Spaghetti Squash Casserole

A couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to branch out and cook vegetables that aren’t in current rotation at my house, I bought a spaghetti squash without really knowing what I’d do with it. I’ve always been a little fearful of them – they seem so strange, don’t they? A squash that cooks up like spaghetti strands? Without the carb-y goodness of actual pasta? Wouldn’t I eat it with regret, wishing I had just made spaghetti instead?

With all my fears and concerns in the back of my mind, I searched for a recipe that would allow the squash to be a stand-alone meal. I didn’t want it as a side dish; I was determined to eat this as a relatively carb-free meal, just to see if I would miss my beloved carbs. I came across this recipe from epicurious.com, which sounded hearty enough for a meal yet still odd because there were so few carbs included. It kind of goes against my nature to have a carb-less meal, so I proceeded with caution, telling myself that sausage and peppers would make the meal so tasty, I wouldn’t miss my starches.

With a few swaps for aesthetics (and practical reasons – my spaghetti squash shells weren’t in any shape to hold anything after I got done scraping the flesh out) and a hearty sprinkling (okay, heavy-handed slathering) of mozzarella cheese on top, I think I created a winner.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 large spaghetti squash

about 1/3 pound spicy Italian sausage

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

some chopped garlic

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 cup grated parmesan

shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Slice open the spaghetti squash and lay flesh side down on a lightly oiled roasting pan. Cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the flesh is cooked. Remove seeds. (Are you supposed to remove the seeds before or after you cook it? I didn’t know, so I just removed them post-roasting.) As soon as your squash is roasted, let it cool while you prepare the filling. In a large pan, cook the sausage, onion, bell pepper & onion with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Add the marinara, and stir in the flesh of the squash by raking it into the pan with a fork. Stare in amazement as it turns into spaghetti-ish strands. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan, and salt & pepper to taste. Pour in greased baking dish, top with mozzarella, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

This was delicious by itself. I loved the cheese on top (of course), and ate it for about 4 meals in a row. I really didn’t miss the carbs in this one, since the sausage and tomato sauce gave it a great heartiness.

Don’t ask how I found this out, but I realized that it’s even better if you crumble some Stacy’s sea salt pita chips on top of it before digging in.