Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Why in the world would you make lasagna without noodles?!? Just because the word spaghetti comes before the word squash, you think you can substitute it in my favorite Italian dish? Is it even legal to call something lasagna if it has no noodles?!? Are you going to try to tell me it takes just like lasagna when there are no noodles?!?
Yes. I can read your mind. By the way … did you know your mind sounds an awful lot like my husband’s voice???
why spaghetti squash lasagna?
Why would anyone make lasagna without noodles? For those who have to eliminate or limit gluten from their diet, finding creative substitutions has become a mission. For those who are dedicated to eating healthy, choosing to eat more nutrient-dense foods is a big part of their success. Many have a big garden and cannot give away enough spaghetti squash, it is a necessity to find creative ways to use it up!
Don’t get me wrong, it does not taste just like lasagna. The spaghetti squash noodles have a different texture and taste. Combined with Italian seasonings, garlic, tomatoes, ground meat, and cheese … understanding that you have greatly reduced the carbs and calories by making this substitution … you might be surprised at how much you like it and how good you feel.
At this point, you can use the noodles any way you want. Drizzle with olive oil and add crushed garlic, lemon juice and rind, and Parmesan cheese for a simple side dish. Stir it into soups (like Italian Vegetable Soup). Act like it’s Thanksgiving and drizzle melted butter over them, sprinkle them with brown sugar or maple syrup, add a few mini-marshmallows and slide under the broiler until warm and bubbly! Yeeee-uuummmm!
Got a bit off the “healthy” track there …
We can argue about calling it lasagna if you want. It’s layered. It has Italian flavors. It can be as cheesy as you choose. It is swimming in marinara sauce. If you still can’t concede and call it lasagna, then call it “Layered Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole”.
Just call it dinner!
Spaghetti Squash Lasagne
- 1 large spaghetti squash approximately 10”x6”
- 2 teaspoons Salt divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 large garlic cloves minced and divided
- 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning divided
- 1 pound ground turkey, chicken or pork
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 6-8 Roma tomatoes (or 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes) sliced thin
- 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese optional
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce optional, optional
Spaghetti Squash Preparation
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle cut sides of squash with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Choose a baking pan large enough to easily hold both halves of the squash and add enough water to the pan to reach 1/2″ up the side. Place the squash halves, cut-side down, in the water and cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Squash is ready if it “gives” under a little pressure from your finger on the skin side. Remove from oven and remove foil (be careful as steam will escape as the foil is removed). Place the squash halves on a cutting board, cut side up, and cool until easy to handle.
- Bring in the kids: this step is fun! Take a fork, turn it over so the prongs point down, and drag the fork across the inside of the squash. The “noodles” will separate as you drag the fork gently through the squash.
- Put the “noodles” in a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and use a fork (or your hands) to toss with half of the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Meat Filling Preparation
- Brown ground meat with remaining minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and crushed red pepper (if using); drain.
Lasagne Assembly and Baking
- Spread 1/3 of the squash on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of sliced tomatoes on top. Sprinkle 1/2 of the ground meat mixture on top of tomatoes and 1/3 of the cheese(s) over the meat. Repeat all layers. Spread remaining squash on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
- While lasagne bakes, warm marinara sauce in a pan on top of the stove over low heat until hot.
- Remove lasagne from oven. Cool for 10 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve with marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Individual portable Portions
Want to take this dinner on the road? Or make several smaller pans and freeze some for another time? Mini-loaf or mini-pie pans are the solution! One recipe will make about 8 individual pans (depending on how thick the layers are). Simply assemble, cover and freeze before baking. Remove from the freezer the night before serving and thaw in the refrigerator. Uncover and bake as directed. Additional baking time might be needed if not completely thawed.
Looks like a pretty tasty picnic, doesn’t it?