I love casseroles because they’re easy to make and provide you with enough food for several meals. This creamy pumpkin chicken casserole is nicely spiced and wonderfully creamy. The pumpkin has a lot of flavor and envelopes the bits of chicken and spaghetti squash strands in this dish.
The way you make this recipe is very similar to the way you make my paleo chicken spaghetti. The major difference is here you’re making a creamy pumpkin sauce vs. a creamy mushroom sauce. The creamy pumpkin sauce is made with ingredients like cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, cumin and coriander powder. This recipe also includes eggs.
So the steps are:
- Cook chicken
- Cook spaghetti squash
- Make creamy pumpkin sauce
- Assemble, add any veggies, eggs and bake!
You can use leftover chicken for this dish or cook your own. I prefer to boil an organic chicken cut into pieces so that I can also make a nice chicken stock. It’s easy and inexpensive. Ask your local farmer for an organic fryer or broiler chicken – or see if you can buy one from your local grocery store. Kroger (the main grocery store where I live) will sometimes have these organic griller packs with 4 drumsticks and two chicken breasts. When you boil/simmer your chicken, be sure to add some spices. I’ll use whatever I have on hand – salt, pepper, thyme (sometimes I’ll throw in a couple carrots). When the chicken is done, remove the meat from the bones for this creamy pumpkin chicken casserole. If you are using local or organic chicken, save your bones in the freezer until you have enough to make a bone broth. Whatever you do, don’t throw away your stock. There’s a reason it’s called liquid gold.
When you make the pumpkin sauce, you’ll first want to blend your onion, garlic, and Serrano pepper in a food processor. This will create a smoother sauce. Once you do this, heat oil in your saucepan and sauté until the onions are very soft (about ten minutes). You’ll add your spices and let them bloom and then you’ll pour in your tomato paste and pumpkin puree. After you mix that all up, add the coconut milk and simmer until the pumpkin absorbs all the milk.
There are a million ways you can cook your spaghetti squash. I usually suggest the oven method (see below) because I think that gets you the best flavor. Truthfully though, if I’m feeling lazy and I’m making a casserole, I just stab my spaghetti squash in several places with a fork and then pop it in the microwave until I can poke through it with a knife. It’s faster and this way I don’t have to struggle with cutting it in half. If you’re making a dish where you need your squash to stay somewhat crisp, then the oven is your best bet. I’ll still put the directions for the oven in the recipe below – because that’s ideal.
While I like sweet pumpkin dishes, I think I like savory pumpkin recipes more. Pumpkin is good for you and when you eat it as a meal, you know you’re putting something good into your body. For some reason I just don’t feel that way when eating pumpkin pie (gentle sarcasm) – even if it is paleo. This creamy pumpkin chicken casserole is both filling and flavorful. If you like it, try another savory pumpkin recipe: Thai Pumpkin Chicken Curry.
- 1 large spaghetti squash, cooked
- 3 cups cooked chicken, white and dark meat (I used a whole chicken cut into pieces, see below for details)
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 serrano pepper
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 can organic pumpkin (pumpkin should be the only ingredient)
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can organic coconut milk, full fat
- 2 eggs, whisked
- In a food processor, add onion, garlic, serrano pepper and blend well.
- Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat and then add the pureed onions, garlic and serrano pepper to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Saute for 7-10 minutes.
- Add the spices and after a minute, add the tomato paste, pumpkin puree and bell pepper. Mix well.
- Add coconut milk. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes or until the pumpkin puree absorbs the milk.
- Pour the creamy pumpkin sauce into a large bowl, along with the cooked spaghetti squash and cooked chicken. Mix well.
- Add the whisked egg to the bowl, mix well, then pour everything into a casserole dish.
- Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a little oil, salt and pepper to cut sides.
- Place squash cut side down in a baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife (cooking time depends on size of squash).
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Carefully add chicken pieces and any seasonings you’d like to the boiling water.
- After about 5 minutes, reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
- Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Once cool, remove chicken from bones.
- Save the broth - it’s liquid gold! (I normally strain before using)