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Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) promotes local food knowledge, production and market opportunities for farmers and community members throughout our region.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash for the Fall

RAFFL Updates

News, cooking tips, recipes, and more from the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash for the Fall

Kristin Smith

By Kimberly Griffin

If you have been to the Farmer’s Market lately, then you have certainly noticed that this is the time of year when the word “bounty” can be easily applied. Seemingly every stand is brimming with produce. Colorful displays of tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, leeks, potatoes, corn, squashes, melons, and more pull you from vendor to vendor as you compile your week’s ingredients and your bags get heavier and heavier.

This is the time of year when soups, salads, and everything in between can be made right from the market. Virtually every ingredient you need is accessible.

To test that, I recently cooked a completely locally-sourced recipe for spaghetti squash. I have to admit, I am a little confused by this fall crop. When it comes to late-season squashes, I tend to lean towards my familiar, reliable varieties like butternut, delicata, and acorn. Since we received a spaghetti squash in our CSA share a couple weeks back, I set aside my hesitation and jumped right in. (After all, one of the reasons we belong to a CSA is to be forced to try new things!)

To be fair, I did have to tweak the recipe just a bit to get it all local. There is really no way around buying olive oil from afar. Nonetheless, I am really happy with the meals we created from this recipe. Since there are only two of us in my household, the leftovers served us beyond a single sitting.

Here is the original ingredient list for Tex-Mex Baked Spaghetti Squash from the hellohealthy blog at My Fitness Pal:

  •    1 (3-ounce) cooked chicken breast, cut into chunks
  •    1 medium spaghetti squash
  •    1 tablespoon olive oil
  •    1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  •    1 cup fresh salsa
  •    3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  •    1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  •    Sea salt & pepper
  •    1 tablespoon chili flakes, optional

And here is my ingredient list, adapting it to use ingredients from the Rutland Downtown Farmers Market: 

  •    2 cups chicken, cooked* (I pre-roasted a whole chicken from Boardman Hill Farm)
  •    1 medium spaghetti squash (Radical Roots Farm/CSA)
  •    1 tablespoon olive oil
  •    1 cup pinto beans** (I had pinto beans from Yoder Farm in the pantry already)
  •    1 cup fresh salsa (tomatoes from Provider Patch Farm at College of St. Joseph, jalapenos from our own backyard, onions from Evening Song Farm)
  •    3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (We don’t like cilantro in our house, but there are certainly many vendors at the market willing and able to sell you some!)
  •    1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (Brookside Farm)
  •    Sea salt & pepper
  •    1 tablespoon chili flakes, optional

*You will be hard-pressed to find cut chicken pieces at any farmer’s market, due to regulations and licensing connected to butchering. Instead, purchase a whole bird at the farmers market. This is actually more cost effective as you get more meat by the pound and the carcass can be used to make stock. You’ll need to roast your whole chicken prior to getting started on this recipe.

**Though we might have had chicken pre-roasted, we neglected to pre-soak our dried beans. However, a quick internet search led us to a new way of last-minute dried bean cooking: in the oven! While it does still take more time to cook dried beans than to, say, open a can, the oven method saved time and hunger pains.

Cooking Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425°F and line your baking sheet with parchment.

Cut the squash in half, rubbing the inside with olive oil and sprinkling with sea salt & pepper. Place squash face down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. The edges on the inside should be a bit browned and shreds should form easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, toss the chili flakes with the cheese and stir the fresh cilantro into the salsa.

When the squash is ready, take it out and let it stand for 5 minutes. Turn the oven to the broiler setting. Fully shred the squash, leaving the shell intact. You will be stuffing it!

Transfer the spaghetti squash to a mixing bowl. Stir in the salsa, followed by the beans and chicken. Split the mixture in half and stuff each squash shell. Top with the shredded cheese.

Place them back on the same baking sheet & broil until bubbly and browned. About 3-4 minutes.

Kimberly Griffin is the Farm Manager and Wellness Coordinator at College of St. Joseph, working with staff, faculty, and students to eat, move, and live healthier. She can be reached at: