This spaghetti squash, sausage and spinach lasagna recipe may cause you to never go back to regular lasagna again. It’s that good.
The gluten-free and paleo movements have brought a welcome burst of creativity into our kitchens. I follow neither diet but I love how GF or paleo recipe developers have found ways to substitute vegetables for gluten- or carb-heavy ingredients. For example, think about all the ways the chameleon of the kitchen—cauliflower—transforms itself in recipes like cauliflower faux fried rice, cauliflower mac and cheese and cauliflower crust pizza.
Spaghetti squash doesn’t look like a lasagna noodle substitute, but it acts like one in this recipe. You know the pasta’s not there but you don’t care because the dish is fabulously delicious. My version is inspired by Sugar Free Mom’s version. I made several changes based on my taste: substituted a blend of ground Italian sausage and turkey for ground beef, and added ground fennel, basil pesto, and spinach to the mix. I absolutely love the looks (and taste) of the pesto- and spinach-flecked ricotta cheese mixture. So pretty.
Since there are only two of us eating in this house, we had a lot of leftovers which I had for breakfast for several days running. Heaven.
It’s not a quick recipe—the squash alone takes about an hour to roast. But, it’s worthy of a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day dinner or a cozy supper with friends or family. This one is a keeper.
Spaghetti Squash, Sausage and Spinach Lasagna
You’ll need a baking dish, sheet or pan large enough for the two halves of a spaghetti squash, aluminum foil, large skillet, large bowl, 9” by 13” baking dish
3 pounds spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise (be careful, I slice to the side of the stem), seeds scraped out with a spoon—save and roast the seeds with salt and spices for a snack
- 2 pounds ground Italian sausage, turkey and/or beef – I used a mix of turkey and sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 24 ounces + 8 ounces marinara sauce
- 24 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 cup + 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 eggs
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place squash, cut side down in a pan, baking sheet or dish. Cover the entire sheet with foil. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s done when you can easily pierce it and go all the way to the peel with a fork, and you can separate the flesh into spaghetti-like strands. The amount of time it will take to get soft will depend on the size of your squash. When it’s done, lower the oven temperature to 350.
In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the ingredients for the meat layer except for the marinara sauce. Cook until the meat is browned and no longer pink. Once cooked, add 24 ounces of the marinara sauce to the meat.
Combine all the ingredients for the cheese layer in a bowl but reserve 1 cup shredded mozzarella.
With a fork, scrape the flesh of the cooled squash to create spaghetti-like strands. Spread the ‘spaghetti’ strands evenly in greased 9” by 13” baking pan. Top the squash with the meat layer. Spread the cheese layer on top of that. Next, spread the remaining marinara sauce over everything. Finally, top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Take foil off, turn on broiler and broil for a few minutes to toast the cheese.