Does this sound weird?  It tastes pretty good, honest.  We have a number of spaghetti squash hanging about from the C.S.A. share, and while I enjoy them as a pasta substitute I definitely do not enjoy them topped with traditional marinara sauce, so I decided to do something that was sort of a pasta/squash combo that was a concession to the slightly squashy flavor.  So, a walnut-saffron pesto.  I am in the process of updating some of my posts with older, less-fabulous photos, and this post has been pretty popular so it was one of the first on my list.  Here’s a batch from today:
Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Saffron Pesto
And below is the older, original photo:

I certainly hope you can see an improvement.

The pesto is simple, and to prepare the squash you just split it in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a knife.  Let the squash cool down enough to handle, then use a fork to separate the strands into a large bowl and toss with the pesto.  Top with a little grated cheese, if you like. Update: I often microwave the whole squash if I am in a hurry. I poke a few holes in the squash to let steam escape, then microwave it on high for seven minutes, or until it is tender. Let it cool down before cutting it in half and removing the seeds.

Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Saffron Pesto
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil, for a milder flavor)
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped into strands with a fork
  1. Place all of the pesto ingredients in your blender or food processor and pulse until you have a chunky paste. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. If the pesto is too thick, add additional water or oil and blend again.
  2. Toss the pesto with warm spaghetti squash and serve. Top with grated Parmesan, if desired.

Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Saffron Pesto

Note that the original recipe did not include any water, but I found that adding a little water makes the pesto easier to distribute evenly on the “pasta” strands.  If you want it thicker just omit the water.  I have also started using avocado oil instead of olive oil because its milder taste lets the flavor of the saffron come through.

Spaghetti squash are abundant and delicious right now, so it is the perfect time to give this a try.

Thanks for reading,


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  1. Sigh …. Got everything I need to make this 'cept the squash, but that little detail is easily remedied … 🙂

  2. I was inspired by your recipe!

  3. This looks amazing! Definitely going to have to try this next year when the squash are in season again.

  4. The walnut and saffron combo sounds delicious! What a great topping for spaghetti squash.

  5. […] 22. Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Saffron Pesto This pesto recipe is truly unique, and doesn’t have the typical rich green color that you expect when making up a batch of pesto. They’re using walnut and saffron instead of pine nuts and basil that you’ve come to expect in pesto. They’re still using a good dose of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but there isn’t any garlic. The use of spaghetti squash as noodles is something you’ll often see when trying to make a Paleo-ready pasta. This is because of the way it easily spiralizes and really resembles a plate of noodles. […]

  6. […] sold on.  If I get the crust down I will post that recipe soon. I also whipped up a batch of my Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Saffron Pesto so I could do a re-shoot of the photos, which is a process I am just starting for some of my older […]

  7. […] 2. Spaghetti Squash with Walnut Saffron Pesto […]

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