Friday, August 22, 2008

Spaghetti Squash and Low Carb Lasagna

As much as I hate to admit, Fall is on the way. While Fall does mean colder temperatures, it also means an inexpensive abundance of squash at farmer's markets and in the grocery stores. Fortunately, squash can be great nutritional bargain. With a low cost, high vitamin content and low carb count, spaghetti squash, acorn squash and other varieties are frequently on my menu.

One of my favorite varieties is Spaghetti Squash. It gets its name from the tendency of the flesh to come apart in noodle-ish strings when cooked. It does make a pretty good spaghetti replacement and I use it for just that purpose. After you cut it in half and seed it, the squash can be baked, boiled or (if your microwave is big enough) steamed. Once the squash is cooked, you just take a fork and drag it across the flesh (long ways) and fluff it to get your "spaghetti" strands. (Instructions for preparing here)

At that point you can just use your spaghetti like you would for any regular spaghetti recipe. Top with pesto, a marinara sauce with meat balls, or even a tasty chicken alfredo. Another option is to use your spaghetti as a replacement for lasagne noodles. There is no law that says you HAVE to use a flat pressed noodle to make your lasagne, and I have (in my high-carb days) used spagetti noodles instead of lasagne noodles before. Making a switch to spaghetti squash works just fine.

To make your own Spaghetti Squash lasagna, you can use any favorite lasagna recipe and just swap the spaghetti squash for the noodles. Easy! The recipe below is based on the one mom used and it was always a family favorite.

Wifezilla's Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

1 1/2 lbs. Italian Style Turkey Sausage (or ground beef, or ground turkey or any combination of the three)
1 (26 oz.) Hunt's No Sugar Added Spaghetti Sauce (or other low carb sauce...meat flavored is often your best bet.)
4 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 (8 oz.) container of Ricotta (or cottage cheese - drained)
1 large spaghetti squash
1 cup chopped red onions
2 tsp dried basil (or 4 tsp fresh minced)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano (or 2 tbsp minced fresh)
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese (ok...use dry if you must!)
Olive Oil to grease pan
Optional: 2 cups sliced mushrooms

• Prepare spaghetti squash and flake in to "noodles". (Instructions here)

• While the squash is cooking brown the ground beef. Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are clear. (You can also add the mushrooms at this point.) Pour off any excess fat.

• Add your spaghetti sauce and spices to the ground beef. Simmer for 15 minutes.

• Preheat oven 350 degrees.

• Spread a generous layer of olive oil on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

• Add a layer of spaghetti squash noodles.

• Next, cover with a layer of meat sauce.

• Add a layer of ricotta cheese

• Then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

• Repeat layers of noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella. You should end up with 3 layers.

• Sprinkle the top layer with Parmesan cheese.

• Bake in oven 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

TIME SAVER: Mom was smart...since making lasagna can take a bit, she would make several pans of lasagne at one time. Once they were assembled, she would par-cook 3 or 4 of them and then throw them in the freezer after wrapping them in tinfoil. For just a little extra work and about the same amount of mess, she several dinners done in one shot. So, don't be afraid to triple or quadruple this recipe.


Anonymous said...

If I make some and stick it in the freezer what would be the cook time?

Linda said...

45 minutes - 1 hour in my oven. TImes will vary depending on your equipment.