Easy, filling, tasty, and full of vegetables? This dinner recipe does it all! Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Black Lentils and Creamy Marinara Sauce is the perfect dish to satisfy growling stomachs. It's easy to make in less than an hour, and the leftovers are just as delicious for lunch the next day!
I love spaghetti squash, and I love it even more with a creamy, nutrient-dense marinara overtop! Adding lentils into this dish makes it a filling, hearty meal that is still absolutely filled with veggies.
As a bonus, it's really easy to layer these tasks: start roasting the spaghetti squash, make the marinara while it's in the oven, and before you know it, it's time to assemble dinner plates. It's a colorful, complete meal that's ready in less than an hour!
Spaghetti Squash with Black Lentils & Creamy Marinara Sauce: Ingredients
Aside from the spaghetti squash, this recipe is made with easy-to-store pantry ingredients! It's also a budget-friendly, nutrient-dense dish, making it the perfect weeknight meal. The leftovers are also delicious, and I've enjoyed it just as much for lunch the next day!
- Spaghetti squash - Look for a squash in the 2.5-3 lb. range, and make sure you have extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper on hand for cooking it!
- Red onion - The perfect flavorful base for this marinara sauce!
- Garlic cloves - These should be peeled and minced! If you love garlic, you might enjoy roasting it first for extra robust, delicious garlicky flavor in your marinara.
- Black lentils - I find that canned lentils work great here! You'll need one can, drained and rinsed, or cook your own dry lentils and use 1.5 cups of cooked lentils total.
- Marinara sauce - I love the brand Rao's! It's my favorite jarred marinara with a super simple, clean ingredient list.
- Homemade Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce - This cream uses just three ingredients (and two of them are water and salt!). It's really easy to make and can be used in so many recipes! You can also make sunflower seed cream sauce for a nut-free option. Learn all about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post!
- Garnishes - These are always optional, but if you want your dinner to feel elevated and special, I say go for it! Try fresh basil or Italian flat leaf parsley, green onions, red pepper chili flakes, or vegan Parmesan.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Have you made spaghetti squash before? It's honestly kind of mind-blowing! This is a yellow squash that, when cooked, shreds into long, perfectly-formed spaghetti strands. Spaghetti squash is low in calories, high in fiber, and filled with potassium and antioxidants such as vitamins A and C. Halve a spaghetti squash, scoop the seeds out, and brush the inside with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place it cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400F for 40 minutes. You can also make Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash if you have a pressure cooker!
All About Lentils
Lentils are an inexpensive and healthful protein source. One serving (a quarter-cup raw) provides 13 grams of protein and is free of saturated fat and cholesterol. Plus, unlike meat, lentils are high in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion. They’re also a plant-based source of iron and a good source of potassium and folate. I use canned black lentils in this recipe, which makes it super easy to shop for and prep!
How to Make a Creamy Vegan Marinara
My secret ingredient in most creamy dishes is Cashew Cream! This is the magical vegan sauce that turns any recipe into silky, creamy, incredible-ness. It's super simple to make with soaked cashews, filtered water, and some time in the blender. That's it! Plus, cashews add pant-based protein as well as copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, phosphorous, and zinc. Learn all about How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post!
For more information on cashews, check out my complete guide on Cashews Benefits for Vegans (+ Recipes).
This recipe is totally vegan (no meat, dairy, or eggs!), gluten-free, soy-free, and can be made nut-free by using sunflower seeds instead of cashew in the Cashew Cream. I hope you make it, love it, and leave a review below to tell me all about it! You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see your weeknight cooking adventures, and if you sign up for my newsletter, I'll send you a FREE printable guide with more weeknight dinners.
More Veggie-Based Italian Dinners
The perfect weeknight dinner recipe. Spaghetti Squash with Lentils and Marinara takes less than an hour, it's colorful, and delicious!
For the Roasted Spaghetti Squash
- 1, 2.5-3 pound spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Black Lentil Creamy Marinara Sauce Topping
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2-3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1, 15-ounce can black lentils, drained and rinsed (or cook your own and use 1.5 cups cooked black lentils)
- 2 cups marinara sauce (I love Rao's)
- ½ cup homemade vegan cashew cream sauce (or sunflower seed cream sauce for nut-free); learn How (and Why!) to Soak Cashews in this post
- basil or fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely diced
- green onions, diced
- red pepper chili flakes
- vegan parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Set them aside for roasting if desired. Here is my recipe for roasted squash seeds.
- Brush the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before handling.
- While the squash cooks, prepare the filling/sauce. Heat a 12-inch skillet, over medium heat. Add the olive oil, diced onions, salt and pepper and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes until onions are soft, fragrant and translucent. Turn the burner to low and add the minced garlic. Stir frequently to evenly cook and avoid burning. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- To the skillet, add the drained and rinsed black lentils from a can (or the prepared cooked lentils if you are using fresh). Stir well to combine and cook another 5 minutes to warm the lentils and infuse them with flavor.
- Stir in the marinara sauce and cashew cream sauce (or sunflower seed cream sauce if you are nut-free). Cook until everything is warm. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. For added spice, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
- When the spaghetti squash is finished cooking and has cooled slightly, use a fork to gently separate the flesh into spaghetti strands. Place the strands in serving bowls or back in the spaghetti squash halves if you want to serve them as spaghetti squash bowls. Top the spaghetti squash with the black lentil creamy marinara mixture. Add any desired garnishes. Serve while hot.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 40
- Category: Entree
- Method: Oven and Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: roasted spaghetti squash with black lentils