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moroccan spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale // food to glowI am not a gadget geek, but I do love my spiralizer. It is so loved that it has quickly earned its place on the countertop, along with my Froothie blender and juicer, my Magimix and of course my kettle (20 years and still going!). I have a small kitchen, so this is quite the honour.

Since this summer I have been spinning chunky lunks of courgettes, cucumbers and mooli to silky strands with just the twirl of a handle. I don’t kid myself that I am eating pasta, but I do find the resulting pliable, airy texture very pleasing, and even the flavour improved (courgette especially). This is my favourite ‘proper’ recipe using my spiralizer.

Well today I made vegetable spaghetti without my beloved spiralizer. Instead of gently turning out pale billows of pretty curls, I used an ordinary fork to tease diaphanous strands from the most surprising of squashes.

moroccan spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale // food to glowSpaghetti squash – lined up at the store with all of the other winter squashes – looks rather nondescript. No flamboyant stripes of green and orange, mottled with cream. No deep grooves that dare you to peel it; just a rather oblong, smooth yellow façade belying the magic within.

Take a chance on this unprepossessing pale gourd because, once sliced in half, seeds scooped and baked for a mere 30 minutes, the alchemist of squashes goes from meh to wow. Truly.

But – and this is a big but – pasta it ain’t. It is as light as angel hair pasta; you can mound it prettily on a plate and slather it in sauce. You can even layer it up lasagna style. So, it has the look, feel and texture of our glutinous friend. But it is still squash, a mild, slightly sweet squash. It is not a robust-tasting thing, ready to take over your dish. No, it is quieter, happy to let the rest of the ingredients shine.spaghetti squash - food to glow

In this case earthy brown chickpeas and tangy, vinegared capers frazzled to a light crispness, softened ribbons of kale and a dollop of rose harissa. Some other surprises too, but I will let you read on.

First of all though, a word on the harissa. I have been putting my rose harissa on practically everything – blitzed with cherry tomatoes for a quick salsa on avocado toast is a near daily fix. And we like it added to this recent North African soup, and dabbed alongside my Tunisian Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine. I thought the harissa would be good here, too. The sharp, spicy-sweet notes of the rose harissa play nicely with the mellowness of the roasted spaghetti squash, and practically march down the aisle with the tender chickpeas and minerally kale (swoon). Judge for yourself.

Right now I can’t think of a more perfect antidote to all of the festive fare in which we have ALL been indulging. Right? You are with me on this?

moroccan spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale // food to glow

Moroccan-ish Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pan-fried Brown Chickpeas, Capers and Kale

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The only vaguely tricky thing about this recipe is getting into the spaghetti squash itself. Guidance is given after the recipe. Once tackled, this recipe is simple and very rewarding.

Non-veggies may like to garnish the dish with some frazzled diced chorizo. Non-vegans, how about some yogurt whizzed with a little preserved lemon, or a crumble of feta cheese?

1 spaghetti squash (you will use half of the cooked squash)

3 tbsp olive oil, divided use

small bunch of fresh oregano, leaves roughly torn (about 3 tbsp of chopped leaves)

2 bay leaves

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp capers, drained

1 tin of brown or regular chickpeas/garbanzo rinsed, drained and patted dry

2 double handsful of kale, chopped or in ribbons (curly I chop, black kale I ribbon) – I used three kinds from my garden but use whatever you have

1 tbsp preserved lemon (peel only, here’s my recipe), finely chopped – optional

1 heaped tbsp rose harissa or other harissa OR chilli flakes

1 tsp ras-al-hanout (I like Steenbergs and Al Fez) – optional

Equipment needed: baking tray, parchment paper, heavy large knife, large skillet/sauté pan, small panmoroccan spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale // food to glow

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line the baking tray with non-stick parchment.

2. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthways, scooping out and discarding the seeds and obvious stringy flesh. Drizzle a little of the oil into each cavity, pop in a bay leaf and a little of the oregano. You can skip this but I think it does infuse a little extra flavour. Place the squash cut-side down on the parchment paper-lined tray and bake in the oven for ½ hour, or until tender. Turn the squash over, remove the herbs, and let cool a little before using a fork to tease out the strands into a waiting bowl. Set aside.

