I’m excited to announce that I recently became a member of a wonderful community of bloggers called The Recipe Redux. Started by three registered dieticians, The Recipe Redux was founded on the belief that healthier eating should always taste delicious. It’s right up my alley! I’m so happy to be a part of this unique and talented group.
For this month’s challenge, The Recipe Redux asked us to share a healthier “redo” of one of our favorite food memories. It’s the perfect challenge for this time of year with Thanksgiving right around the corner. For many of us, some of our most treasured memories revolve around sharing festive holiday meals with family and friends.When I was growing up, my family would always go to our friends’ home for the holidays. My “aunt” would cook up a classic Italian feast with platters of antipasti, seafood, meat, pasta and plenty of decadent desserts. My sister and I always most looked forward to one particular dish- the lasagna! It was a seemingly mile-high tower of noodles layered with tons of gooey cheese, meat and homemade tomato sauce.
It’s hard to mess with a classic but I set out to make a lighter, vegetarian version of the dish to enjoy this holiday season. My Spaghetti Squash Lasagna uses nutritious spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Spaghetti squash has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and when it’s cooked, the flesh falls away like ribbons or strands of spaghetti. It’s lower in calories and carbs than traditional pasta and is packed with nutrients like fiber and Vitamin C.
I mix the squash with creamy ricotta cheese and nutrient-packed spinach. It’s then layered with tomato sauce, reduced fat mozzarella and parmesan cheese and baked in the oven until it’s bubbling with cheesy goodness. So if you're looking for healthy, vegetarian addition to your holiday table, go ahead and try this dish.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Makes 8 servings
1 large spaghetti squash (about 3 ½ pounds)
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
1 container (15 ounces) part skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
6 ounces (1 ½ cups) reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided use
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the flesh with 1 teaspoon oil. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. When the squash is cooled, scrape the flesh with a fork so that it forms spaghetti-like strands. You should have a total of about 6 cups total.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating 2 teaspoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes until partially softened. Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
Mix the ricotta, egg, spinach, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Squeeze all of the liquid from the spaghetti squash and add it to the bowl (the squash releases a lot of water as it cooks so make sure to squeeze it well). Stir to combine all of the ingredients.
Turn the heat on the oven down to 375°F. To assemble the lasagna, spread about 1 ½ cups of the sauce on the bottom of an 8x11-inch baking dish. Add the squash mixture on top and spread it out evenly. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the squash and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese on top.
Bake in the oven 35-40 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
One serving: Calories 244; Fat 11g (Sat 6.1g); Protein 16.8g; Carb 21g; Fiber 4.4g; Calcium 448mg; Iron: 2.8mg; Sodium 872mg; Folate 71mg
I'd love to hear about some of your favorite food memories, so leave a comment below and let me know.
Check out how my fellow Recipe Reduxers "redid" some of their favorite food memories!