Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

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I love lasagna!  I love zucchini lasagna, sausage lasagna, eggplant lasagna, butternut squash lasagna, vegetable lasagna, and yes, seafood lasagna (it’s a thing)….I will take it anyway I can get it!

Rourke asked me out to lunch in our early dating stages.  He took me to Monjuni’s on Louisiana Avenue here in Shreveport.  Guess what I ordered?  Yep! Lasagna!

But, trying to eliminate gluten these days in my diet has limited me to eating lasagna without pasta in it.  So, I am having to resort to other options.

Here I made it using a baked spaghetti squash in lieu of noodles.  I did not even miss the noodles at all in the end.

And, what I love about this dish is it’s vegetarian. This does have dairy products. Alternatively, you could make it vegan using some of the vegan dairy substitutes out there now.

At the same token, you could also make it carnivorous by adding any kind of protein to it you would like.  It would taste really good with a browned ground turkey or beef.  Or, it would make a great side dish with baked chicken.

I also love that it is a make-ahead, friendly dish that freezes really well.

So without further adieu, here’s what I did…..

fullsizeoutput_4591.jpegI preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I cut a spaghetti squash in half and scooped out the seeds with a large spoon.fullsizeoutput_4595.jpegfullsizeoutput_4596.jpegI placed the halves face down on a baking sheet and baked for about 40 minutes or until soft when you pressed down on them.fullsizeoutput_4599.jpegIMG_7250.JPG

While the squash was baking, I made the filling.  Here, I used cottage cheese.  You could definitely substitute ricotta.  I wanted a little more texture since I was not using a meat protein, so I used a low-fat cottage cheese.

To a bowl, I added 2 cups of cottage cheese, 1/4 grated Parmesan, 1/2 cup minced parsley (I saved a teaspoon of parsley for garnish), 1 egg, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, cracked black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  The latter two are totally optional but add a little something I can’t describe and a little kick.fullsizeoutput_459a.jpegfullsizeoutput_45a0.jpegfullsizeoutput_459e.jpeg

I also got my go-to jar of marinara off of the shelf and grated 8 ounces of mozzarella.fullsizeoutput_45a4.jpegfullsizeoutput_45a5.jpegfullsizeoutput_45a7.jpegfullsizeoutput_45a8.jpeg

It was time for layering.  After spraying a casserole dish with non-stick spray, I scooped out the baked pulp of one half of the squash into the dish, spreading it around evenly.fullsizeoutput_45ab.jpegfullsizeoutput_45ac.jpegI then spooned on the cottage cheese mixture, spreading it evenly with the back of a spoon.fullsizeoutput_45af.jpegfullsizeoutput_45b0.jpegI then spooned out the second half of squash on top of the cottage cheese mixture.  I used a fork to “fluff” it evenly over the entire surface.fullsizeoutput_45b1.jpegfullsizeoutput_45b3.jpegThen I poured the marinara over the top and spread out evenly with the back of spoon again.fullsizeoutput_45b6.jpegfullsizeoutput_45b7.jpegI sprinkled the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top and placed in the oven (still at 350 degrees) for 30 minutes.fullsizeoutput_45bb.jpegAfter 30 minutes, I removed from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  I sprinkled the remaining parsley on top and sliced into 8 pieces to serve.

I served several helpings for Rourke and myself, and froze individual servings into plastic quart freezer bags for lunches or dinner later on.  I labelled and dated them, too.fullsizeoutput_45c0.jpegfullsizeoutput_45c4.jpeg

*Cooking tips:

  1. Make sure your parsley is dry before mincing.  It will make it easier to sprinkle over your dish for garnish.
  2. Make sure your cheese is cold when grating.  It makes it much easier.
  3. When baking dishes with melted cheese on top, let the dish rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into it.  This will give the cheese a chance to cool and set back up.  It will make your portions cut more evenly.

Recipe:

(Serves 6-8)

Calories: 250 for 1/8 serving

Prep time:  10 minutes

Total cooking time:  75 minutes

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out

2 cups of cottage cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/4 grated Parmigiano Reggiano

8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

1 jar of marinara sauce

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

fresh cracked pepper

optional:  pinch of nutmeg, pinch of red pepper flakes

non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place squash halves face down on a baking sheet pan.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until you can press down on the squash and the middle is soft.  Leave oven on.

While the squash is baking, add cottage cheese, parsley, Parmesan cheese, egg and salt/pepper to a bowl and mix.  You can add the nutmeg and/or red pepper flakes to this if desired.  Set aside a teaspoon of the parsley for garnish.

Grate the mozzarella cheese.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Using an oven mitt, scoop the insides of one half of the squash into the dish.  Using the back of a large spoon, spread the squash evenly over the bottom of the dish.

Layer on the cottage cheese mixture.  Using the back of a spoon or an off-set spatula, spread the mixture evenly over the squash layer.

Scoop out the second half of squash over the cottage cheese mixture.  Using a fork, “fluff” the squash evenly over the cottage cheese mixture.

Pour the marinara sauce over the second layer of squash.  Spread evenly over the top.

Top with a sprinkling of all of the mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let set for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining parsley.fullsizeoutput_45c2.jpegBon appetite!

Toodle-oo,

Melanie

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