Chickpea and Kale Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Chickpea and Kale in Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti Squash recipe by @cooksmarts

One of the best parts about running Cook Smarts is that I have to push myself to try new things. Like any other busy home cook, I can easily get into a rut with dinners, but now that I have the responsibility for coming up with inspiring new menus all year long, I’ve had to broaden my dinner horizons.

My latest new adventure involved trying spaghetti squash. I remember discounting spaghetti squash as some weird fad ingredient when the Atkins diet became big and all these new ‘carb-free’ noodle options were popping up. I didn’t really believe anything could be as good as real spaghetti. Plus I’m just not a squash fan. I cook it because it’s available all year long and not that expensive, but I never crave it. However, I think spaghetti squash might become my go-to squash of choice, and I even admit to craving its crunchy texture.

Chickpea and Kale in Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti Squash recipe by @cooksmarts

That crunchy texture was the perfect pairing with our flavorful za’atar spiced chickpea and kale tomato sauce. Honestly you could put that sauce over cardboard, and it would be delicious. If one of your New Years resolutions is to eat more veggies and maybe a little bit less meat, make sure to get this tomato sauce and spaghetti squash recipe below.

Do you make spaghetti squash? I’d love to hear how you enjoy this fun vegetable in the comments below.

Prepping Smarts:

We’re loving spaghetti squash as a great gluten-free and paleo alternative to pasta. Plus, it’s just fun! See how easy it is to prep in the video below:

Ingredient Smarts:

This recipe features za’atar, which is a fragrant Middle Eastern spice blend that typically consists of thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, salt, and sumac. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, try ordering online from a place like Penzy’s.

Za'atar - Middle Eastern spice blend

Photo licensed from iStock

Equipment Smarts:

A saute pan like this is the perfect size for cooking down vegetables, like kale.

Buy this 5 quart saute pan from Cuisinart on Amazon

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our ‘Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools’ page

Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Kale over Spaghetti Squash
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I’ve been scared to try spaghetti squash but it’s a new year. I’m so glad I decided to give it a try, because I plan on making this all the time now. This is a great pasta substitute for those looking for some low-carb, gluten-free, or paleo substitutes for noodles. Paired with this flavorful sauce, you’ll hardly realize you’re eating vegetable-based noodles.
Author: Jess Dang
Serves: 4
  • Spaghetti squash – 1, roasted and de-stranded
  • Garlic – 2, minced
  • Onion – 1, diced
  • Kale – 1 bunch, stems chopped, leaves torn
  • Cooking oil – 2 tbs.
  • Crushed tomatoes – 1 28 oz. can
  • Za’atar – 1 tsp.
  • Paprika – 1 tsp.
  • Chickpeas – 2 cups
  • Lemon – ½, juice of
  1. Spaghetti squash – Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash in microwave for 4 to 5 minutes, flipping once in the middle. This softens the rind up so you can slice into it. Slice off one end to form a flat base. Rest on flat base and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and then place on sheet pan and cook for 45 to 60 minutes. When cool enough to work take a fork or spoon and scrape out ‘spaghetti’ strands. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  2. Garlic / Onions / Kale – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  1. Heat a saute pan over low to medium heat. Add oil and then garlic to heated oil. Once you can smell the garlic, add in onions and kale stems with a pinch of salt. Saute until softened, ~3 minutes.
  2. Add in crushed tomatoes with za’atar and paprika. Simmer for another 3 minutes and then add in kale leaves, as much as can fit into the pan. Add more as room is made. Toss in chickpeas and then simmer for another 4 to 6 minutes. Finish with lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss sauce with spaghetti squash.

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