Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (+Video!)

Roasted garlic and kale spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts makes for a comforting, low-carb meal requiring only 5 main ingredients! Plus the recipe is simple to prepare!

Over the weekend, I read this article in Scientific American (followed by this one because I needed more) I thought was fascinating and wanted to share it with you, as it pertains to overall healthy lifestyle. Can we handle science on a Monday? I’ll try to be painless. If you can’t deal, skip straight to the recipe – it’s grrrrreat!

Let me preface this article report by saying I’m nowhere near qualified to discuss health and fitness because I am a professional in neither field. So this isn’t to spark debate on what individuals should or shouldn’t do, it’s simply a review of a piece of research I found to be interesting. End disclosure.

Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes - a healthy low-carb vegetarian meal | #dinner #recipe #vegan

The debate on health and fitness seems to go back and forth between whether exercise or food affects your body and lifestyle more. It seems most people would agree that exercise + nutritious, conscious eating = healthy lifestyle. The article I read focused solely on weight in relation to calories burned. Ready? Okay.

There have been several studies over the years measuring the energy output of hunter/gatherer tribes in Africa versus average (less active) Americans, and it turns out regardless of the amount of movement, both highly active individuals and inactive individuals burn the same amount of calories per day. I know. Insanity. Summary: exercise doesn’t affect weight (not to be confused with physique) – food does.

As it’s explained in the article, scientists haven’t quite figured out why this is, but the theory is that the body is hardwired to burn a fixed amount of energy per day. So those who are highly active make up the difference by burning less energy doing menial tasks, as the brain adjusts for the work they’ve already done. The takeaway here is weight is the direct result of calories in versus calories out – and I would make a humble and severely ill-qualified note by adding type of calories consumed as well.

It goes without saying, I would never suggest being sedentary just because you’ll be expelling the same amount of energy regardless of whether or not you go to the gym. Exercise in and of itself has a huge amount of health benefits that don’t relate to weight – the fact that it’s a natural anti-inflammatory alone is enough to get me off my booty. The reason I bring this up is if you’re like me and have at least at one point in your life wondered why all the calories you burn don’t make you look like a supermodel, it’s because of all of this – exercise alone quite possibly doesn’t have an effect on weight.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering where ultra marathon runners fit into the picture, that topic wasn’t covered in the article, so it remains a quandary to me, too. I’ll provide updates as I uncover them.


To me, this is important, because the study indicates the amount and type of food we eat is the primary reason for our weight. We could talk all day about calories and calorie types, but I’ll leave the discussion there for a couple of reasons. First, I myself don’t count calories (it makes me outwardly neurotic).  And also because every actual body requires a different nutrient profile based on physical activity and DNA. Plus, every actual body has its own set of tolerances and intolerances, rendering a great deal of the health and calorie talk irrelevant.

Was that painless on a Monday? Don’t answer that.

I know nothing replaces a steamy pile of actual spaghetti, but for those of us who are looking for comfort food that is easy on the digestive system, this meal fits the bill.  It has contains vitamins and minerals from the spaghetti squash and kale, a boost of flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic, and some protein and crunch from the walnuts.

This simple recipe requires only 5 main ingredients (not including sea salt and olive oil), and yet it’s so stinking flavorful. This recipe will feed two people comfortably (or if you’re me, it will feed you twice in one day…lunch + dinner), so if you’re feeding more, you can easily double or triple the recipe.

While roasting spaghetti squash is a bit of a time commitment, it can easily be done up to 3 days ahead of time, making the preparation process a little easier.

Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts - a nutritious meatless weeknight meal #vegan #paleo #glutenfree

Options for Adaptations:

  • If you prefer fresh cherry tomatoes over sun-dried tomatoes, feel free to swap them out!
  • Use chard or spinach in place of kale.
  • Replace the roasted walnuts with roasted almonds, pecans, cashews, pine nuts, or pistachios, or go nut-free.
  • Make this a meat-lover’s dish by adding grilled or rotisserie chicken.
  • To keep this recipe vegetarian but add a protein boost, add chickpeas or a sunny-side up egg.
  • For some citrusy flavor, add a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and/or lemon zest.


Have a marvelous Monday and an excellent start to the week!

Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes - a healthy low-carb vegetarian meal | #dinner #recipe #vegan

Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash

Course: dinner
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 321 kcal
Author: Julia


  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash roasted
  • 1 small head kale chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained
  • 1/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste


  1. Roast the spaghetti squash according to these instructions, along with the garlic. To roast garlic, cut the top off, of the bulb, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Place in the oven with the spaghetti squash for the whole duration of roasting. Roast the walnuts for 5 minutes if desired.

  2. When the spaghetti squash and garlic (and walnuts) have finished roasting, allow them to cool enough to handle. Once cool, use a fork to release the strands of spaghetti squash and place in a large bowl. Peel the garlic cloves, give them a rough chop, and transfer them to the bowl with the spaghetti squash.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped kale. Cover and cook until kale has wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes, along with the spaghetti squash, roasted garlic, and walnuts. Continue cooking and stirring until all of the ingredients are well-combined and heated through. 

