Lemon garlic spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is one of the most versatile foods out there and it fills an important niche as a pasta substitute. If you eat vegan and avoid traditional spaghetti because it is made with eggs – spaghetti squash has you covered. If you eat keto and avoid traditional spaghetti because it is high in carbs – spaghetti squash has you covered. Gluten free? Paleo? You guessed right – spaghetti squash is on the menu. 

This oven roasted spaghetti squash is topped with fresh basil and a delicious lemon garlic sauce. This recipe includes tips on how to prepare spaghetti squash, how to roast spaghetti squash in the oven, and how to extract strands of spaghetti from a roasted spaghetti squash. This recipe is gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, egg free, nut free, and keto friendly. 

lemon garlic spaghetti squash - keto, vegan

Cutting a spaghetti squash

There are a few steps you have to take to prepare a spaghetti squash before you roast it in the oven. The first step is cutting the spaghetti squash in half. This is probably the most difficult part about working with spaghetti squash (which is otherwise very easy to work with). I would recommend using a serrated knife and a sawing motion to cut through a spaghetti squash. I also recommend poking a few holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork and microwaving it for 3-4 minutes prior to cutting it. This will soften the skin without cooking the spaghetti squash much. 

If this is your first time preparing a spaghetti squash, I would recommend you use a small spaghetti squash. It is easier to cut through a smaller spaghetti squash because the outer skin is not as thick. For reference, the average spaghetti squash is 4-8 pounds, so you should look for something in the 2-4 pounds range. If you only see large spaghetti squash in the general produce section, you might also want to take a look at the organic produce section. In my experience, organic spaghetti squash tends to be smaller than regular spaghetti squash.    

Preparing a spaghetti squash for the oven

After you cut the spaghetti squash in half, you should scoop out the seeds and the stringy bits surrounding the seeds. After you have removed the seeds, brush the inside of the spaghetti squash with olive oil and salt. If you have any questions about how to cook a spaghetti squash, you should check out our comprehensive guide on how to cook a spaghetti squash. This guide includes a step by step tutorial with pictures at each step! 

cooked spaghetti squash

Roasting spaghetti squash in the oven

Once you have prepared your spaghetti squash, you are done with most of the hard work. The next step is to throw the spaghetti squash in the oven and prepare the rest of the meal while it cooks. You should always roast your spaghetti squash with the flat side down. If you roast the squash with the flat side up, water will pool in the middle of the squash and cause the middle of the squash to become mushy.

I recommend roasting spaghetti squash in the oven for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Squash that is baked for 35 minutes will be slightly al dente, which is the way I like it. If you prefer your spaghetti squash to be more tender, I would recommend cooking it for 5-10 additional minutes. Note that the cook time also affects the taste of the squash. Spaghetti squash that is cooked for a longer time period will taste sweeter.

lemon garlic spaghetti squash - keto, vegan

Extracting spaghetti strands

In order to extract strands of spaghetti from your roasted spaghetti squash you will need a fork. If you drag your fork along the flesh of the spaghetti squash, the flesh will fall off in spaghetti shaped strands. If you want long strands of spaghetti, I recommend starting at the top of the outer wall of the spaghetti squash then dragging your fork down vertically into the center of the bowl of the squash. 

I would recommend periodically emptying the spaghetti strands you have created into another bowl. It is much easier to create new spaghetti strands if you are not digging through existing spaghetti strands to get to the walls of the squash. 

Vegan lemon garlic spaghetti squash

This delicious spaghetti squash is gluten free, vegan, paleo, and keto friendly!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, keto, nut free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Roasted spaghetti squash

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  • Poke holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork and microwave the spaghetti squash for 3-4 minutes to soften the skin
  • Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in the center of the spaghetti squash
  • Drizzle the spaghetti squash with 1/2 tsp of olive oil and cook flat side down in the oven for 35 minutes. You can make the rest of the recipe while the spaghetti squash is roasting in the oven
  • When the spaghetti squash is done roasting in the oven, drag a fork down the inner walls of the spaghetti squash to extract the spaghetti strands from the spaghetti squash

Lemon garlic spaghetti squash

  • Chop the onion, garlic, tomato, and basil
  • Cook the onion for 20 minutes over medium heat in about 1 tsp of olive oil, stirring occasionally
  • Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally
  • Add the spaghetti squash, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, and the basil to the pan and continue to cook for a few minutes.


If you do eat dairy, I recommend adding 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese to the spaghetti squash. I love the contrast between the salty and nutty taste of parmesan cheeses and the sweet taste of spaghetti squash. You should add the cheese when you add the basil and lemon juice.

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cooked spaghetti squash

If you have questions about spaghetti squash, we have answers! Check out our comprehensive guide on how to cook spaghetti squash. It features a Q&A section where we address all of the most frequently asked questions about spaghetti squash and a step by step photo tutorial on cooking spaghetti squash.

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Butternut squash alfredo pasta

My spaghetti squash recipe turns squash into spaghetti. If you want to try adding squash to spaghetti, you should check out our recipe for alfredo pasta with butternut squash. I will warn that this recipe uses dairy and standard gluten free pasta so it is not vegan, keto, or paleo. 

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