Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much flavor, you won’t miss the noodles. One look at that photo and we’re pulling up our sleeves to get cooking: are you? Meet your new favorite dream-boat meal: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top. This one went over very well in this household…even the 3 year old approved. How to make spaghetti squash lasagna: basic steps This spaghetti squash lasagna is very easy to make! But it does take a bit of time. Why? Spaghetti squash can take up to 1 hour to roast. Yes, everyone’s favorite squash is a little high maintenance like that. But never fear! Once your squash is roasted, it’s terribly easy to put together. Here’s what to do: Step 1 (40 minutes to 1 hour*): Roast the squash! See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash. *Note: Using the […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much flavor, you won’t miss the noodles.

Spaghetti squash lasagna

One look at that photo and we’re pulling up our sleeves to get cooking: are you? Meet your new favorite dream-boat meal: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top. This one went over very well in this household…even the 3 year old approved.

How to make spaghetti squash lasagna: basic steps

This spaghetti squash lasagna is very easy to make! But it does take a bit of time. Why? Spaghetti squash can take up to 1 hour to roast. Yes, everyone’s favorite squash is a little high maintenance like that. But never fear! Once your squash is roasted, it’s terribly easy to put together. Here’s what to do:

  1. Step 1 (40 minutes to 1 hour*): Roast the squash! See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash.
    *Note: Using the Instant Pot cuts this time in half.
  2. Step 2 (15 minutes): Make the filling and layer it up.
  3. Step 3 (10 minutes): Bake it until the cheese melts.
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Tips on how to cook spaghetti squash

The main task for this spaghetti squash lasagna is (no surprise!)…cooking the spaghetti squash. Here’s what to know about cooking this tough yellow squash:

  • Slice lengthwise to serve in “bowls”. Usually we slice the squash around the middle to get the longest noodles (see How to Cook Spaghetti Squash). But if you want to serve it in natural bowls, cit it lengthwise.
  • Roasting is the best method. Roast your squash at 400 degrees until it’s tender, 40 to 55 minutes.
  • Separate into noodles with a fork. Scrape out the cut sides with a fork: instant noodles!
  • Allow to steam 5 minutes in a colander. This helps to remove excess liquid.

Alternative method: Instant Pot!

Want to speed up the cook time? You can cook your spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot, with one caveat: you’ll have to cook them one at a time. This spaghetti squash lasagna calls for 2 squash, but only 1 can fit in an Instant Pot at a time.

The Instant Pot is significantly quicker: it takes only 13 minutes for the squash to cook. So even cooking two squash, it takes about half the time to pressure cook them. Score!

How to make spaghetti squash lasagna

Spaghetti squash lasagna filling ingredients & add-in ideas!

Once you’ve cooked up that spaghetti squash, the rest of the lasagna recipe is a breeze! Here’s what you’ll need for the filling, including an idea for some add-ins:

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • Spaghetti sauce: Use your favorite brand to keep this quick and easy. There are lots of great brands on the market these days that are minimally processed.
  • Add-in idea: To make it more filling, add plant-based crumbles! We used to avoid these, but lately there have been less processed versions on the market. For more details, see our Quick Chili recipe. You can also add cooked and drained ground beef for meat eaters.

Bake it in the shells, or use a baking dish!

The fun part about this spaghetti squash lasagna is that you can bake it in the shells for beautiful presentation! But it’s not required. Here are a few notes about both:

  • Bake it in the shell: When you scoop out the spaghetti squash strands with a fork, keep the skin of the squash in tact. It forms a natural shell that you can use for baking it! Pros: it’s beautiful. Cons: it’s pre-portioned so you can’t choose how much you want, and it’s harder to serve to a crowd. Kids also seem to prefer the next option.
  • Bake it in a 9 x 9 baking dish: Or, throw it into a 9 x 9 baking dish! It works just as well and takes a little less time to assemble. Pros: It’s easier to serve to a crowd, and seems more like “real” lasagna. Cons: It’s not nearly as stunning to look at.
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Make ahead tips for spaghetti squash lasagna

Can you make ahead parts of this spaghetti squash lasagna for easy prep? Absolutely. Here are a few options to choose from:

  • Roast the squash in advance. Simply roast your squash in advance and refrigerate until you want to bake. Some liquid may accumulate while it refrigerates: just pour it off. While the oven preheats, layer the ingredients. Increase the final bake time a little since you’ll be baking the noodles from cold (or warm them in the microwave before assembling).
  • Don’t assemble in advance. You might be tempted to assemble it then refrigerate, but we advise against this. Moisture can accumulate in the fridge, making it overly watery. Simply roast the squash in advance per above: you can layer it while the oven preheats and there’s no time lost!

