Savory Spaghetti Squash Cakes with Poached Eggs and Harissa {Gluten-Free} + a Cookbook Giveaway

A savory, gluten-free griddle cake recipe made with garlic-infused spaghetti squash laced with chives and coriander and topped with spinach, harissa, and poached eggs for a simple one-dish meal. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Smitten with Squash by Amanda Paa. Details below.

Lately, I’ve noticed something odd: my tastes are changing. I suppose this is a sign of my getting older growing up, but I find myself preferring a cheese plate over a slice of chocolate cake, and struggling to find wines that are dry enough for my liking. I was the kid who squirreled candy away in her room, lived for ice cream, and dreamed of one day becoming a pastry chef. I’m the cookbook junkie who flips to the back of prospective purchases to make sure the dessert section is ample enough, the person who secretly believes that people who claim to lack a sweet tooth are actually aliens from another planet devoid of chocolate.

I still like the regular post-prandial nibble of good chocolate (and am currently obsessed with this milk chocolate caramelized crisp rice bar from Charles Chocolate), and there is still plenty of baking happening in my kitchen, but I find myself cutting back on sugar more and more; not because I feel I should, but because too much is a turn off.

It’s all very odd.


When my friend Amanda, creator of HeartBeet Kitchen and author of Smitten with Squash, asked me to share a recipe from her new book, I was surprised to find myself pulled toward not only a savory recipe, but one made with the least sugary of the winter squash varieties: spaghetti squash. (Though to be fair, the recipe still contained the word “cake.”) These oblong, yellow vegetables contain fibrous strings reminiscent of pasta, and they have more water and less sugar than their starchy brethren. For this reason, I’ve always passed them by.

But Amanda’s tantalizing recipe promised a better way with spaghetti squash. The squash is halved and roasted with garlic, squeezed of liquid, and mixed with a rice flour and egg batter laced with toasted coriander and chives. The batter is pan-fried into cakes, then topped with spinach, cilantro, harissa, and a poached egg.

I roasted the squash, but had a hard time not devouring it all before it could make it into the cakes. Seasoned simply with salt, pepper and olive oil and infused with roasted garlic, I would have gladly eaten all three pounds in one sitting. I exercised restraint, however, and soldiered ahead. I’m very glad I did.

Amanda is one of the kindest souls I know, and her generosity of spirit comes through in her writing. Reading through this book, you can tell you’re in the hands of a capable chef and teacher, one who takes the time to explain things thoroughly, and adds little touches to her recipes to make each one shine. Here, toasted coriander, chives, and parmesan combine in the batter to build flavor. Spinach and cilantro lend freshness along with their myriad nutrients. Store-bought harissa adds a bit of kick, and a poached egg turns it into a one-dish meal that works as well for brunch as it does for dinner.


I’m happy to say that through this recipe, spaghetti squash and I have reconciled our differences. I no longer resent it for lacking the sweetness of kabocha, the rich texture of butternut, or the cute rotundity of pumpkin. Spaghetti squash, you’re alright.

Another thing that’s alright? This book, whether or not you have a sweet tooth. Each recipe features winter or summer squash used in an innovative way, from refreshing salads to decadent desserts. All recipes are gluten-free, and many are vegetarian or vegan.

Other sweet and savory recipes I have my eye on are:
Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Burrata and Capers
Decadent Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream
Maple Cardamom Zucchini Snack Cake
Vanilla Bean Butternut Apple Crisp
Delicata, Spinach, and Chickpea Red Curry

Here are some beautiful squash recipes from Smitten with Squash via the blogosphere:
Caramelized Onion and Acorn Squash Soup from A Brown Table
Autumn Harvest Breakfast Bread from The Vanilla Bean Blog
Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing from HeartBeet Kitchen
Delicata Squash Donuts from Will Frolic for Food

Amanda and the folks over at Minnesota Historical Society Press are giving away a copy of Smitten with Squash to one lucky reader. Leave
a comment below telling me your favorite variety of winter squash (and
optionally how you like to use it in the kitchen) and I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, October 25th.

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, or Twitter, subscribe to receive new posts via email, make a donation, or become a sponsor.

Savoring squash:
Roasted Stuffed Poblano Chiles with Cheesy Butternut Quinoa + Pepita Crema {Gluten-Free}
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Pancetta and Seared Radicchio
Cheesy Millet-Stuffed Butternuts with Shiitakes and Kale Pesto

Savory Spaghetti Squash Cakes with Poached Eggs and Harissa + a Cookbook Giveaway

Adapted from Smitten with Squash by Amanda Paa

Amanda’s recipe originally calls for a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan gum. I played fast and loose with the flours and nixed the gum, as written here. Feel free to make this with Cup 4 Cup flour, which Amanda used to test her recipes. If gluten isn’t an issue for you, trade the flours here for 3/4 cup all-purpose.

