Spaghetti Squash alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti Squash alla Puttanesca

As part of my continued and growing love for all things pickled I’ve developed an affection for capers. I wanted to make a dish that featured them prominently, then realized, there already is such a dish. I’ll make a version of my own.

I’m kind of late to the spaghetti squash in place of noodles movement. While I’ve used many kinds of squash over the years, I don’t know that I’ve actually had spaghetti squash since I was a kid. I seem to remember thinking it was OK as long as it had copious amounts of parmesan cheese dumped on top. But after recently trying the Mark Bittman recipe featured in this Atlantic video, I’m now firmly on team spaghetti squash. (As per usual, the Mark Bittman recipe is delicious and very simple.)

Puttanesca Ingredients

Puttanesca Prep

Spaghetti Squash alla Puttanesca

  • 3-pound spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Remove the seeds. Lightly coat the inside with the olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes in a medium bowl. Gently squeeze and tear the tomatoes with your hands to break them apart.
  3. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Generously coat the pan with the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion, cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Push the onion over to one side of the pan and add the capers and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they just start to brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes, olives, oregano, red pepper flakes, and a few grinds of black pepper. Once the sauce is simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is ready.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Pull the squash away from the skin using a fork or spoon to separate the strands. Divide the squash between four plates. Top with the sauce. Garnish with the parsley.

Serves 4

Sauce and Roasted Squash

The goal is to have a fairly thick sauce. Even though the squash is roasted, it’s still pretty watery. The sauce will thin back out once mixed with the squash.

I chose Kalamata olives because they’re an easy to find black olive. If you find Italian black olives, use those — although not the dry salt-cured olives, as those would probably be too salty. I would skip the generic canned black olives. They aren’t briny enough.

I used canned San Marzano tomatoes. They are generally considered the best plum tomatoes by chef types. Use them if you can find them, or not.

Obviously you can serve the sauce over regular gluten-free noodles if you’d prefer to nix the squash.

This recipe is being shared in Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and Gluten Free Fridays.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


  1. This looks really yummy!!! I’m pinning this and buying all of the ingredients this week at the store :)


  2. Your sauce looks good. Love spaghetti squash. It also works great in oriental style “noodle bowls.”

  3. Puttenesca is hands down one of my most favorite tomato sauces in the entire world! I love adding artichoke hearts, extra anchovies and sometimes even sardines :)

  4. vegetarianmamma (Cindy) says

    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays Party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) I can’t wait to see what you share next time!

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