  4. Add sea salt to taste and taste the spaghetti squash for flavor. If desired, drizzle a couple tablespoons of lemon juice over the spaghetti squash for added citrusy flavor. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash
Amount Per Serving (1 of 2)
Calories 321 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 43%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Sugars 5g
Protein 6g 12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts - a nutritious meatless weeknight meal #vegan #paleo #glutenfree


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    1. Julia Post author

      Ha! I’m glad you were tolerant of Science Monday…it’s a bit much, I know..but I couldn’t help but spew my newfound wisdom 😉 Cheers to putting an egg on it!

  1. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    Thanks for sharing the findings from the article with us! I’ve always been a firm believer that diet is #1 when it comes to gaining/losing weight. Brandon never works out but he looks healthy and somewhat in-shape because I feed his ass so many nutritious foods. That’s what I like to tell myself, anyways. 😉

    I’m in love with this recipe. So simple, so flavorful. I need to make it happen very soon!!

    1. Julia Post author

      Garrett’s in the same boat as Brandon…he used to be super active but not so much anymore and still looks like an absolute hunk. I will say he doesn’t eat as cleanly as Brandon, because while I’m off eating spaghetti squash, he’s off eating burgers, ha! Anyhoo, I definitely agree nutrition comes first…you are what you eat! xo

  2. marcie

    I was never the best in science class, but I followed along and found this interesting. I eat better now and work out harder than I ever have and barely break even, but that’s what getting older does to you! My ultimate goal is to fit in my jeans, so I guess I’m doing ok. 🙂 This spaghetti squash will keep me on track and I’ll enjoy every bite!

    1. Julia Post author

      I hear ya, girl! Funny thing, I feel the same exact way about my own appearance/ long as I don’t absolutely HAVE to go buy new jeans, I feel like I’m doing alright 😉

  3. Joanne Bruno

    I have to be honest, spaghetti squash isn’t usually my thang, but you make it look SO GOOD and full of all the best flavors and textures. Only you could do this to me.

  4. Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness

    So funny, I’ve read research that had a similar conclusion recently! I’m so with you, it would explain why I could burn 1,000 calories in a workout on the daily, yet not budge on the scale whatsoever. Diet DEFINITELY matters more when it comes to weight, but like you said, exercise has so many benefits, including a better physique & muscle definition, a stronger heart, endorphins & mood boosting effects, etc.

    1. Julia Post author

      Fascinating, right? The you-are-what-you-eat mantra seems to ring truer the older I get. I love exercising to keep stress at bay – it’s definitely a great way of burning off excess energy so I don’t focus bad juju on my work. And to your point, keeping your heart, body, and mood healthy is crucial. I truly believe all humans should exercise to be strong in mind, body, and soul 😀 Cheers to finding balance! xoxo

    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Amanda,

      You can double all of the ingredients – so pick up 2 spaghetti squash, 2 heads of kale (or 1 will suffice if you aren’t concerned about having a lot of greens), 2/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, and so on. Let me know if you have any other questions! Enjoy!

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  9. Audrey

    I’m not much of a spinach or kale person, but I think fresh basil would taste amazing. Used to get angel hair pasta with garlic, tomato, basil and chicken at a specific restaurant. It was so good that I always ordered the same thing.

  10. Janelle

    Goodness, this is fabulous. I used spinach and almonds because that is what I had on hand. Even sweet hubby, who doesn’t like squash liked this dish.

  11. Kelli H

    I made this for dinner two nights ago. It was really good with the roasted garlic. I doubled the recipe and added some bacon I had on hand. 🙂

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  14. Ashley

    About how much kale does one head render? I always have pre-packaged kale on hand so I’d just like an idea of about how much to use

    1. Julia Post author

      One head comes out to about 4 cups loosely packed 🙂 You can definitely use the pre-packaged kale..makes the process easier, too!

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      1. Molly

        More specifically, in addition to the nutrition, what constitutes a serving size? I started with 1 cup as a side dish.

      2. Julia Post author

        Hi Molly! I updated the recipe card to include nutrition facts. I have the recipe set to serve two, so the nutrition facts reflect one serving, which I consider to be half of the whole recipe. Hope this helps! xo

  22. Cynthia

    This was awesome! I’m vegan, so with all the roasting going on, I put in a tray of chick peas with za’atar. It was great with it. I also added dairy free parm cheese and red pepper flakes. Fab dish! Thank you!!

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  25. Emily Lewandowski

    I was just wondering how you got your meal to look so beautiful! Mine turned out muddled. I drained my squash and it still seems too wet. Any tips for next time? Also, where do you get a small head of kale? Im in illinois and all our kale is in whole leafs in bunches or all ready chopped kale in bags. Is there an amt i could use? ie: 1 cup packed kale…etc.


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