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Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Have you tried Spaghetti Squash?  It's a squash that is very easy to prepare and is a great substitute for spaghetti, especially if you need or want to eat a gluten free diet.  It doesn't taste like spaghetti but it's just as delicious when served with anything you'd put on top of your pasta.

If you want to make this dish vegan you could use some vegan cheese or just skip that ingredient entirely.

A few readers have commented that they have a difficult time finding pine nuts in their local grocery store.  That's sad but I discovered a delicious solution for you thanks to listening to NPR.  I heard an interview with Lidia Bastianich who is one of my favorite Italian cooks (after my great-grand father of course).  She suggested using almonds as a replacement when you can't get pine nuts.  Brilliant!  It actually sounds so good I might try replacing pine nuts with almonds in lots of recipes even when I can find pine nuts.

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Zucchini and Pine Nuts by Future Relics Gallery
Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Zucchini and Pine Nuts


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 zucchinis (small - medium), sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 small spaghetti squash or 1 medium
1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
salt and freshly ground pepper


For the spaghetti squash:

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds from the center.  Fill that cavity with water in one of the halves then place the other half back on top and place in the microwave.  Cook for about 5 minutes for each squash.  When checking the squash for doneness please remember that it will be very hot and steamy, take precautions to avoid burns.  The fruit of the squash should be soft.  Carefully remove from the microwave, dump out any remaining water and let cool a little.  When the squash is cool enough to handle scrape the flesh with a fork to create the spaghetti like strands.

For the zucchini:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sliced zucchini, sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring, on medium heat, uncovered. Add a pinch of kosher salt, stir, and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens and browns a bit. Cooking it covered preserves the juices.  Lower the heat then add spaghetti squash to the skillet with zucchini and stir to combine. Add freshly shredded Parmesan cheese into the skillet and stir on low heat to melt the cheese. Add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Top with toasted pine nuts or almonds.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


  1. I love spaghetti squash, although I typically serve it with diced tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan. I love the idea of subbing zucchini and adding pine nuts. Must. Try.

  2. I have been substituting almond for pine nuts in pesto. Not every store around here carries pine nuts and they are very expensive. Almonds are an affordable alternative.

    1. I'll bet that makes a delicious Pesto.

  3. you can also substitute walnuts, when we traveled through New Mexico native americans were selling pine nuts along the road in huge bags for not to much money, of course that was years ago, I see why they cost so much because each little pine nut comes out of a pine cones and has to be hand pulled. I can't even imagine how long it takes to get even a few of them.

    1. You're right Linda, it's easy to see the parallels between the price of pine nuts and the price of pottery too, isn't it.

  4. looks awesome, and walnuts are a good fill-in for pine nuts too!


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