Sides to serve with spaghetti squash lasagna

This spaghetti squash lasagna is a total show stopper that everyone will love! While it’s a great naturally gluten free and keto dinner option, it works for anyone no matter their eating preferences. Here are a few ways we’d accessorize it to make a healthy dinner (though on a weeknight, we usually just do non-recipes like raw veggies or a throw together salad):

We hope you love it as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below.

Spaghetti squash recipe

This spaghetti squash lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Favorite Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much satisfying flavor, you won’t miss the noodles.


Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil and oregano OR 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce or marinara, your favorite brand (24 ounce jar)*
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the spaghetti squash: Using a small sharp paring knife, cut the spaghetti squash around the middle lengthwise. To cut, pierce the knife into the squash and swing down, making small slices around the squash until it breaks in half. Use the knife to cut around the seeds, and then scoop them out with a spoon. Rub the insides of the squash with 2 teaspoons olive oil total. Place the halves on baking sheet cut side down, and roast 40 to 55 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the squash, until tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Alternative method: Go Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash and cook the 2 squash separately (they each cook in 13 minutes).**
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Make the squash noodles and steam 5 minutes: Allow the squash to cool slightly, then use a fork to scrape out the squash into “spaghetti” strands into a colander. Save the hard “shell” of the squash to use for serving, or you can use a 9 x 9 baking dish. Allow the squash to steam in sink for 5 minutes.
  5. Season the noodles: Place the noodles in a large bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the Italian seasoning. Add the cheese mixture and stir gently to combine (don’t overmix). Now for the important part: taste the noodles and add up to 1/2 teaspoon more salt, until the flavor pops. The exact amount will depend on the weight of your squash and the brand of ricotta. We typically end up adding between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon more. 
  6. Layer the lasagna: Using the 4 squash shells or a 9 x 9 baking dish, do the following: place a layer of the cheesy squash and top it with a layer of 1 cup sauce (split among the shells if desired). Then top with the final layer of cheesy squash and the remaining 1 1/2 cups sauce. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (split across the 4 shells or in the pan).
  7. Bake: Place in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with torn or chopped fresh basil. 

Notes

*To make a more filling spaghetti squash lasagna, simmer 1 1/2 cups frozen plant-based crumbles in the sauce for 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Or, cook and drain 3/4 pound ground beef and add it to the sauce.

**Make ahead tips:  Roast your squash in advance and refrigerate until you want to bake. Some liquid may accumulate while it refrigerates: pour it off before assembling. While the oven preheats, layer the ingredients. Increase the final bake time a little since you’ll be baking the noodles from cold (or warm them in the microwave before assembling). Don’t be tempted assemble in advance and refrigerate; too much liquid accumulates while in the fridge, so we don’t recommend this. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Spaghetti squash lasagna

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Cheeseburger Meatballs with Special Sauce.

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Meet my new obsession: cheeseburger meatballs!

cheeseburger meatballs with special sauce

Seriously, cue all the exclamation points.

!!!!!!! (more…)

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How to Pair Cheese With Halloween Candy (Because We All Need a Little Fun)

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The air is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and all I want to do is drink pumpkin beer while snacking on chocolate. Last time we paired potato chips with cheese, offering some delicious salty and savory combinations. Now it’s time to switch gears into the world of sweets. Halloween is approaching: It's the time of year when we all devour candy like nobody’s business.

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These Sourdough Starter Crackers Are a Cheese’s BFF

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I have never heeded the siren call of the sourdough starter. Not for lack of opportunity—a colleague once told tales of his 80-year-old starter from Alaska and offered to cut me in. I seriously considered it, but did I have room in my life to take on another living, breathing entity that I would have to fretfully nurture? My apartment is already teeming with too many plants as it is.

