Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole

by on April 4, 2006
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A spaghetti squash has been sitting on my counter for about a week now while I’ve tried to decide what to do with it. It seems that most recipes for spaghetti squash treat it as spaghetti, with a marinara or other tomato-based sauce and lots of garlic, basil, and oregano. I was looking to do something a little different, and I only needed to look as far as the Fatfree Vegan Recipes website, where my friend Karina, Gluten-Free Blogger Extraordinaire and author of the wonderful Cooking by the Seasons, had posted her recipe for Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole.

I liked the heartiness of Karina’s recipe, with its black beans and corn as well as its use of southwestern rather than Italian seasonings. I took a few liberties with the recipe but tried to keep its basic character. Since I was running short on time, I steamed the squash in the microwave instead of baking it; I doubled the amount of bell pepper, using half green and half red; I used fresh baby spinach rather than frozen; I omitted the cilantro; and I changed the bread crumb topping to a corn meal, tamale pie-type crust. The results were very good and very different from any spaghetti squash dish I’ve ever had.

Here’s my take on Karina’s recipe; to see how it’s supposed to be done, be sure to take a look at the original.

Sante Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole

I served this with a green salad, and it made for a very light meal. For hearty appetites, I suggest you follow Karina’s recommendation and serve it with Spanish rice. Thanks, Karina, for sharing this and all your wonderful recipes and observations with us!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous October 12, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I attributed the "horribly bland" comment from Anonymous as a typical non-vegan "it must have meat" sort of thing, but I'm sorry to say, mine turned out bland too. My modifications were: left out the spinach (didn't have any), used frozen Hatch green chilies, I added extra salt, lime juice, and chili powder and added some crushed chipotle peppers, and I used a different cornbread recipe for the topping (with lots more agave nectar). The whole thing turned out ok, but I have to admit, the final product did not do justice to the wonderful ingredients. It wasn't BAD, just wasn't as wonderful as I anticipated. Dear anonymous: please accept my apologies for doubting your ability to judge a vegan recipe. And I second Anonymous's suggestion: please keep at it! this should have been a kick-butt dish!


2 JoannaDearest July 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm

This recipe is a wonderful jumping off point. I made it as directed the first time – it was good the first night and fantastic the second after the flavors had melded a bit. I enjoyed it so much, I made it again the following week, with a few changes to my taste. I doubled the vegetables, the chili powder and the lemon (I was fine with the beans as they were). You could also just use corn muffin mix for the crust – I left out the agave because I don’t like anything sweet. When it was done, I put some fresh salsa and cilantro (yes, I know cilantro is the “love it or hate it” herb. I can’t get enough) over the crust once it was served. GLORIOUS. I am having it again this week. I love spaghetti squash, but this is the first recipe I’ve tried that wasn’t “spaghetti and sauce without the pasta.”


3 Debbi Does Dinner Healthy August 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Hi, this looks really good. I just did google search for spaghetti squash recipes that weren’t just marinara and squash. I think I will make a version of this. I will link back to you when I post it on my blog, thanks!


4 Debbi Does Dinner Healthy August 11, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Hi, I made this the other night and we loved it!! Very light meal but very tasty. I will be posting it on my blog, linking back to you, next week sometime. Thanks!


5 steph September 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

thanks so much for posting this. I love spaghetti squash as well, but wanted to know something else to do with it besides the obvious.

i love your blog! everything looks amazing.


6 steph September 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

oh yeah, i was wondering if you had suggestions on cooking spaghetti squash. sometimes i over cook it. and one time it was really hard by the stem and mush the rest. it didn’t ‘spaghetti up’ it was just mush.


7 SusanV September 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

Steph, I’ve found that I really like spaghetti squash better when it’s roasted. There’s a link in this post– –to a recipe for roasting it that I found really helpful and much better than microwaving.


8 Crissie November 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Based on a few of the reviews, I made this today with a few modifications (very few), and it was fabulous. I doubled the garlic, used red onion, a half a tbsp of ancho chili powder, and added a drained can of tomatoes with chilies. It was great, and had a really nice kick to it. Thanks again Susan. Your recipes and posts inspire me every day!



9 JessE March 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I was going to ask if the cornmeal was supposed to be just a mush type, or if it was supposed to be leavened? Yours looks a bit thicker,and I was thinking it would have been better as an actual thin cornbread on top. I didn’t get to eat it yet, as it was made early for dinner, and I had to use a few chopped up slices of jalepinos instead of the chilis, and also used red onion. Can’t wait to try it. I love spaghetti squash.


10 Laura F. October 20, 2011 at 5:37 am

Thank you so much for this recipe! I tried it last weekend and followed it almost exactly. I was impressed with how well it stay together! It yielded very 4 sizable portions on my end. I love spaghetti squash, but it can get old… definitely adding this wonderful recipe to my repertoire!


11 Connie November 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Loved this dish. Did not have the chili’s, so I used some hot sauce instead. Had some friends try it out too, and everybody loved it!


12 cch22 December 27, 2011 at 6:34 am

I should have read the reviews before making this. It would have been better with more chili powder and more veggies. It is OK as is.. really middle of the road. I really need to put my vegan cornbread on top of this instead of a watery mixture of cornmeal that doesn’t rise or lend much to the dish.
The recipe looks so much better than it is.. .. is a work in progress ..


13 cch22 December 28, 2011 at 6:20 am

**Update** in all fairness.. i have to say.. my husband LOVES this dish just the way it is… he will even eat it cold!!


14 Katie Whitman February 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I made this last night, and while I was making it I thought it had been a terrible mistake and that it would be awful, but I loved it! I didn’t have peppers, but that was fine. I also didn’t have corn meal (who can imagine?) but I had gluten-free bisquick so I made a little crust out of that (and added shredded cheddar cheese to the whole thing — about 3/4 cup total) and it was delish! My kids hated it, so more leftovers for me! Thanks for the recipe.


15 Maida September 21, 2013 at 7:05 am

Are those stats correct? Over 6000mg of sodium????


16 Susan Voisin September 21, 2013 at 10:01 am

It’s a typo, I’m sure.


17 bikehikenc October 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I LOVE this recipe! I made it and added 3 jalpenos and it was delicious and even better the second day! A big thumbs up…I plan to have it again VERY soon!


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