Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Seasonal Fall Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna {Low-Carb, Gluten-free, Grain-free}

September 21st, 2012 · 27 Comments · Recipes

Darn that Pinterest.

An awesome sharing and bookmarking platform that is based entirely on gorgeous photos, and I have to post an ugly casserole recipe today because spaghetti squash is in season (barely) and I don’t want to miss it!

low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe

Harumph.

Our family discovered spaghetti squash, MUCH to my 7-year-old boy’s chagrin, when we first went grain-free two years ago. When cooked properly (i.e., not too mushy), it makes a pretty decent substitute for spaghetti.

My husband, who doesn’t eat squash or any mushy orange vegetable of any kind, actually likes it – again, as long as it’s done up right.

Your family members who won’t touch a squash with butter, salt, and pepper really might give it a chance with spaghetti sauce and cheese. It’s a totally different beast.

If you have spaghetti squash in season in your region, grab a couple. A squash will stay fresh at room temperature for months; spaghetti squash is a little more tender and delicate, so I’d just give it weeks instead.

But – they’re almost prohibitively expensive at 99c/lb. regular price throughout the year in our grocery stores. An average sized squash for 1-2 meals would come out to over $5, definitely more than the pasta it’s replacing! I like to get them at $1 each, and I’m hoping to buy an entire half bushel today.

Psssst! If you’re in West Michigan, please consider signing the 10×10 Local First pledge, agreeing to move $10 a week of your food budget to local food sources. Like spaghetti squash instead of pasta! Winking smile We’re almost to 1,000 people; you can do it, Michiganders!!!

What Does Spaghetti Squash Look Like?

spaghetti squash

Pale yellow, oblong in shape, and totally nondescript, especially compared to other squash shapes this time of year. The flesh is pale yellow as well, and the photo below shows how the spaghetti squash comes out of the shell – it’s so cool! You just pull it out with a fork, and it creates strings that look just like pasta. I’m telling you, it’s wild.

spaghetti squash strings

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Try a simple spaghetti squash meal by baking the squash:

Put whole in the oven while it warms up, about 10 minutes, to soften the hard outer shell (may not be necessary). Cut in half, scrape out seeds, and place facedown in a centimeter of water in a baking dish. Bake 30-45 minutes at 350-400F until a fork can easily pierce the skin. Try not to overbake or you’ll start to lose some of the “noodle” definition and get “mush.”

Then simply top with hot spaghetti sauce with meat, just as you would pasta.

You can also serve it as a simple side dish with butter, salt and pepper, or add some Italian herbs and a can of diced tomatoes.

spaghetti squash

It’s possible to freeze the cooked spaghetti squash, too – I’ll be doing that more this fall than last. Shoot for “al dente” since you’ll be cooking it again to reheat for sure.

If you’re wondering whether yours is done enough, if it’s pliable, it’s done. I like it best a teeny tiny bit al dente, and it’s really not a nice experience if it’s mushy. Trust me.

Seeds Too!

I love this additional element that gives you basically a free snack that’s totally healthy. The seeds in a spaghetti squash act just like pumpkin seeds when roasted, so save them and bake them up for munching! Here are my instructions on how to make crispy pumpkin seeds (soaked, Nourishing Traditions style).

If you really want a squash-hater to love your spaghetti squash, try this delicious, nutritious, low-carb lasagna recipe.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna {Grain-free}
5.0 from 2 reviews
Print
Recipe type: Main dish, Paleo
Author: Katie Kimball
Yield: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 green pepper or 1 red pepper or both, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ~3-cup jar spaghetti sauce
  • 4-6 c. cooked spaghetti squash (1 large)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1/4-1/2 c. Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Bake spaghetti squash by cutting in half, scooping out the seeds, and laying face down in a baking dish with about 1 centimeter of water in it. Bake at 350-400F for 30-45 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce the skin. You can make it easier to cut by putting the whole thing in the oven during the preheat, about 10 minutes.
  2. This step can be done anytime before the meal; use the squash chilled if cooked the day before (save energy and bake it with dinner), or bake it right in the lasagna pan to save a dish.
  3. To assemble the lasagna, put a few spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13” pan.
  4. In a large pot, brown beef; add onions and peppers, cook until limp. Browning the onions adds an incredible layer of flavor to the entire dish. Add garlic for last 2 minutes.
  5. Mix in spaghetti sauce.
  6. Meanwhile in a bowl, mix the squash with the salt, pepper, ricotta cheese and 1 c. of the mozzarella.
  7. Layer in pan with half the squash mixture, half the beef mixture, the remaining squash and the remaining beef. Top with ½ cup mozzarella (at least) and all the Parmesan.
  8. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until bubbly around the edges.
Notes

* If you have a meat loving family, use a whole pound of ground beef.
* Ground sausage would be great, too!
* Could also probably fill in a cup or two of the spaghetti squash with shredded zucchini.
* Got too many tomatoes? Sliced toms under the top layer of cheese is a magnificent addition.
* Cottage cheese is a good sub for half the ricotta; makes it a little lighter feeling in my opinion.
* Could yogurt cheese be used for part or all of the ricotta? I haven’t tried it, and it wouldn’t really be melty, but that’s what the mozzarella is for anyway, right?
* You could always add other vegetables, like greens, to this dish, and fresh herbs would be wonderful.
* The bigger version: use 6-8 c. squash, a whole pound of beef, 2+ c. each of the cheeses and 2 jars sauce. It still fits in a 9×13, but just barely!

