While the texture of the pasta absolutely adds to any good Italian dish, I was pleasantly surprised to find that spaghetti squash really does hold up as a halfway decent low-carb substitute to pasta. And while spaghetti squash along with your favorite meat sauce is perfectly delicious, I went a step further here; I transformed my favorite veggies into a baked spaghetti casserole of sorts.
Even the biggest health food critics loved it. My boyfriend, one of the harshest judges of my culinary talents, enjoyed two, large helpings of this delicious dish!
In my article, Fall at the Farmer's market, I mentioned that spaghetti squash is high in omega-3 fatty acids, the good-for-you fats but it also boasts high levels of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene which is considered an antioxidant is great for your skin and nails and promotes healthy eyesight.
As readers of my blogs know one of my favorite ways to up the nutrition of nearly every dish I make is to sneak in some spinach anywhere I possibly can. The wonderful thing about spinach is that the flavor and texture of this dark, leafy green can be very easily masked, and it is SO darn good for you! So, it should come as no surprise that I've done it again. Full confession—there's spinach in this casserole! Another reason for my devotion to spinach is that it has so many health benefits it's considered a superfood. Not only is it high in iron and potassium but also has protein, magnesium, and folate. Plus, it's great for skin and bone health.
Another ingredient that adds texture and flavor to this dish is the Baby Bella mushroom. Mushrooms are one of the rare foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is best known for aiding in the body's absorption of calcium but isn't present in very many foods (salmon, dairy products, beef and egg yolks are others). Mushrooms are also high in selenium, a vitamin, found in small traces in many fruits and vegetables. Selenium promotes bladder health and has antioxidant properties.
Finally, the red pepper in this recipe boasts almost 300% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C which gives your immune system a boost! Not only that but red peppers are rich in magnesium and vitamin B-6 which helps your body to metabolize fats and proteins to make the energy you need to keep moving!
My recipe calls for a 24-ounce jar of sauce. While I prefer to make my own sauce—mainly to give me control of the sodium and sugar—if there's not time, I enthusiastically recommend Rao's Homemade. If going the store-bought pasta sauce route, I like Rao's Arrabiata sauce for this particular recipe but they also have a fabulous marinara if you don't want the heat.
Rao's is available at my local Whole Foods.The nutrition facts in my Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Recipe was calculated using a 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce that has approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving. If you can stay close enough to that the nutrition facts will be accurate for your dish as well.
The most labor-intensive part of this recipe, of course, is scooping out the spaghetti squash. One large spaghetti squash should be more than enough for this recipe. To prepare the spaghetti squash, use a sharp knife to puncture the squash in several different spots and place the whole squash in a 350-degree oven.
Let it roast for 30-35 minutes (be careful not to overcook as it will make your casserole mush). After it cools, cut the squash in half and use a fork to scoop out the inside and make "noodles". Spaghetti squash is so named because when scooped with a fork, it resembles angel hair pasta.
Try our Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Recipe for yourself! Manga!