Vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli

This easy, vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash dish is loaded with fresh vegetables and cozy flavor.  The ingredients are all plant-based and yet this casserole feels like total comfort food.  It works as a side or a main and is ideal for serving to large crowds.  You can prep most of it ahead of time making assembly quick and easy.  

Close Up Shot of Vegan Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake

Why I’m in love with this Vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli

Well, for starters, um, it is really really cheesy.  And I don’t know that I ever met anyone who didn’t like that.  It is also a super comforting dish that happens to be packed with nutrients and fiber from spaghetti squash and broccoli.  I just love when super cozy comfort food is also wholesome and actually good for you.  

Here, cooked and shredded spaghetti squash is used in place of macaroni noodles for a vegetable-forward dish that still feels super satisfying.  The mild flavor of spaghetti squash pairs wonderfully with almost anything and cheese is no exception!  The squash noodles are the base of this nutritious dish that is then loaded with cheesy goodness and savory flavor.  The result is incredible.  The squash takes on a fantastic texture when baked in the cheese sauce.  It is hard to tell where the squash ends and the cheesiness begins!  It’s just all there in every amazing bite.  

Make it ahead!

Convenience is my favorite word around Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general.  This dish is just that since you can make part of it ahead of time.

Spaghetti squash is known for creating thin translucent spaghetti-like strands that can easily be scraped out with a fork after baked.  For busy nights, the spaghetti squash can be made in advance and refrigerated making this a meal that could be pulled together quickly and easily.

Overhead Close Up Shot of Vegan Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake

The only ingredients that you need for this Vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli dish are:

  1. spaghetti squash
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. shallot
  4. garlic
  5. arrowroot flour
  6. broccoli
  7. almond milk
  8. low-sodium vegetable broth
  9. Daiya Cheddar Cutting Board Shreds
  10. salt & pepper

You can also add rice bread crumbs and season with a little garlic powder and garnish with flaky sea salt.

How to cook the spaghetti squash

On busy weeknights, this plant-based meal is ready fast.  I am much more likely to make spaghetti squash cooked in the pressure cooker instead of the oven where it can sometimes take 45 minutes depending on the size of your squash.  In the Instant Pot it cooks perfectly in just 7 minutes.  Technically, you need to account for time for the pressure cooker to “come to pressure” (just like an oven needs to preheat).  Even with that, pressure cooking a spaghetti squash is a huge time saver and could not be easier.  And, no oil or salt is needed to cook it in the pressure cooker – just water.

While the spaghetti squash cooks I quickly pull together this simple and easy vegan cheesy sauce.  It is smooth, creamy, flavorful, satisfying and can be made in less than 10 minutes.  It is perfect for cold nights when you are craving something comforting but not too heavy.

How to select your spaghetti squash

When selecting your squash make sure it can fit in your Instant Pot when halved if you plan to use this method. Ideally you want to be able to fit two spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot.  You also want to pick firm squash that is heavy for its size with hard skin, free from blemishes. You know it is ripe and ready to cook when it has a nice lemon color (green means it is under ripe).

What are the health benefits of spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash is low in calories and loaded with nutrients (potassium, vitamin A and C and other antioxidants). It is a tasty, naturally gluten-free alternative to pasta. It is also an effortless way to add one to two servings of vegetables at a meal. 

It is also high in fiber, which is important for overall heart health and helps to control blood sugar for people with diabetes. Dietary fiber also aids in weight management by making you feel fuller. Spaghetti squash offers all of these benefits without a lot of calories.

In addition to incorporating lots of different types of vegetables into your diet, you should also aim for a variety of colors. If you haven’t tried a yellow vegetable recently, give canary-colored spaghetti squash a try.

What I used for vegan cheese

An incredibly important element of this recipe is the cheese.  To keep it plant-based and dairy-free I used Daiya Cheddar Cutting Board Shreds.  I love it because it melts perfectly into the spaghetti squash and has the perfect flavor for this dish.  When I served it to my cheese-loving husband he couldn’t tell the difference and scarfed this dish down followed by a request for seconds and then thirds.  It is one thing for someone who has been dairy-free for a long time to say they like a vegan cheese brand.  But for my cheese-eating husband to say it I feel like that is an even better endorsement of the product!  

