Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala recipe - Chickpeas simmered with tomatoes and Indian spices, scooped over tender spaghetti squash for a complete meal. The best part? All of it - even the squash - all cooks together in the Crock Pot! So easy. (vegan)

I thought I was so smart.

I put the chana masala in the Crock Pot. Then I looked at the spaghetti squash on the kitchen counter. And I thought, hmm. I wonder what would happen if I just tucked that spaghetti squash right in there, right on top?!

I wanted my spaghetti squash to stay as pristine and yellow as possible, and I felt like the two should stay segregated, so I laid down some parchment paper, halved the spaghetti squash, removed the seeds, and laid it cut-side down.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala recipe - Chickpeas simmered with tomatoes and Indian spices, scooped over tender spaghetti squash for a complete meal. The best part? All of it - even the squash - all cooks together in the Crock Pot! So easy. (vegan)

It cooked all day. The house smelled glorious. I pulled the spaghetti squash halves out and, voila! Perfectly cooked. Chana masala. Perfectly cooked. I filled the spaghetti squash halves with chana masala, sprinkled them with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon, and I dreamed about he possibilities. Slow Cooker Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Everything! I am brilliant!!!

I test all of my recipes at least twice, and usually more. So I did it again, but this time, and every time after, the spaghetti squash cooked down too much to be stuffed (the outer shell starts to fall apart once it’s cooked for a certain amount of time). So I adjusted my expectations and just began to enjoy that this was still a seriously efficient way to make a fall dinner. No separate spaghetti squash cooking in the oven or microwave. Just plop it right on top to cook, scoop the noodle-like strands out, top it with chana masala goodness, and yeah. Still feeling all smarty-pants and stuff.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala recipe - Chickpeas simmered with tomatoes and Indian spices, scooped over tender spaghetti squash for a complete meal. The best part? All of it - even the squash - all cooks together in the Crock Pot! So easy. (vegan)

And then, I was Pinteresting, minding my own business, and I saw this. And then. Then! This. Grrrrrr.

Well, at least cooking spaghetti squash right in the slow cooker with its toppings is still a brilliant idea, even if I’m not the first to come up with it.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala recipe - Chickpeas simmered with tomatoes and Indian spices, scooped over tender spaghetti squash for a complete meal. The best part? All of it - even the squash - all cooks together in the Crock Pot! So easy. (vegan)

This Slow Cooker Chana Masala with Spaghetti Squash is this, one of my favorite dinner recipes, basically cooked with and then served over spaghetti squash. I love the heft spaghetti squash lends to the dish, not to mention the added nutrition. Oh, and the deliciousness, of course.

Chickpeas + spaghetti squash. At least that’s a smart, right?!

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Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash with Chana Masala

Chickpeas simmered with tomatoes and Indian spices, scooped over tender spaghetti squash for a complete meal. The best part? All of it – even the squash – all cooks together in the Crock Pot! So easy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger (can substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed (throw away the husks) (can substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste, if desired
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds), halved, with seeds scooped and discarded

Toppings:

  • Lemon wedges to squeeze over the top
  • Cilantro
  • Plain yogurt (if not vegan)

Equipment:

  • 5-quart or larger slow cooker
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cayenne powder, and salt. Cook, stirring, for one more minute.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until all of the spices have lifted from the bottom of the pan. Pour into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the chickpeas. Stir to combine.
  5. Lay the parchment paper over the top of the chana masala mixture, taking care to make sure the paper stays inside the slow cooker. You can skip this step. I like it because it helps keep the two separated a bit. Lay the spaghetti squash on top of the parchment paper (or chana masala), cut side down.
  6. Cook on low for about 8 hours, until the squash is fork-tender.
  7. Remove squash from slow cooker and let cool enough to handle. Scrape squash onto plates and pile with chana masala. Top with cilantro and a squeeze of lemon. If you eat dairy, you can also add a bit of plain yogurt if you like.
All images and text © for Kitchen Treaty.

Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.