Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

spaghetti squash lasagna
by Sonali Ruder DO
Your guests will be raving about this dish!  It’s hard to mess with a classic, but I set out to make a lighter version of one of my all-time favorite dishes- lasagna.  This delicious and nutritious twist on lasagna uses spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  Packed with protein and fiber, it will keep you feeling full and satisfied.  Spaghetti squash has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and when it’s cooked, the flesh falls away like ribbons or strands of spaghetti.  It’s lower in calories and carbs than traditional pasta and is packed with nutrients like fiber and Vitamin C.  I mix the squash with creamy ricotta cheese and spinach.  It’s then layered with a delicious homemade tomato sauce and cheese and baked in the oven until it’s bubbling with cheesy goodness.  I make my tomato sauce with canned crushed tomatoes, which I always have on hand in my pantry.  They’re convenient, packed with nutrition and add a vibrant burst of flavor to any dish.  My Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is the perfect healthy, vegetarian addition to your dinner table and is also great for entertaining.  It serves a crowd, can be made ahead and even freezes well.  How can you go wrong with that?  Your guests will be begging you for the recipe!
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Makes 8 servings
1 large spaghetti squash (about 3 ½ pounds)
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
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
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
1 container (15 ounces) part skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
6 ounces (1 ½ cups) reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided use
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 1 teaspoon 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 a total of 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 4-5 minutes until partially softened.  Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes until thickened.   
Mix the ricotta, egg, spinach, ½ cup 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 it to the bowl (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 lasagna, spread about 1 ½ cups of the sauce on the bottom of an 8×11-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 cheese on top.  
Bake in the oven 35-40 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.  Garnish with parsley.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.  
One serving: Calories 244; Fat 11g (Sat 6.1g); Protein 16.8g; Carb 21g; Fiber 4.4g; Calcium 448mg; Iron: 2.8mg; Sodium 872mg; Folate 71mg
sonaliSonali Ruder – I am an Emergency Medicine physician, mom, culinary school graduate, recipe developer, cookbook author and “board certified” foodie. I developed an interest in food and nutrition several years ago when I was doing my residency training in New York City. Ten years after embarking on my medical career, I decided to further pursue my passion for cooking by enrolling in culinary school. That’s where I learned the fundamentals of combining flavors and using different cooking techniques to create dishes that are nutritious and full of flavor. While I was a student, I also started my blog The Foodie Physician. Now my time is spent in two distinct ways- part of the week I’m a doctor working in a busy Emergency Room and the rest of the week I keep busy developing recipes, blogging and running after my delicious and very active little girl, Sienna. My goal is to share both my medical and culinary knowledge with others, to empower them so that they can make smart diet and lifestyle choices. Healthy food can and should be delicious!