Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Last time I gave into my sweet tooth and posted an apple pie recipe, so now I’m back to healthier food. I figure after the gluttony of Thanksgiving, we will all need to eat something with a lot fewer calories. This recipe floats around 290 calories for a one cup serving. If you add a tossed salad, you have a pretty satisfying meal. (I cut the recipe in half to try it. The recipe says it makes 10 servings, each ½ cup. Realistically it makes 4-6 servings, unless you are using it as a side dish.)
For those of you who have never tried spaghetti squash, now is the time. I really like baked spaghetti, so I was surprised that I did not miss the pasta at all…in fact, this dish is much more flavorful than the carb-heavy version. So, prepare yourself for the next few weeks of holiday eating by enjoying this, and other healthy, lower calorie meals in between celebrations. Your scale will thank you in January!
By the way, I found the original recipe online. It came from Eat Yourself Skinny at eatyourselfskinny.com. I, of course, made a few changes. Check out Eat Yourself Skinny for more ideas.
Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- 2 ripe spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef (sirloin is the best)
- 2 cups crushed, fire roasted tomatoes
- 1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, divided (or 3 teaspoons dried basil)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- To make the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 350° F, and cut the squash down the middle. (An easy trick is to cut off both ends, prick all over with a fork, and microwave for 3-4 minutes. It will be much easier to cut.)
- Scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet, either lined with parchment paper, or lightly sprayed with oil.
- Bake the squash for 45 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, drizzle oil into a large pan over medium heat and sauté onions and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add ground beef and cook until the meat is no longer pink; drain if necessary.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the spaghetti squash has finished baking.
- When the squash is about ready, stir in grated Parmesan cheese and two tablespoons fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried basil), in the sauce; continue to simmer.
- Remove squash from the oven and scrape out all the strands of spaghetti using a fork (hold with oven gloves…it will be hot!). Place squash into a large bowl to make the next steps easier.
- In a 9″x13″ baking dish, spoon 1½ cups of the meat sauce into the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly. Layer with ½ of the spaghetti squash, then 1½ cups more of the meat sauce, then the rest of the spaghetti squash, the rest of the meat sauce and top with the mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake the casserole in the oven at 350° F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown.
- Top with remaining tablespoon of basil (optional), and serve.