Makes 4 servings

For the cakes:
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds), halved and seeded
olive oil, as needed
fine sea or kosher salt
black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 large egg
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
1/4 cup sweet white rice flour (mochiko)
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
ghee or sunflower oil, for frying the cakes (as needed)

For the poached eggs and garnish:
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or another neutral vinegar)
4 large eggs
1 cup lightly packed spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
a few handfuls cilantro leaves, washed and dried
a few tablespoons of store-bought harissa

Roast the squash:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Sprinkle the squash lightly with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and place the squash cut-side down. Tuck a garlic clove under each squash. Roast the squash until strands pull away from the skin and are al dente, 25-30 minutes. Let cool, reserving the garlic. Use a fork to gently scrape up the strands. Measure out 3 cups and set aside the rest for another use (such as putting in your face).

Place the squash strands in the center of a clean towel, roll it up, and wring out the liquid.

Make the batter:
In a small skillet set over a medium flame, toast the coriander, shaking the pan occasionally, until it smells toasty, 1-2 minutes. Cool, then grind with a mortar and pestle or a clean spice or coffee grinder.

In a large bowl, mash the roasted garlic cloves, then whisk in the egg. Add the squash strands, chives, coriander, flours, Parmesan, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and stir to combine. The mixture should hold together, but still be a little wet and sticky. If it’s too wet, add 1 tablespoon brown rice flour at a time until it holds together. (I added an additional 4 tablespoons.)

Cook the cakes:
In a large skillet set over a medium flame, add enough ghee or oil to the pan to form a thin film, a couple tablespoons or so. When it shimmers, drop 1/4 cup portions of batter in the pan, spacing well apart, and flatten each into a disk. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

Poach the eggs:
Fill a skillet with 2 inches of lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Crack the eggs into 4 separate small cups or bowls. Add the vinegar to the water, reduce the heat to hold the water at a bare simmer. Holding a cup close to the surface of the water, slip in an egg. Repeat with the remaining eggs, placing them well apart. Cook for 4 minutes for a medium poach. Slip a slotted spoon under each egg to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan, and remove to drain on paper towels.

Serve the cakes:
Top one or two cakes with a smear of harissa, a bit of spinach and cilantro, and a poached egg. Drizzle with olive oil, chives, pepper, and a pinch of flaky salt if you like, and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

99 thoughts on “Savory Spaghetti Squash Cakes with Poached Eggs and Harissa {Gluten-Free} + a Cookbook Giveaway”

  1. Sounds great! I'll have to try a variation to suite my tastes.

    This cookbook is so up my alley. I love all forms of squash cooked in all ways. I can't even pick a favorite so instead I'll just say that the next time I'm probably going to eat squash will be some type of winter squash in a soup early this week.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this delicious-sounding cookbook!

    prefontained (at) gmail

  2. This looks like a great breakfast or lunch option, had never thought of squash cakes before… Not sure if the competition is for those of us living in Australia, but butternut pumpkin (squash) is my favourite…

  3. Yum! These cakes look great. I've always liked spaghetti squash, but it's nice to have an idea of something different to do with it (other than pretending it's pasta, which doesn't really play up its strengths). I think my favorite squash of all is carnival because it's so pretty.

  4. I'm a huge squash lover, so for me it is hard to pick just which one is my favorite! I have had some very memorable butternut squash soups, and roasting acorn squash is never a disappointment. I love to roast butternut squash with chili flakes and coriander. This recipe sounds and looks divine.
    I too have steered away from sugar, for no real reason, other than now I too prefer savory things. I did have to laugh when you said that you would go to the back of a cookbook to see if it had a decent dessert section first, because that is me! I must say though I do still do that ;)

  5. The adult palate thing definitely happened to me, to the extent that we don't even bake birthday cakes. But I will eat squash for birthdays (or, you know, days) preferably with plenty of spice and some fresh herbs. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! I am partial to some roasted butternut mashed up with a lot of mirepoix.

  6. i adore any sort of pasta with browned butter, butternut squash, and crispy sage, but i don't eat it anymore now that i'm staying away from grains, for the most part. i'd love to check out that cookbook!

    1. have you ever had or seen black bean spaghetti? some people don't care for the texture but i find it to be a really fun pasta and i have a feeling it would look crazy cool plated with that orange squash and autumny green sage.