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Fettuccine Alfredo

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Homemade Mac and Cheese

Here’s how to make homemade mac and cheese! Cook this ultimate comfort food from scratch and it’s better than any you’ve ever had. Ready for the best EVER homemade mac and cheese? We promise: it’s really worth pulling out the superlatives here! Making this comfort food from scratch makes it taste infinitely better than the kind from a box. Want to impress everyone? This homemade mac and cheese tastes homey and cozy, with the best gooey, cheesy sauce and crunchy breadcrumbs. Alex and I made this for a recent family gathering and everyone around the table agreed: “this is the best mac and cheese.” How to make homemade mac and cheese: basic steps! Here’s the thing. Making homemade mac and cheese is easy, but you need to know a few basic cooking techniques to make it perfect. Here are the two techniques you’ll have to master: How to cook pasta to al dente. How to make a roux. Once you’ve got these two skills under your belt, the rest is a piece of cake! Let’s talk through these briefly before we start. How (and why!) to cook pasta to al dente What is al dente? Al dente means “to the […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make homemade mac and cheese! Cook this ultimate comfort food from scratch and it’s better than any you’ve ever had.

Homemade mac and cheese

Ready for the best EVER homemade mac and cheese? We promise: it’s really worth pulling out the superlatives here! Making this comfort food from scratch makes it taste infinitely better than the kind from a box. Want to impress everyone? This homemade mac and cheese tastes homey and cozy, with the best gooey, cheesy sauce and crunchy breadcrumbs. Alex and I made this for a recent family gathering and everyone around the table agreed: “this is the best mac and cheese.”

How to make homemade mac and cheese: basic steps!

Here’s the thing. Making homemade mac and cheese is easy, but you need to know a few basic cooking techniques to make it perfect. Here are the two techniques you’ll have to master:

  • How to cook pasta to al dente.
  • How to make a roux.

Once you’ve got these two skills under your belt, the rest is a piece of cake! Let’s talk through these briefly before we start.

How to make mac and cheese

How (and why!) to cook pasta to al dente

What is al dente? Al dente means “to the bite” in Italian. It refers to cooking pasta to just the point where it’s tender but has a subtly firm center. Here’s the thing: overcooked pasta is not only rubbery and unappetizing. It also has less nutrients and it makes you less full (read more here). Cooking the pasta for this homemade mac and cheese to al dente means it tastes better, you get more nutrients, and you’re full for longer. Win, win, win! Here are some notes on how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Don’t trust the package instructions! Most pasta packages have timing that results in overcooked pasta. Start tasting the pasta a few minutes before the package indicates.
  • Taste and drain it right when it’s tender but firm inside. Some chefs say to look for a small white fleck at the core (others think it should just disappear for perfect al dente).
  • Move quickly! Pasta can go from al dente to overcooked in a matter of seconds.

Tips for making a roux

The main kitchen technique you need for homemade mac and cheese is making a roux. What’s a roux? A “roux” (pronounced “Roo“) is flour and butter cooked together and used to thicken sauces. It’s usually made from equal parts of flour and butter. For mac and cheese, you make a roux and then add the cheese. This is what makes the gooey sauce: cheese by its would be too sticky. There are a few important things to note about making a roux:

  • Measure out your ingredients in advance (mise en place). The cooking process goes fast, so you don’t want to be distracted by measuring. The French way to say measure out all your ingredients is mise en place, which means everything in its place.
  • Don’t leave the stove, and watch closely. The flour and butter can burn easily here! You must stand by the stove and start adding milk right when the flour turns golden brown.
  • Add the milk gradually. Pour in the milk and constantly whisk, adding it little by little, until it forms a smooth sauce. Once you get to this point, it’s smooth sailing!
Homemade mac and cheese

Best noodles for homemade mac and cheese

By the way…you don’t have to use macaroni for homemade mac and cheese! No: it’s actually even tastier when you use different types of noodles. You can use all sorts of short pasta shapes, from shells to bowties to penne. Here are our favorite types of short pasta for mac and cheese, in order of preference:

Mac and cheese

Best cheese for homemade mac and cheese

There are a few different cheeses that work well in this homemade mac and cheese. Here’s what we’d recommend, and then a few other options:

  • Use sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. This is the perfect combination for a classic mac and cheese flavor! But be aware…
  • Don’t use aged cheddar! It sounds like it would taste delicious, but aged cheddar doesn’t have quite the right flavor. Stay with a standard sharp.
  • Get fancy with gouda, Havarti or white cheddar. Substitute the cheddar, or try our separate recipes: Gouda Mac and Cheese, Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese, or White Cheddar Mac and Cheese.

