up), place the spaghetti squash cut-side-up.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375F
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, and chili powder.
- Using a basting brush, brush the cut-side of the squash, making sure to coat evenly.
- Place the squash in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes, or until fork- tender.
- In the meantime, heat a grill pan over a medium-high heat.
- Brush the ears of corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side (don't move while cooking to get a nice grill on the corn).
- Once done, remove from the heat and cut the kernels off and set aside.
- Once the squash is done, remove from the oven to let cool.
- Using a fork, scrape the meat from the squash and place in a large pan.
- Add the beans and corn and allow to heat (at this time you may want to add additional salt, according to taste)
- Once the corn and beans are heated through, place the mixture back into the squash shells.
- Preheat the oven to Broil
- Top the bowls with the Cotija and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes (or until the cheese has melted)
- Top with cilantro, avocado chunks and serve
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