 

spaghetti squash lasagna (6) (500x375)

I’ll have to try to make this lasagna look prettier next time I make it, before my husband (bless his heart) packages it into single serving Pyrex for the fridge. Then again, I don’t know that it’s possible to make spaghetti squash lasagna actually look beautiful!

Enjoy the recipe!

Other fall squash recipes:

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27 Comments so far ↓

  • Beth

    I pinned it! I’m always looking for ways to use ground beef (we split an entire cow with my parents and, as anyone who’s done that knows, a good portion of what you get is GB!) I also don’t have a lot of spaghetti squash recipes I love, so it sounds like a winner. I’m one of the rare people who actually uses Pinterest based on the quality of the recipe not the photo ;)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Amber

    Yum! We are HUGE spaghetti squash fans here! For me, it is much simpler to roast it first and THEN cut it/fork the strands out. I hate trying to cut the giant squash when they are all hard and slippy lol.
    How do you freeze yours? I really want to do that this year!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Amber,
    You know, I always plunk them in the oven whole for 10 minutes to soften, then cut. I didn’t think of that when I was writing the recipe; thanks, will edit! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Meghan @ Whole Natural Life

    Funny – I consider myself lucky to get spaghetti squash (organic, usually) on sale for $1/pound here in Colorado! I’m constantly amazed at how food prices vary across the country. Wish I could get some for $1/squash!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Von

    Looks yummy, but not Paleo.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Stacey Reply:

    Exactly what I was going to say, Von! Not Paleo at all with all that cheese.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Arg, if only Paleo and Primal didn’t both start with P! I’m never going to be able to keep straight which is which. Ok, dairly is not Paleo. Thank you for the clarification! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • lizi

    yeah looks great!! but hardly paleo with all the regular grocery store cheese…..maybe if you cut out the cheese and topped it with raw jerzey cheese the last few minutes?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    So raw cheese is still Paleo? Hmmm…guess I better just stay away from using that term since I don’t eat that way officially! Thanks! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Christine H. Farlow, D.C.

    Great recipe, Katie!

    Spaghetti squash is one of my substitutes of choice for pasta. The other is kelp noodles. You don’t heat kelp noodles. You rinse them and put them in warmed pasta sauce or other dish and let sit for about 10-15 minutes to take on the flavors of the other ingredients. It’s a little crispy, but delicious.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Ooo, I’ve never even heard of kelp noodles. Are they 100% kelp? The dried kelp I have seems like it wouldn’t be all that good as noodles, but maybe softened in sauce. ??? Cool! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Christine H. Farlow, D.C. Reply:

    They are 100% kelp. You can find them in the refrigerator section of your health food store.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Christy

    Thank you! Just diagnosed with Celiac so looking for gluten free recipes. Looks delicious!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Christina

    I make spaghetti squash all the time as my family generally eats Paleo. Just to clarify, however, dairy of any sort is not considered paleo. When I make mine I use a home made marinara sauce, italian sausage, and sauteed peppers. You can add mushrooms too (which is pretty good). When I have fresh basil I add that too. When I want to make lasagna I use zucchini “noodles” by slicing zucchini longways with a vegetable peeler. I layer with other veggies and marinara sauce and if I need some cheese I top with a small layer of parmesan or feta.

    [Reply to this comment]

    cirelo Reply:

    http://chriskresser.com/is-paleo-even-paleo-and-does-it-even-matter

    I stand by this article in regards to milk not being paleo. Who cares?

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Linda

    Thanks for the recipe. I can totally do this and I think my picky son might like this. Hubby and I will love it.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Mary @ Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

    Looks good. We’ve had mixed reviews with spaghetti squash, so I don’t make it often. Maybe I’ll have to give it another try.

    It was great to meet you in person on Tuesday, even if I couldn’t stay very long. I didn’t realize you were so close. I’m in Grandville. Love your blog.

    [Reply to this comment]

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  • cirelo

    I remember my mom growing a bumper crop of spaghetti squash when I was 8 or so. We had spaghetti squash morning, noon, or night (how I wish I were exaggerating) all that fall. Nobody in my family has had a bite of that squash since then, though I did look kind of nostalgically at one in the store the other day.

    [Reply to this comment]

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  • stephany

    I love this recipe – thank you! I’ve tried using spaghetti squash before and my 4 boys did not like it;( But this recipe got a thumbs up from all :) I used the marinara sauce from againstallgrain.com and added pecorino romano:)!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Laurel

    Made this for supper tonight. My husband and daughter liked it too. Tasted a lot like lasagna and I don’t feel tired and sore after, stomach feels great too! :) Actually better than regular lasagna as the ricotta could be tasted through out, and no dry sections.
    Just read the tip about cooking squash before cutting. Will definitely remember that for next time! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Angie W

    Such a good meal! My family loves this! We’ve been making this with homemade mozzarella and kefir cheese. The kefir cheese doesn’t melt per se, but the consistency is right, and we love the slight tang. Thanks for the idea!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Candace

    I made this last night and it was delicious. Thank you. I added some mushrooms to the other veggies. We’ll be making it again.

    [Reply to this comment]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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