3. In the skillet over a low-medium heat 2 tbsp of the oil; add the garlic and ras-al-hanout. Let this sizzle gently for a minute then add the kale and stir. Let the kale wilt down. Now stir in half of the spaghetti squash strands, the remaining oregano, the tablespoon of preserved lemon, if using, and reheat gently.

4. In a smaller pan, add the remaining oil and, when hot, add the harissa, capers and chickpeas. Let these sizzle and splutter, stirring gently to not let anything burn. When the capers and chickpeas look a little frazzled and crusted add into the pan with the kale and squash and give a gentle toss around with two forks. Serve immediately.

Note: you can cook everything in the one skillet but I like to keep the capers and chickpeas separate to crisp them up a bit.

What to do with the rest of the cooked squash: heat some butter or olive oil, crushed garlic, herbs and a little lemon juice and toss it through heated squash. Perhaps topping with freshly grated hard cheese. Or perhaps this prawn and spaghetti squash recipe from a few years back.

How To Slice Open A Spaghetti Squash: I won’t lie, spaghetti squash is a bit of beast to cut into. If it feels wobbly on the cutting board, place it on an old and clean tea towel to steady it. I have the stem end angled “at four o’clock” to me, I then steady it with my left hand and, with my biggest, heaviest knife, bear down one-quarter of the way from the stem, and push down toward the stem. I then make headway on one side, cutting through as far as I can, then turning it over and continuing. If you are stronger you should be able to slice through it as you would any other squash, but they are notoriously tough to breech.moroccan spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale // food to glow

Another method is to roast it whole for an hour, or until you can easily pierce the skin. Then carefully cut open (it will be steaming hot), remove the seeds and the stringy gooey bits, and then pull the strands with a fork.

And another way to cook it is in your microwave.

moroccan spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale // food to glow

 More awesome seasonal recipes, including some with spaghetti squash:

Roasted Pumpkin Hummus with Cauliflower and Walnut Crumble – food to glow

Broccoli, Cheese and Sweet Potato Gozleme {Turkish Pastries} – food to glow

Butternut Squash, Lentil and Lemongrass Curry {a big favourite of ours} – food to glow

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne {diabolical photos but it is a big favourite where I work} food to glow

Spaghetti Squash, Feta and Chilli Risotto {this looks like awesome comfort food} – cook sister

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew – amuse your bouche

Pasta with Mediterranean “Meatless” Balls – fuss free flavours

Lasagne-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash – the kitchn

9 Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes {all lush, but not all particularly healthy!} – curated by

Chickpeas In Adobo – whole nourishment

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Kale Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing – the muffin myth

Foodbodka – A Celebration of Vegetables and Flavour {not a formal recipe but can still be followed!} – foodbod

Warm Rice and Quinoa Salad with Pan-Fried Tofu – fab food 4 all

Grilled Tofu, Boy Choy, Red Chilli and Soba Noodle Soup – a mummy too

food to glow recipe collage

butternut squash, lentil & lemongrass curry; roasted pumpkin squash with cauliflower-walnut crumble; broccoli, cheese and sweet potato gozleme



39 thoughts on “Moroccan-ish Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pan-fried Chickpeas, Capers and Kale

  1. Hagen Reedy says:

    Oh my goodness….YUMMM!!!

  2. Shannon says:

    I think you already know how much I glorify the gourd. I’ve not thought to toss it with veggies like a noodle dish. Rose Harissa? I must have missed this. I’m also learning to do more with canned chick peas, using coated-flavored roasted ones as a sub for croutons in Caesar salad, for instance. If only I had more time in the kitchen! Maybe over the holiday break. I’m ready for one.

    1. I’m usually a cook it from scratch person with beans but I wanted to make this more of a midweek meal kind of thing, and frying them up makes the sometimes iffy nature of tinned beans that much better. I like to use roasted chickpeas as croutons too. But I find they need to be eaten right away or they get a bit soft. Any tips to extend the crunch factor? And of course you love the gourd. You are a prolific gardener!

