I remember the first time I had spaghetti squash. It was after my Grandma June's funeral viewing, and it had been quite the long day. We stumbled over to my grandma's empty house afterwards, and were pretty exhausted. I remember thinking just how hungry we were, and how I wished we would have packed more things to munch on afterwards. When we walked through the door to my grandma's house, a lovely smell filled our senses. My sister, the paleo-tastic queen, had made a spaghetti squash turkey lasagna bake for everyone to enjoy for dinner. It smelled amazing, and although I had sworn off spaghetti squash altogether, I filled my plate and took my first bite.
Although she didn't include the cheesy layer like I did in this recipe below, hers tasted just awesome. I was sold on spaghetti squash forever, and knew right then I would need to recreate this heavenly dish at home for my boys someday.
Cooking the spaghetti squash was actually super easy! I sliced it in half, scooped out the seeds, seasoned the heck out of it, and then cooked them half by half in the microwave. It was magical watching the inner membrane turn into cute little spaghetti-noodle like pieces before my eyes. My son was entranced by the whole process.
I made the lasagna bake in individual ramekins instead of a large baking dish. It made things a little more special for dinnertime for my boys a few weeks ago. My sister walked me through the process of cooking everything up (mostly just the squash, it made me nervous, haha) over the phone, and I layered everything together, and placed them in the oven, hoping it would all work. Well, it did! I couldn't wait to have it for dinner, it smelled amazing. Only... I wasn't sure how the whole substituting spaghetti for spaghetti squash would go over with the man of the house...
My husband walked through the door after a long day at the courthouse, and immediately dived into the ramekin of lasagna goodness & salad on his plate. He ate, he stopped, and he looked at me funny saying "this isn't spaghetti here in the bottom is it?" Nope. Hah. But he said he liked it, and polished off the entire thing. Success. I sold Ryan and the manchild on spaghetti squash after it was all dressed up like an Italian lasagna bake. If I can do this, folks, the possibilities are endless for your dinner table.
Spaghetti Squash Turkey Lasagna Bake
makes 4-6 servings
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t + 1/2 t garlic powder
1 lb ground Italian turkey
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 C ricotta cheese
2 C mozzarella cheese
handful of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash spaghetti squash, then cut it completely in half long-ways. Scoop out the seeds, but leave the rest of the membrane inside. Place one half on a large plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, little Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Cook in the microwave, one slice at a time, for about 6-7 minutes. Repeat with other half. Scoot the spaghetti squash "spaghetti noodles" into a strainer and let drain.
2. Meanwhile, brown the turkey in a large saucepan until slightly toasted and cooked through all the way. Stir in spaghetti sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes on low, covered.
3. In a separate small bowl, make the cheese layer by stirring together the ricotta & 1 C mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper, a little bit of parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
4. Prepare 4 small ramekins, or one large 8x8 square/circle white baking dish with a little cooking spray. Layer in the spaghetti squash, cheese mixture, then the turkey sausage layer. Top with the rest of the mozzarella. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until top is bubbly. Serve immediately!
Recipe adapted from Baking with Blondie & her sister Ashley Doxstader