This Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole is delicious, flavorful, and full of veggie goodness. Easily prep the ingredient ahead of time to quickly throw together on a busy night or make it as part of your weekly food prep! This will be your new favorite healthy comfort food. Whole30/Paleo option, vegetarian options, gluten free.Jump to Recipe
Casseroles are a classic American comfort food. Probably cooked up by someone looking reinvent leftovers in a new way, casseroles can take on so many forms and flavors. And this Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole is currently one of my favorite veggie-loaded dinners to toss into the oven.
To be honest, I always kind of felt “meh” about spaghetti squash. I didn’t like how wet it was when cooked. And the texture left me un impressed. And it felt a bit boring to me. However, I kept ending up with one in my grocery cart or CSA box…determined to find a way to enjoy this veggie.
And guys, I totally have! When drained and mixed with ranch dressing and chicken, the threads of the spaghetti squash come to life in the oven! I adore this casserole with the addition of some cooked white rice for a little added texture, but I’ve also tried it with just spaghetti squash…and it still dazzled my tastebuds to the max!
How to drain spaghetti squash
Like many fruits and veggies, spaghetti squash holds a lot of water. When cooked, that liquid is released. Water is great for your body, but can leave a dish floating in an unappetizing puddle on your plate. I have found that draining the excess liquid from cooked spaghetti squash to be a game changer for its texture. There are a couple of easy ways to do it.
- Wrap it in a towel. Use a clean dish towel or a few layers of paper towels for easy clean up. Simply dump the cooked spaghetti squash in the middle of the towel, wrap it up and squeeeezzzeeeeeee. Squeeze out as much of that moisture as you can and then let it hang out in the towel for 5-10 minutes to drain some more.
- Put it in a strainer and press out the liquid with a spoon. This is the method I typically use. Just place cooked squash noodles in the strainer and place the strainer over a large bowl or your sink. Press down with a wooden spoon and watch the liquid drain. Stir and repeat. Do this until you have gotten out as much liquid as you can or you want.
How to cook chicken ahead of time
This recipe is pretty forgiving and you can use whatever kind of cooked chicken you have on hand that needs to be used up.
TIP: To make it super easy, grab a precooked rotisserie chicken from your super market.
If you want to make chicken intentionally for this recipe, thats cool too. I like to make a big batch of chicken on Sundays during my meal prep so I can use some for salads and easy dishes…this this Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole.
Here are a few methods of cooking your chicken.
- Roast. If you are roasting a whole chicken, try this method. If you are just cooking up a few chicken breasts, try this recipe.
- Instant Pot. This is how I tend to make my chicken. It is easy to throw in, cook and have on hand for the week or a recipe. It takes far less time and is especially great if you haven’t prepped the ingredients for this recipe ahead of time. For a whole chicken, try this method. For chicken breasts or boneless thighs, try this recipe.
- Slow cooker. Try this recipe for a whole chicken. Or for chicken breasts, try this one.
- Grill. As I am writing this, summer and grilling season are starting and this recipe is great for using up whatever leftover grilled chicken you might have from a BBQ. Bonus, it will give this casserole a great smokey flavor!
How to make spaghetti squash ahead of time
There are so many amazing ways to cook a spaghetti squash. This is another great thing to easily prep ahead of time to make this Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole extra easy to throw together.
Make it without meat!
If you are looking for a meatless option, skip the chicken and replace it with beans. I find that cooked pinto or cooked chickpeas often do well as chicken substitutes in recipes.
Make it Paleo and/or Whole30
- Skip the rice. Consider adding more chicken or squash to pump up the volume of the recipe, but you don’t have to.
- Make sure the ranch dressing you are using is Paleo/Whole30 compliant. I used this brand of dressing to make life and this recipe extra easy. But if you want to make your own, here is a homemade recipe.
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Ranch Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- 1 1/2 cups rice, cooked I used white rice, but use whatever your favorite is. Omit for Whole/Paleo
- 3/4 cup ranch dressing, or to taste see notes above for brand and recipe suggestions
- 1 large spaghetti squash, cooked and drained (about 4 cups) see cooking suggestions and draining method above
- 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken see above for suggested cooking methods
- 2 handfuls baby spinach, rough chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350℉.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix
until everything is even coated in ranch dressing
- Transfer your mixture to a casserole dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until casserole is bubbly.
- Let stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly before enjoying.
- Store leftovers in fridge for 4-5 days.