Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole Recipe

If you have a hankering for lasagna but don't want to eat all the carbohydrates in the noodles, Ashley Schuering, who blogs at Confessions of a Grocery Addict, has the perfect recipe for you. "When I first tried out a low-carb lifestyle, I missed certain dishes a whole lot," she told us, adding, "One of the big ones was my mom's lasagna, so I decided to adopt her recipe and use spaghetti squash for the noodles." Schuering said, "It was such a hit with my husband — who also happens to prefer avoiding pasta — that we still make it to this day, despite not being on a diet."

According to Schuering, "This is an awesome dinner pretty much anytime of the year, but I particularly like gooey, cheesy dishes like lasagna during the fall and winter months." She told Mashed her spaghetti squash lasagna casserole makes awesome leftovers, noting the dish will last "five days covered in the refrigerator. You can also make and assemble the casserole without baking it (and store it in the refrigerator) for up to three days." 

So, what are you waiting for? This dish is definitely going to spice up your weekly meal rotation, and couldn't we all use a change-up now and again?

Gather your ingredients for spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

Perhaps the most challenging step of this spaghetti squash lasagna casserole recipe is to assemble all of your ingredients. You'll need two spaghetti squash — Schuering advised about selecting your gourds, "Make sure there are no breaches of the skin, and opt for squash that feel heavy for their size" — as well as olive oil, Kosher salt, and pepper. 

For the meat sauce, the good news is that many of the ingredients, except for the ground turkey and onion, can be found in your pantry: garlic, marinara sauce, dried basil, dried oregano, fennel seeds, and bay leaves. For the cheese mix, gather cottage cheese (more on that later!), an egg, dried parsley, and shredded mozzarella. Now you're ready to get that squash roasting — and while that's happening, you can prep your meat sauce and your cheese mixture.

Prep your squash for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

The spaghetti squash will roast for about 40  to 45 minutes, so get those puppies in the oven ASAP! First, you'll cut the stems off your squash, which creates a solid base for cutting the dense gourd. Carefully split each squash in half. Then, you'll remove the seeds. Schuering offers this great tip: "Rinse the seeds, then dry them and save the seeds for replanting next year!" Because, as she notes, once you taste this filling, savory meal, you'll definitely want to make it again and again. 

Incidentally, Schuering told Mashed this spaghetti squash lasagna casserole dish can be enjoyed alone but added, "It pairs well with Caesar salad and garlic bread! And since the lasagna is low-carb, you don't have to feel guilty about the bread."

Roast the squash for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

You'll roast your squash cut-side up because as Schuering explained to Mashed, this won't "trap too much liquid." She elaborated, "If you flip the squash over and roast it cut side down, the naturally-occurring liquid in the squash will be trapped and end up steaming the squash. While this is fine in most applications, the excess water will keep the 'lasagna' from shredding well for this dish."

Of course, if you botch this step, don't panic! "If you roast the squash cut-side down, no worries — just press the squash strings against a mesh strainer to remove the excess liquid," she advises. Meanwhile, be sure to dress your gourd with olive oil and salt and pepper for flavor before popping it in the oven. And using parchment or silpat-lined sheet pan means easier clean-up, according to Schuering.

Brown the meat for the sauce for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

Your spaghetti squash is roasting away in the oven for a good bit, so now's the time to make the meat sauce for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole. If you aren't a ground meat fan, no worries. Schuering notes, "You can either opt to make this a meatless sauce and omit it altogether. You can also opt for a vegan meat alternative or use very finely chopped mushrooms. Just be sure that if you go the mushroom route, keep cooking them until the water has evaporated almost entirely, or you might end up with a watery sauce." 

The first step is the brown your meat or meat alternative — and the reason for doing this before adding the onion is very interesting, according to Schuering.

Add flavor to the meat sauce in your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

Schuering explained about browning your meat first, "For food safety, especially when working with poultry, it's important that the meat gets cooked all the way through. Since we want to taste the sauce at multiple steps, we should make sure the meat gets cooked all the way through first." She also told us, "I was taught to always brown meat first, then add aromatics like onion to prevent the water from the onion from interfering with the browning process." 

Once your meat is browned, add salt, onion, and garlic until a delicious smells fills your kitchen. We so won't blame you for sneaking a few tastes at this point — we most certainly would!