  7. ooh, good pick! fritters or thick savory cakes of anything + poached egg is total pleasure food for me.

    i love butternut squash. so many reasons. it reminds me of thanksgiving with my family (who cooked in in cubes and mashed it, which is also what they did with rutabegas which my japanese grandmother called 'turnips' and sweet potatoes and for many years I never knew quite what orange thing was which.) my relationship with butternut strengthened immensely upon tossing it in a salad, roasted, with chickpeas and tahini dressing.

    and i just love handling pumpkins. something about their shape, their skin, their thick ridges, and scooping out that sweet crazy flavor flesh is just so satisfying. so that's two favorites, i guess. oops!

    1. Yes to savory cakes and poached eggs! I'd never thought to combine the two, but now I can't stop dreaming of other versions to make, too. Butternut salad with chickpeas and tahini sounds lovely! I will stalk your site to see if you've posted it already. And rutabagas are crazy good! I've only had them once, in a pot pie, but they were so buttery sweet I swore to eat them more often (which didn't happen… yet.) Your grandmother's dish sounds delicious.

  8. I'm also intrigued and drawn to these spaghetti squash cakes. Especially the idea of wringing out the water from the spaghetti squash – a technique I'm making sure to write down. How can I possibly pick just one favorite squash?! I still have a crazy powerful sweet tooth, so as obvious of a choice it is, I think I'll deem butternut squash my favorite.

  9. Since this post is all about savory squash I am going to go with… pumpkin pie :) From scratch, of course.

    That's what is great about squash – just cut in half, baking sheet in the oven and they cook themselves.

  10. Thank you for having anything to do with spaghetti squash besides the substitute pasta thing. I planted 2 spaghetti squash plants and got a gazillion squashes and the worst thing is that i had never cooked it before but thought -because a paleo daughter- that it sounded a good idea. My squashes do not separate into strands, they clump. The squash itself tastes -meh – not as nice as butternut to be sure. So coming across your recipe is wonderful. I just had a patty with poached egg for breakfast and it was good! I use the silicone cups to poach and they make it effortless. So thanks again for great recipes!

    1. Oh, how frustrating! I would definitely try the other spaghetti squash recipe from Pinch of Yum that I linked to above. I'm guessing the clumping won't be as much of an issue there. I'm thrilled that you tried this recipe and that you like it! Thank you so much for letting me know!

  11. Oooh, this looks fantastic! I agree with Bettysue — it's so fun to see spaghetti squash in other forms besides noodles! This sounds so delicious. I'm the same as you with my sugar cravings starting to abate sometimes (sometimes..) and feeling a lot worse after the times that they don't! It is the weirdest. But with gorgeous meals like these, I'm okay with it :):) Thank you for sharing this and Amanda's book!

  12. Love this recipe- such a creative way to make spaghetti squash! This time of year besides the usual acorn squash and butternut squash recipes, I love to buy a few extra pie pumpkins to cook with. My favorites include pumpkin risotto, Moroccan style pumpkin w lentils, and Afghan style pumpkin puree flavored w ginger and chilies and topped with a mint yogurt sauce. I fou d your blog a few yrs ago while doing a search for gluten free chocolate chip cookies, after making several disappointing recipes i was thrilled to find yours! It has been one of my favorites ever since, and i have not stopped following your blog. Love your recipes, your creativity, and your fabulous photos!

    1. Oh wow, those squash dishes sound fantastic! I'm so glad you like my GF cookies – I put a lot of love into that recipe and was thrilled with the results, so it's very gratifying to hear that you like them, too. Thank you so much for the kind words!

  13. I love to cook, but I've been afraid of squash due to a bad experience with spaghetti squash. I'm also engaged to someone who doesn't eat gluten. This recipe looks lovely and the book…I'm hopeful to turn my phobia around!

    The only standard recipe I have involving squash is simple: roasted kabocha squash.

  14. Your pictures! Stunning. Just stunning.
    See my philosophy is that – if you listen carefully enough, I mean really listen – your body will always tell you what you need. Perhaps that's what's happening with you? :)
    Kimberly

  15. I need to get my hands on spaghetti squash…you make it look unbelievably irresistible!
    Speaking of chocolate and wicked things, have you tried Wild Ophelia's smokehouse bbq potato chip bar? It's darkly dark chocolate with a hint of salty bbq chip love; uber-yums!!

  16. My favorite winter squash has to be butternut, grown by my father, as it was the first vegetable for both my boys as babies. My father passed away in the mid summer before my youngest was born, but his first vegetable was still butternut that his grandfather had planted.