      1. Shannon says:

        Nope. Gotta eat them straight away, I’m afraid. Here’s to a bigger garden year in 2015. That espalier is two years late already!

  3. Great flavors – that kale is so green and lush!

  4. This looks just lovely, Kellie! And as it happens I have a prized spaghetti squash sitting on my kitchen counter. They’re tough to find here, but I got one at the farmer’s market in October and good old reliable winter squash will last a while, so I’ve been waiting on the perfect thing to do with it. It’ll wait until after the holidays at this point, but will be the perfect start to January, I think. Love these flavour. Brown chickpeas? I’ve seen black before, but never brown. And thanks for the link love!

    1. I had mine for ages too, but not since October! The winter squashes are such incredible value. Kept cool and dry they wait until you are ready for them rather than vice versa. I haven’t heard of black chickpeas. I will have to go and google that now! Enjoy lazing on the beach when it comes. I’m away to Florida to see my family or I would be beyond jealous of your holiday in the heat. Can’t wait to hear about Bali on your return. 🙂

  5. Totally lush dish as alway Kellie, love all the flavours here:-)I have never had or seen a spaghetti squash so really must hunt one down!

    1. Oh Camilla you MUST get one. We really love them and always look forward to seeing them come in. You should find them at larger Tescos and almost always at Waitrose at this time of year. Farmer’s markets worth their artisan coffee/bread/cheese will defo have them too. They aren’t around for long but once purchased they keep very very well.

  6. Yep, this is Moroccan enough that I’m drooling. Between the rose harissa, ras-al-hanout, and preserved lemon I’m close to dropping everything else I’ve been cooking in preparation for the holidays for this instead! 😉 And thanks for the recipe love too, Kellie! Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

  7. Ish says:

    I love spaghetti squash and usually bake it whole ( much easier).. I have never tried it with Kale though! Now I am going to do just that 🙂

    1. I know that whole is easiest but I am too impatient for the waiting to cook through (double the time!) and then cooling enough to dare cut the scalding thing open (another half hour!). Far too impatient. Lucky you being milder tempered than I. It must come in handy. 😉

  8. Lovely! You had me at the kale and the capers

  9. Erin Hedrick says:

    Beautiful photo!

  10. lizzygoodthings says:

    What a delicious recipe, again, Kellie… I used to grow these once upon a time. Love all the flavours.

  11. Deena Kakaya says:

    What colour! I need to get in on your rose Harissa action, I utterly love the stuff ! Gorgeous touch with the chickpeas too…I bet the whole dish smells great! Xx

  12. That is so colorful! More the medley of natural colors, the better for the body! Amazing

  13. jordanshea5 says:

    Watch out husband; new recipe coming your way!
    Thank you for this post! I can’t wait to try it.

  14. Kellie this looks utterly delicious….and as I am now totally addicted to your rose harissa im drooling at the thought. I really am addicted…..its been added daily to almost everything from veg spag bol, to luchtime salads, to roast chicken….just cant get enough!!

  15. Love the title of this recipe – Morrocan-ish-sounds like something I might say 🙂 Looks absolutely divine!

  16. Michelle Pietersma says:

    Lokks and sound lovely but having to be on a low fibre diet cant try it yet

  17. This looks amazing!! I am totally making this next week 🙂


  18. Oh wow, I could do with this in the lead up to Xmas. So many gorgeous flavours and the photos are just beautiful Kellie!

  19. That looks so tasty, by coincidence I cooked butternut squash with kale last night but I’ve never seen a spaghetti squash for sale before. I want to try one now!

  20. Fiver Feeds says:

    This looks amazing, bet it tastes as well! Moroccan food is lovely!

  21. Oh my goodness – utterly beautiful and SUPER tempting. I need to hunt down some spaghetti squash. Thanks very much for the mention.

  22. This looks so fantastic! I struggle with spaghetti squash but am definitely going to try this soon!!

  23. Thank you for the inclusion xxx

    1. You’re welcome 😉

      1. I hope you’ve seen all the links over to your harissa recipe 🙂 xx

      2. Sorry, missed this comment – yes, and thank you for the link love!

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