Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
I imagine we all have women in our sphere who evoke the phrase “I Don’t Know How She Does It” after the best selling novel by the same name. That’s what comes to mind for me, at least, when I think of one particular friend who volunteers for more than her fair share, has a special needs child in her care, and always has a smile on her face. And it’s what I thought when I learned that the cook behind this Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, Sonali Ruder, is not just a mother and food blogger, but an emergency room physician, who, by the way, just published a cookbook.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
It makes sense to me that Sonali created a recipe like this. It’s exactly what a busy parent needs, especially this time of year when life gets even busier. This Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is everything: Freezer-friendly, can be made ahead, perfectly portable, ideal for a potluck or a crowd, and makes enough for leftovers. It’s also plainly delicious. I think the only thing this recipe doesn’t do is clean up after itself (how inconsiderate).
The recipe comes from Sonali’s new Natural Pregnancy Cookbook (Hatherleigh Press, 2015), which features over 125 recipes and a bundle of smart and practical information about eating during pregnancy. Like the recipes on her blog, the ones in her book are wholesome and inspiring. And while the book is written for the nine months of pregnancy, the recipes are just as suitable for life before and after the baby is born.
A Nutritious Lasagna
As for this spaghetti squash lasagna, to my mind, it’s offers a lot that traditional lasagna doesn’t. I found it easier to make, it’s not heavy in the way that lasagna so often is, and it delivers of boatload of nutrition. One serving provides:
- Nearly half your daily needs for calcium
- 16 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fiber
- A decent dose of iron
- All at just 244 calories
It’s good stuff, and whether you’re pregnant or not, it may be what’s called for on those “I don’t know how she does it” sort of days. We all have them.
How to Make this Lasagna Even Easier
If you want to make things go a little more quickly when making this recipe, here are a few handy shortcuts:
- Use bottled marinara sauce. I’m partial to the brand Rao’s and typically use about 1 1/2 of their 24-ounce jars in place of the from-scratch sauce in the recipe.
- Swap in frozen, chopped, and defrosted spinach instead of starting with fresh. Be sure to squeeze the excess liquid from the defrosted spinach.
- Cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave using this method.
- Use pre-shredded Mozzarella cheese
How to Freeze this Lasagna
This is definitely a dish that holds up well in the freezer. Be sure to cool it completely. Then wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap, pressing any air out, if possible. It will keep for up the three months. To reheat, put it straight from the freezer (minus the plastic, of course) into a 375 degree oven until warmed through and the cheese is bubbling.
If you like Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, check out:
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
- 1 large spaghetti squash, about 3 ½ pounds (See Notes)
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 container (15 ounces) part skim ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 5 ounces baby spinach, steamed and chopped (can use frozen spinach)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the flesh with 2 teaspoons oil. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. When the squash is cooled, scrape the flesh with a fork so that it forms spaghetti-like strands. You should have about 6 cups total.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating 2 teaspoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until partially softened. Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes until thickened.
Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, spinach, ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Squeeze all of the liquid from the spaghetti squash and add the squash to the ricotta mixture (the squash releases a lot of water as it cooks so make sure to squeeze it well). Stir to combine all of the ingredients.
Turn the heat on the oven down to 375°F. To assemble the casserole, spread about 1½ cups of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 11-inch baking dish. Add the squash mixture on top and spread it out evenly. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the squash and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
To cut down on cooking time, you can also cook the squash in the microwave. You can find instructions by following this link: http://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/uncategorized/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-in-the-microwave/ Recipe and photo reprinted with permission from the Natural Preganancy Cookbook by Sonali Ruder.