February 24, 2012

Citrus and spice roasted chicken with spaghetti squash and chickpeas

I came up with this dinner as I was trying to devise a way to use up the last spaghetti squash we had stored in the basement. While I think my love of winter squash has become pretty apparent on this blog, spaghetti has always been my least favorite. But, since my father-in-law grows it each year, I've been trying to find ways to use it more creatively so I will like it more. I succeded with this meal - the spaghetti squash was really good paired with some cumin, coriander, garlic and creamy chickpeas. It complimented the spiced chicken nicely. Speaking of the chicken - the spices on these chicken thighs formed a crisp crust from the addition of some brown sugar to the mix. The chicken had a combination of citrus zest and spices that were slathered all over the skin (as well as underneath it), which made the chicken really flavorful. Since the chicken was so flavorful, the spaghetti squash (which is pretty bland by itself) was a great canvass to create a side dish to pair with it.

So I think I've found a new way to enjoy this under-loved winter squash. I hope to find more when we get our new harvest next fall. This recipe will serve about four people. 

Citrus and spice roasted chicken with spaghetti squash and chickpeas
for the spaghetti squash and chickpeas:
1 medium spaghetti squash
olive oil
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro 

for the chicken:
approximately 1-1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
olive oil
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending how much heat you like)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the squash cut-side down onto the sheet. Roast in the oven until fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, combine one tablespoon of olive oil into a small bowl along with all the ingredients for the chicken spice mixture (orange zest through brown sugar). Stir well. Lightly oil a baking pan and place the chicken in it skin side up. Slather the skin on the inside and outside with the citrus and spice mixture. Place in the oven. Roast until the chicken reaches as internal temperature of 165 degrees. Then, place the chicken under the broiler for 3-5 minutes - just until the crust forms. Let rest.

While the chicken is cooking, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until it just begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and chickpeas and cook, stirring often, just until fragrant and heated though.

Using a fork, gently remove the flesh from the spaghetti squash and add it to the chickpeas. Toss to combine and break up the strands of squash. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with a lemon wedge and top with some extra cilantro, if desired.

What was I cooking one year ago?: mashed sunchokes
Two years ago?: white chili


  1. I think you have created a real winner with this dish.

  2. I'm always looking for good ways to deploy spaghetti squash and this recipe looks terrific!

  3. I've never try spaghetti squash before & thanks to you , now I'm going to try this recipe of yours . I've always wanted my boys to eat more veges than pasta. This is really a healthy dish. Looks really tasty too!

  4. I've actually never tried spaghetti squash. This looks like a great dinner!

  5. that chicken sounds incredibly flavorful!

  6. The chicken sounds terrific. I'm always looking for new chicken recipes!

  7. Spaghetti squash is definitely my least favorite also, but I love the way you've prepared it here!

  8. Wow Amy, what a great meal you have here...spaghetti squash with this delicious chicken...perfect combo.
    Hope you are having a fabulous week :)

  9. Congratulations Amy! I have an award waiting for you at my blog! Have a lovely day!

    1. Wow! Thank you! I'll have to work on a post and nominations. Thanks for thinking of me.

  10. This looks incredibly tasty! I love the spices you used in this dish...what a great way to jazz up spaghetti squash!

  11. Your chicken sounds finger licking good with all those spices! And spaghetti squash is one of my favorites, I didn't embrace it this winter like I usually do. . . the chickpeas are a good combo!


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