spaghetti squash lasagna boats cooking with cocktail rings

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

While I’m not amongst those who believe that spaghetti squash can easily be mistaken as pasta I do believe that it can be made into a delicious and hearty, low-carb, vegetarian entrée using elements of lasagna. The reason so many people use it as a pasta substitute is because of the way the flesh becomes stringy, resembling spaghetti noodles (i.e. the name spaghetti squash) sans the fancy spiralizer equipment. I love this type of squash for its mild squash flavor and the way that it can be easily made into boats and loaded with all sorts of ingredients.

For this recipe, the spaghetti squash is first roasted and the flesh is scraped out and combined with creamed spinach then layered with marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella for that stringy cheese-topped finish. This dish has the comforting flavors of your favorite lasagna while keeping it on the healthier side. You can even add seared Italian sausage to the tomato sauce for a more complete entrée (or for someone who just cant pass up even one night of meat).

 

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:

2 medium spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds total), halved

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

 

For the marinara sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

½ teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

For the creamed spinach:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

16 ounces baby spinach

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole milk

Kosher salt, to taste

 

For assembly:

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Handful wild arugula, for garnish

 

Instructions:

For the spaghetti squash:

Scoop out the seeds of the spaghetti squash using a spoon and discard.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Rub the inside of each half with the olive oil.  Bake until the spaghetti squash is tender when poked with a fork, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 6 minutes then use a fork to scrape flesh from top to bottom. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

 

For the marinara sauce:

Heat a medium saucepot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil and red pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

 

For the creamed spinach:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the spinach, tossing to coat all the leaves in the oil. Sauté the spinach, stirring occasionally, until all the leaves have wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and return the pan to the heat.

Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour, whisking to combine. Let the roux cook until a pale golden brown, about a minute. Add the milk, whisking to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low, whisking until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Return the spinach to the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt then add the sauce over the bowl of spaghetti squash flesh, stirring to combine, and evenly coat the squash.

 

For assembly:

Heat oven to 425ºF.

Arrange the spaghetti squash boats, cut side up on a baking sheet. Spread ¼ cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of each boat, then fill with the spinach and spaghetti squash mixture. Top each with an additional ¼ cup of the sauce then top with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool then top with Parmesan cheese and arugula to garnish. Serve hot.

 

Serves 4.

 

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