Daiya is a leading plant-based brand committed to delighting your senses with delicious, better-for-you foods.  They are an industry leader and one of the founding members of The Plant Based Foods Association.  Daiya remains passionate about celebrating delicious food that is  dairy, gluten and soy free.  You can find Daiya products in more than 25,000 grocery stores in the U.S., including Sprouts, Kroger, Safeway and Publix, as well as most natural food retailers.

Want more addictive, easy vegetable side dish recipes in your life?

If you are a vegetable lover like me, you are always looking for the next best recipe that takes vegetables to the next level.  Here are some of my favorite simple vegetable side dishes for you to try (they are all vegan, soy-free and gluten-free):

  1. Thanksgiving Kale Salad
  2. Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  3. 10 Tips for Actually Crispy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash 
  5. Whole Roasted Rainbow Carrots Over Creamy Hummus with Green Tahini Sauce 
  6. Baked Crispy Cauliflower Poppers
  7. Roasted Green Cabbage with Green Tahini Sauce 
  8. Hemp Seed Crusted Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce 
  9. Garlic & Chive Roasted Vegetables
  10. Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Herbs

Now, Let’s Make Some Vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash!

This Vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash will be your new go-to nutritious vegetable side dish when you need to serve a crowd.  Since it is a low-maintenance, prep-ahead dish it is perfect for this busy holiday season.  

I cannot wait for you to enjoy this healthy, tasty, and nourishing dish with your family! Let’s get cooking!

When you try this recipe, use the hashtag #eatingbyelaine on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured in my stories.

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Close Up Shot of Vegan Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake

Vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 34
  • Total Time: 44 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x

Description

This easy, vegan Baked Cheesy Spaghetti Squash dish is loaded with fresh vegetables and cozy flavor.  The ingredients are all plant-based and yet this casserole feels like total comfort food.  It works as a side or a main and is ideal for serving to large crowds.  You can prep most of it ahead of time making assembly quick and easy.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, each halved crosswise, seeds and stem removed (no need to peel)*
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, diced (~1.5 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Daiya cheddar cheese shreds (1 package)
  • 2 tablespoon rice bread crumbs (optional – I used Trader Joe’s)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a casserole dish with extra virgin olive oil.  I used a rectangular 13 x 9 x 2.5 inch baking dish.
  2. Place spaghetti squash in the steamer basket or rack of your pressure cooker along with 1 cup of water beneath the steamer basket. Close the lid, turn the valve to sealed and manual cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.  When the squash is finished in your pressure cooker press OFF and manual release immediately. Safely remove the lid to allow the squash to cool before handling. Use a fork to gently shred each half of the squash until thin translucent spaghetti-like strands appear. To avoid a soggy casserole, I recommend wringing excess liquid out from the spaghetti strands with paper towels or a cheesecloth.  Set aside.
  3. While the squash is cooking, saute shallots in oil, salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until translucent and fragrant (about 3 minutes). Add in garlic and saute for another minute.  Whisk in arrowroot flour for 1-2 minutes and then whisk in the milk and broth and bring to a boil. Turn the burner to the lowest setting and add the cheese.  Stir until fully melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.  Finally, add the broccoli florets and allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes until al dente (do not overcook them or they will become brown after being roasted as well).
  4. Place the cooked and shredded spaghetti squash strands in the greased casserole dish.  Pour the cheesy mixture from your stovetop overtop and mix together well.  Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  For added texture, top with rice bread crumbs and a couple sprays of olive oil if desired.
  5. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes until bubbly and golden.  For an extra seared top you can broil for 1-2 min at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (watching closely to prevent burning).
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately or store leftovers in the casserole dish with an airtight cover in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.  Reheat with an oven safe cover before serving piping hot.

Notes

This entire dish can be prepared ahead of time and then baked just before serving.  I typically cook the spaghetti squash 1-2 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator before making.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker you can roast the spaghetti squash at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven Baked & Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan baked cheesy spaghetti squash

This post is sponsored by Daiya.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

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