  17. Acorn squash roasted with a bit of butter and brown sugar is a comfort food for me, but I've been getting a bit more adventuresome and have lately been throwing squash into savory tarts with some caramelized onions and a few herbs or some cheese.

  18. Delicata, kabocha and butternut are at the top of my list. Roasted and pureed into a soup with coconut milk, or made into a curry are my favorites.

  19. Great site. Great recipe. Squash is one of the most satisfying things to grow in the garden. It is always a delight to lift back those big leaves and find a surprize and then have the pleasure of turning it into something delicious.

  20. I have always been the person who does not like vegetables (how my parents cooked them). But I like winter squash. My favorite this week is pumpkin because I can grow them and it worked so beautifully in a pumpkin spice chocolate babka I made.

  21. This recipe sounds fantastic! I've never thought to eat spaghetti squash any other way except baked and scraped with a fork into "noodles" but these little egg-topped cakes looks like a perfect breakfast (or lunch, or dinner)… I'm nostalgic for butternut squash as it was always a part of holiday meals growing up but in the last couple years, I have really fallen for delicata (delicious, and SO much easier to prepare!). I really like Heidi Swanson's recipe for delicata roasted in a red curry and miso mixture and it's always one of the first things I make when I can find delicata at the market. I just bought a red kuri squash though, and I can't wait to experiment :)

    Alanna – is that your counter top in your photos? It's completely stunning!

    1. I'm a fan of any and all of Heidi's recipes. I'll have to try that delicata recipe; I'm a recent convert to those little fellas. I'm not sure I've tried red kuri; Amanda has a curry kuri ice cream in her book that looks amazing! And I wish that was my countertop! My actual counters are hideous formica and the kitchen gets terrible light. My friend found that marble slab in her mother-in-law's garage and gave it to me, and I love it!

  22. Totally hear ya on the cheese plates and dry wines! I went through (and am probably still going through) a very similar taste metamorphosis after practically mainlining sugar in my youth.

    I really like spaghetti squash but sometimes have trouble thinking outside the box of it being a pasta substitute (i.e. "let's put it in a bowl with some veggies and sauce"). These cakes sound fantastic. Another spaghetti squash dish that blew my mind recently is actually going to be in the upcoming Nov/Dec issue of EatingWell. It's basically a spaghetti squash skillet cake with kielbasa, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and rye breadcrumbs. It is SO freakin' delicious. :)

    1. Whoa, that spaghetti squash skillet cake sounds INSANE! I can't wait to see that. I'm got a spaghetti squash on my counter ready to go. And I'm still dreaming of your maple chomeur, sweet tooth or no. :)

  23. A fav is creamy cooked Kabocha cubed into a raw kale salad with finely sliced red onion, really good balsamic, olive oil, chili oil and sometimes fried chickpeas tossed on top – or else a handful of dried cranberries.

    Also, a rich pumpkin/coconut cream soup. Also, your quinoa/squash stuffed poblanos were SO good, so that's a new favorite. These cakes are next on the list to try. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad you tried and liked the poblanos – that makes my day! That salad sounds superb, especially the fried chickpeas. Yum! And now I'm desperate to make a pumpkin and coconut cream soup. Thanks for the great comment!

  24. These cakes look just stunning and I think the combination of crispy cake and soft poached egg must be terrific. Definitely bookmarking this recipe to find it out asap:) Have a lovely weekend!

  25. Spaghetti squash is my favorite winter squash. I just love it baked with garlic and a bit of olive oil, then shredded into spaghetti with butter and a variety of spices on it. However, your recipe sounds outstanding, especially the egg on top. I'll have to try that. Thanks

  26. These look heavenly, and I have a spaghetti squash waiting on my counter right now!

    What's the best way to print you recipes, please? Thank you!

    1. Thanks! You can use the green "print friendly" button below the post, then use it to delete whatever images and text you don't want printed. Sometimes I just copy and paste the recipe text into a word doc and print from there. I'm looking into better ways, but this was all I found for now.

  27. These cakes were a nice change from how I usually eat my spaghetti squash: steaming hot and slightly sweet, right out of the rind. I didn't care for the strand-y taste in the cakes while I was eating them with butter and blueberry syrup. The finished cakes were very pretty. I didn't need 3/4 cup of AP flour and would caution others without gluten issues to add AP flour 1/4 c. at a time; my batter came together in a little over 2/4 c.

    http://www.what-marsha-eats.tumblr.com

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