Sides to serve with homemade mac and cheese

Cook this pasta to al dente and this cozy homemade mac and cheese is the stuff dreams are made of! We recently made a pan of this for family who were grieving a loved one, and it was just the right food that tastes like a hug. It’s perfect for anytime you need a cozy meal. Here are a few sides that are full of nutrients and fiber to make it into a healthy dinner idea:

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Tip: how to reheat mac and cheese!

Here’s a great homemade mac and cheese kitchen hack! You can save leftovers of mac and cheese in the refrigerator for about 5 days. But the cheese solidifies and dries out in the fridge! How to get it back to a creamy sauce? Here are our tips:

  • Place it in a skillet and add a splash of milk. Use a ratio of about 1 cup noodles to 1 tablespoon milk.
  • Heat over medium heat and stir until the sauce becomes creamy again!

This homemade mac and cheese recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles.

Print
Homemade Mac and Cheese

*Best* Homemade Mac and Cheese


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 to 12 as a side, 6 to 8 as a main
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make homemade mac and cheese! Cook this ultimate comfort food from scratch and it’s better than any you’ve ever had.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound short pasta of any type (we like large shells)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (not aged)
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs)

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Start tasting the pasta a few minutes before the package instructions and stop cooking once the pasta is just tender but still firm. Then drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it quickly with warm water.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Grate the cheese (if necessary). Measure out the butter, flour, milk, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat; when it melts, stir in the flour. Heat the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Immediately when the color starts to turn light brown, reduce the heat to low. Start to add the milk very slowly: whisk constantly until the mixture is completely smooth, then add a bit more milk until it is fully incorporated, then repeat. Once all the milk is added, add the salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Continue cooking on low heat for about 2 minutes to thicken slightly, whisking frequently. After 2 minutes, gradually add the grated cheese and keep stirring until it is fully melted.
  3. Top with breadcrumbs and serve: Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce, then pour it into a dish and top with breadcrumbs. If you’d like, place it in a baking dish and broil it for 2 to 4 minutes until the crumbs are lightly browned, turning the pan to even out the browning as necessary. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop with a splash of milk and stir until creamy. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Homemade mac and cheese, how to make mac and cheese

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

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Fall for this autumn-inspired grilled cheese: with a layer of apple butter, thinly sliced fresh apples, sautéed shallots and thyme, and perfectly gooey, melty cheese that blurs the line between sweet and savory. I call this French-toast style grilled cheese, battered and butter-toasted until it’s perfectly golden brown, and let me tell you, it is […]

Fall for this autumn-inspired grilled cheese: with a layer of apple butter, thinly sliced fresh apples, sautéed shallots and thyme, and perfectly gooey, melty cheese that blurs the line between sweet and savory.

I call this French-toast style grilled cheese, battered and butter-toasted until it’s perfectly golden brown, and let me tell you, it is life changing, falling somewhere in between a traditional grilled cheese and a monte cristo.

The perfect cheese pull!

No, your tastebuds aren’t tricking you, this next-level grilled cheese somehow manages to be both sweet and savory.

In one bite you’ll taste the alpine-style cheese, nutty and mild and ultra melty. The next brings a hint of autumn spice and fruity sweetness from the apple butter, and a fresh crunch from the slices of thinly sliced apple. But then! There’s the shallot, sautéed with a bit of butter and thyme, for a subtle savory push. And finally, the eggy bread, cooked to golden brown perfection that’ll have your brain thinking you’re eating a slice of perfect French toast.

It’s a culinary mind melting experience, and I am here for it.

Apple butter grilled cheese cut in half, with apples, apple butter, and shallot.

Cooking a grilled cheese French-toast style involves basically brushing the bread with an egg/milk mixture instead of butter. Doing so walks the line between sweet and savory, taking your tastebuds on a wild adventure. The egg wash also produces a gorgeously golden brown finish (and let’s face it, we all eat with our eyes first anyway).

If you’ve ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich, it’s a similar idea (although sometimes Monte Cristos are deep fried and topped with powdered sugar, and, well, let’s just be reasonable here). You could even go full MC with this recipe and add a layer of thinly sliced ham or prosciutto in the mix.

Not only does the egg wash produce the most gorgeous golden brown crust, but it also gives the sandwiches a hint of egginess that just screams EAT ME FOR BRUNCH. Thought I’d be equally satisfied eating it for lunch. Or dinner, too, really (you know I’m always down for some B4D).

(more…)