Crush fennel for the spaghetti squash lasagna casserole sauce

The next step is to add the marinara to the meat mixture for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole. Then, add the rest of your spices. About crushing the fennel seeds into the sauce, well, Schuering told us, "This is a family secret to making any kind of ground meat taste like sausage." She adds, "Plain ground turkey is much healthier than turkey sausage, but sausage gives lasagna so much flavor!" With this fennel method, you get the best of both worlds — the healthier meat with the boost of flavor. Okay, fine. Sneak another taste! 

Meanwhile, while your sauce is simmering away and your squash is roasting, it's a great time to put your cheese mixture together. This step is easy — and then you are almost ready to enjoy this savory meal.

Prep your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole cheese layer

Lasagna fans know ricotta is typically the cheese of choice. But for Schuering, cottage cheese makes the most sense. She explained to Mashed, "My mom's lasagna recipe would always use cottage cheese. I think it was partially because ricotta was difficult to find at basic grocery stores in the '80s." She also told us, "I've always used cottage cheese in my lasagnas as a result, and the outcome is very similar to ricotta."

In fact, as Schuering told us about the resulting mixture of ingredients, "The egg and mozzarella help to bind the cottage cheese and give it a nice melty, stretchy quality." She also shared this tip for this spaghetti squash lasagna casserole recipe: "Just be sure to use full-fat cottage cheese for the best flavor."

Shred the cooled squash for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

Your meat sauce is almost ready for your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole. Your cheese mixture is prepped. Now, remove the squash from the oven, and once it has cooled, you'll shred it into noodle-like pieces, making it perfect for layering into the lasagna casserole. "Honestly, using a fork is the best way to do it!" the recipe's creator told Mashed. She added, "If the squash is cooked through, a regular old dining fork will do the trick. You should be able to get right up next to the skin if it has cooked all the way through." 

Having a tough go of the process? "If the squash is resisting being shredded, give it more time in the oven," Schuering advised home cooks.

Assemble your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole

Now, it's time to layer your spaghetti squash lasagna casserole creation for the oven. You'll spray your baking dish, then add a bit of sauce to the bottom. Next comes about one squash's worth of shreds. Then, "You can honestly go either way with the first layer," Schuering told us — meaning cheese or sauce will work. "But the important part is making sure the top layer has the tomato mix on top rather than the cheese mix. That's mostly for aesthetic purposes but also to keep the cottage cheese from burning." 

Once your layers are assembled, bake the casserole for 40 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Once the dish is done, we know you want to dig in. But Schuering cautions that you should let the meal rest for 15 to 20 minutes because slicing up portions will be far less messy. Okay, now it's time to enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole Recipe
4.7 from 6 ratings
If you have a hankering for lasagna but don't want to eat all the carbs, we have the perfect recipe for you. Ashley Schuering brings us spaghetti squash.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
8
servings
spaghetti squash lasagna casserole
Total time: 65 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 spaghetti squash (2.5 pounds each)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (25)-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves, removed before serving
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Cut stem off spaghetti squash to create a solid base for cutting. Split squash in half, then remove seeds.
  2. Place squash on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then rub all over. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast squash at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until easily shredded by a fork.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or saucepan, brown turkey, breaking it up with your spatula or spoon. Add a large pinch of salt to season meat.
  5. Add onion and another pinch of salt. Sauté until onion starts to become soft and a bit translucent
  6. Add garlic and stir. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Add marinara and remaining seasonings other than parsley. Slightly crush fennel seeds in your hands to release oils. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until flavors are blended and the sauce has thickened a bit from evaporation.
  8. While sauce is cooking, mix together cottage cheese, 4 ounces mozzarella, egg, dried parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  9. When squash is cool enough to handle, shred with a fork.
  10. Spray casserole dish or 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  11. Layer a small amount of sauce on the bottom.
  12. Layer 1 squash worth of shreds.
  13. Top with ½ meat sauce.
  14. Top with ½ cottage cheese mixture.
  15. Layer next squash shreds.
  16. Layer remaining cottage cheese mixture.
  17. Layer remaining meat sauce.
  18. Top with remaining mozzarella shreds.
  19. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, then broil 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  20. Rest 15 to 20 minutes for easier slicing. Enjoy!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 416
Total Fat 23.4 g
Saturated Fat 7.4 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 92.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 26.5 g
Dietary Fiber 5.5 g
Total Sugars 12.8 g
Sodium 1,262.7 mg
Protein 27.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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