This scrumptious pumpkin pasta with feta cheese is an absolute palate game-changer. Combining the ‘talk of the town’ baked feta cheese trend with kabocha squash and tomatoes will elevate this dish to newfound heights. Prepared in under 15 minutes and off it goes into the oven for another delightful recipe!
What makes this recipe stand out
- Oven-baked: The mode of preparation is most definitely the special feature of this recipe, as you will pretty much add all the ingredients into one pot, and off it goes into the oven. A most-welcome one-pot-meal, so to speak.
- Easily and quickly prepared: Both the ingredients and the preparation of this recipe are kept super simple. And in under 15 minutes, I would consider this a total kitchen “slam dunk”.
- Finger-lickin’ good: A mouthwatering flavor combo created with pasta, kabocha squash, feta cheese, tomatoes, walnuts, onions, and thyme.
Ingredients and Alternatives
Let’s keep our grocery list short with this one. You’ll only require very few ingredients, all of which can be found at any grocery store of your convenience:
The following paragraph will provide further tips and other helpful information along with alternatives with regard to the individual ingredients. Detailed instructions and measurements can be found at the bottom of this page (see recipe card).
- Spaghetti: Simple spaghetti pasta forms the base of our oven dish. Of course, you may choose any pasta of your choice, however, I’d recommend keeping an eye on your ratio of liquid to pasta, as you might have to make some adjustments. For the best possible outcome of my recipe, I’d say stick with spaghetti for now.
- Pumpkin: Using kabocha squash for this dish has its perks and beats most of its competitors in terms of time consumption. There is no peeling required, therefore getting this pumpkin ready is a quick task. It’s certainly fine to use other types, but I recommend kabocha squash since it cuts down on preparation time by eliminating the “dreadful” task of peeling. Opting to use a different squash may also result in having to adjust the time spent in the oven. So, just keep that in mind.
- Feta Cheese: A whole block of feta cheese will melt beautifully and will form the base for our delightfully creamy pasta sauce. Alternatively, you may also use goat cheese. These typically come in smaller-sized logs at the store. Simply adjust the quantity to match our recipe.
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are perfect for our dish, as their water content is on the lower end. Feel free to use “regular” tomatoes and cut them into small chunks but be aware that using larger tomatoes will add more water to your sauce.
- Onions: Red onions will infuse the dish with the most beautiful aroma while simultaneously adding another nice pop of color. White or yellow onions will work just as well, but those will provide a more intense oniony flavor. You might want to consider scallions or spring onions if you are looking for a milder taste but still want to add a delightful hint of pungency. Note: Adding them (scallions/spring onions) directly to the spaghetti, i.e., under the pumpkin and tomatoes, will keep them from browning too quickly.
- Walnuts: Who doesn’t love a good crunch? Adding walnuts will hit the spot and do just that. Prefer cashews or pecans? Go for it and opt for either of those instead.
- Thyme: This herb harmonizes wonderfully with kabocha squash and feta cheese. You may use fresh or dried thyme. If this specific herb does not make your heart sing, try rosemary instead. Different flavor palate, but just as good and “compatible” as thyme. Your kitchen, your call!
- Fresh parsley: Adding fresh parsley to this dish will give it an extra boost of flavor.
Preparing our pasta dish with pumpkin and feta cheese is as easy as 1, 2, 3. You just wait and see.
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Let’s get started on our kabocha squash first. Thoroughly scrub your pumpkin, then cut it in half and scrape out the seeds using a spoon. Continue to cut your squash into wedges or slices and proceed to chop each slice/wedge into nice bite-sized cubes.
Now, rinse your cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.
Grab your red onion, peel it, chop it in half, then proceed by thinly slicing it into beautiful half-moons. If you prefer a smaller cut, just go ahead and quarter each half before slicing it.
Let’s move on to our crunchy element. Use a knife to roughly chop your walnuts, or simply crumble them by hand.
Place all ingredients in your baking or casserole dish, one by one.
Start by transferring the spaghetti pasta into the baking dish so that the base is fully covered. Spread your squash, tomatoes, walnuts, and onions evenly across the pasta by hand.
Make a small indent in the middle by slightly pushing your ingredients to the sides, then place your block of feta cheese inside said indent.
Carefully pour the water over your veggies and pasta. Make sure to steer clear of the cheese. We do not want water on our feta. 😉 What matters most is that our pasta is covered with water (squash and tomatoes do not necessarily need to be “wet”).
Season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle the thyme on top. Last but not least, using a spoon or knife, drizzle your delightful golden “bee’s labor” over the ingredients. Honey. In case that wasn’t clear. 😉
Place the baking dish in your preheated oven and bake for approximately 55-60 minutes.
Depending on the size of your dish and the cut of your squash, you may have to bake it for a little longer. Check its doneness with a fork before removing it from the oven.
Additionally, we want our pasta to be al dente (or whatever consistency you prefer). As baking progresses, add more water as (and if) needed.
Once all ingredients are fully cooked, remove your baking dish from the oven. Finely chop your fresh parsley and sprinkle on top.
Now, using a fork, let’s break up the feta cheese to allow for it to melt into a nice and smooth sauce. Our feta should be fully combined with the remaining liquid to form a beautiful creamy sauce. Et voilà, our heavenly oven pasta dish with pumpkin is ready to be gobbled up!
My top tips
- Small cubes: The smaller the cut, the faster your dish will bake. So, keep your cubes small. Take a look at my pictures to get an idea of what size cubes we are aiming at with this recipe. Try and stick with about that size. They really shouldn’t be any bigger than that. A slightly smaller cut would be fine as well, of course.
- Baking dish: Use a casserole dish that is slightly longer than your spaghetti. This allows enough room for the pasta to expand during the cooking process. However, don’t use too large a baking dish, either. You want to have your ingredients nicely tucked in with enough room for the pasta to expand and to be able to easily form your sauce once done.
- Season generously: A key component of this recipe is the seasoning. Adding salt, black pepper, thyme, and parsley liberally will create a magical burst of flavor. Of course, if you’re concerned about over-seasoning, feel free to hold back just a little and adjust after giving your concoction a little taste at the end.
Looking for other healthy recipes like this? Try these:
Oven-roasted Kabocha Squash Pasta with Feta Cheese
- 1 small kabocha squash need approx. 3 cups or 350g
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 small red onion
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 7 oz spaghetti pasta
- 7-8 oz feta cheese block
- approx. 1 ¾ cups water
- salt, black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp honey
- fresh parsley handful
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Cut your squash into small bite-sized cubes and continue to half the cherry tomatoes.
- Slice your red onion into half-moons or quarter-moons. Roughly crumble the walnuts.
- Place your spaghetti pasta in the casserole dish, then spread the veggies and walnuts evenly across the top by hand. Make a small indent in the middle and place your block of feta cheese inside. Carefully pour the water over the ingredients and season well with salt, black pepper, and thyme. Drizzle the honey over the top.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for approximately 55-60 minutes. (Spaghetti and squash should be fully cooked, otherwise, adjust baking time until done.)
- Remove baking dish from the oven and garnish it with your finely chopped parsley. Using a fork (or something similar) break up the feta cheese and combine everything well to form a creamy sauce to finish off this delicious pasta dish.