For a gourmet-style meal right at home, try this Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole. It’s decked out with spices and lemon juice that create the perfect savory flavor. You’re going to love it!
A delicious squash and chicken casserole recipe
I’m back with a mouth watering casserole, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you! When I was in college, I discovered the versatility of spaghetti squash and my life was changed forever. You can use it for so many meals! It can be made into “pasta” noodles, filled with veggies and enjoyed boat-style, or even roasted and eaten alone!
For this recipe, we’re pairing it with some chicken and seasoning it with lemon (among other things) for a delicious lemon chicken spaghetti squash casserole rendition that’s absolutely to die for.
This is one of those meals that fills a village and is absolutely perfect for serving at gatherings or family dinners. Set aside about 1.5 hours for this meal, as it is more in depth than many of my other recipes. Don’t let that scare you though. Most of that is oven time, and the delicious result is well worth the prep!
I can’t wait for you to dig into this yummy lemon chicken spaghetti squash casserole!
Ingredients used to make lemon chicken spaghetti squash casserole
This is one of my favorite chicken recipes because it’s like a five star gourmet meal right at home. Your friends and family will be shocked to learn that it’s made from scratch!
Along with the chicken and squash, we’ll be using a blend of spinach, tomatoes, feta, garlic, and a few other ingredients. The secret to perfecting this recipe? Lemon juice!
Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts
- Spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- Baby spinach
- Coconut milk
- Feta cheese
- Lemon juice
- Minced garlic
Tools used to make this casserole
This recipe is a bit more complex than usual and requires a few extra kitchen tools. Once you gather the following items, you’ll be ready to begin!
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or foil
- Large knife
- Cutting board
Remainder of recipe:
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Cutting board
- Mixing utensil
- 9×13 casserole dish
How to cook spaghetti squash and lemon chicken casserole
This is hands down my favorite squash and chicken recipe because the two foods work so surprisingly well together. Once cooked, they both shred with a fork, allowing them to work perfectly in a casserole.
To make this recipe, you will first need to cook the squash. Once the squash is in the oven, you can begin on the chicken portion of this recipe!
To start, begin by cooking your spaghetti squash. Follow these instructions for baking it to perfection. You can also use your microwave for a quicker version.
Next, place the chicken breasts on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. With 25 minutes left to the spaghetti squash cook time, add the chicken to the oven.
When ready, remove the chicken and spaghetti squash and let them cool.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the spinach, coconut milk, and the diced tomatoes. Heat until the coconut milk has melted and the spinach has slightly wilted.
Note: When adding the coconut milk, use only the top cream part. Discard the remaining clear liquid at the bottom of the can.
When the spaghetti squash is cool enough, use a fork to pull the strands out, and then put them in a bowl. Once they have sat in the bowl of water for 10 minutes, squeeze them with a paper towel or a dishtowel to remove the excess water.
Next, add the spinach mixture to the spaghetti squash, and mix.
Add in half of the feta, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
Next, cut the chicken breasts into small cubes and toss them into the spaghetti squash mixture. By now, everything should be mixed together!
Place the finished mix in a 9×13 casserole dish and top with the remaining feta. Add lemon slices on top for extra flavor.
Bake at 400F for 15 minutes and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Substitutions options for this recipe
If you find yourself in a pinch and mixing an ingredient, check this list before running to the store! Many of the items can be substituted with alternate ingredients.
- Chicken breasts: Like with many dishes, chicken can be easily replaced with an equal amount of turkey.
- Spaghetti squash: For a similar veggie that won’t alter the flavor too much, you can try using zucchini. I recommend doing a bit of research to figure out how to cook it for a casserole, as it won’t use the same instructions as the squash. Another option is to use butternut squash!
- Olive oil: You can use any oil in place of olive.
- Baby spinach: Baby arugula is the perfect swap for baby spinach. As guessed, use a 1:1 ratio.
- Feta: Not a big fan of feta? Go for ricotta or mozzarella!
Why can’t you microwave the squash?
Apart from microwaving the squash for five minutes to soften it, be sure to stick to the recipe and cook your squash in the oven.
The oven creates a delicious caramelized texture that is absolutely incredible and can’t be replicated in the microwave! Plus, it helps to soften the squash even further which makes it perfect for using in the casserole.
Recipe tips and tricks
Here are some helpful pointers for cooking this lemon chicken spaghetti squash casserole to perfection.
Do I have to cook the chicken before adding it to the casserole?
Yes. The chicken must be cooked before adding it to the casserole. Once the casserole is assembled, it is placed in the oven to basically warm and mesh together. This step is not intended to cook the individual ingredients. Rather, it’s used to blend them together.
Avoid a mushy squash
When squash is overcooked, it can start to develop a mushy consistency. I recommend checking your squash every few minutes, especially toward the end of the timer, to ensure that it is not overcooking.
Do I leave the skin on the squash before cooking it?
Yes, you can leave the skin on the squash when cooking it. Since we’re only eating the inside, there’s no need to remove it. Plus, taking it off will not make the squash cook any faster.
Should casserole be covered in the oven?
For this particular dish, there is no need to cover the casserole when baking it.
How to store leftovers
Store extra casserole in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or the freezer for up to 3 months. If freezing, thoroughly thaw before reheating in the microwave or the oven (I recommend the oven for best results).
More casserole dishes to enjoy
Love a good casserole recipe? Try some of these! The Mexican Quinoa Casserole is a personal favorite in my house.
- 4 medium raw chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
- 1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash, cooked equaling 5 cups squash.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 5oz bag baby spinach
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can coconut milk, just the top cream part. Discard remaining clear liquid at bottom.
- 1/4 cup capers
- 8 oz feta
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, about 1.5 large lemons juiced.
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- fresh parsley + lemon for garnish
- Cook spaghetti squash according to these instructions.
- Place chicken breasts on baking sheet with parchment paper. With 25 minutes left to spaghetti squash cook time, add chicken to oven.
- Remove chicken and spaghetti squash and let cool.
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add spinach, coconut milk (top hard white part), and diced tomatoes. Heat until coconut milk has melted and spinach has wilted slightly.
- When spaghetti squash is cool enough, use a fork to pull strands out. Put them in a bowl. Once they have sat in bowl for 10 minutes, squeeze with paper towels or dishtowel to remove all excess water.
- Add spinach mixture to spaghetti squash and mix.
- Add in capers, half of feta, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
- Cut up chicken breasts in to small cubes and toss into spaghetti squash mixture. Everything should be all mixed together now!
- Place into 9×13 casserole dish and top with remaining feta. Add lemon slices on top for more flavor.
- Bake at 400 for 15 minutes and top with fresh parsley.
- Enjoy! Store in refrigerator for 5 days or freezer for 3 months.
There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use myself. Thank you for supporting Erin Lives Whole, it helps keep this blog afloat 🙂