I think you and I would be hard pressed to find anyone in this world who doesn’t appreciate a nice, hearty Italian dinner. Agreed? There’s something so satisfying (and yes, I’m going to say it, romantic) about Italian cuisine. When I envision going out for a dinner date, Italian restaurants are always the first to come to mind. The pairing of rich, decadent dishes and fine wine coupled with that intimate ambiance just equate to date night perfection. But romantic Italian dinners out are not always in the budget, nor are they necessarily kind to our bellies, so I am always thrilled to find or create an Italian dish with all the full flavors of traditional Italian cuisine, cleaned up to fit my active lifestyle. Let’s face it, the morning after a huge Italian meal is not so romantic…
One of those perfectly healthy, yet sinfully delicious Italian dishes I ended up with is Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. It all began with a Pinterest search, as I looked for ways to put my beloved spaghetti squash to good use. Up until this point, I’d only ever smothered my squash in sauce, and I felt it was time to amp up my squash game. I kept coming across PaleOMG’s recipe for Spaghetti Pie and was intrigued by the simplicity it had to offer. A quick glance at the ingredients, and I realized I didn’t have the pizza sauce this recipe called for, but I did have marinara. I didn’t have enough Italian sausage, but I was stocked up on organic grass-fed beef. I knew with some modifications and substitutions, I could create a lasagna with the ingredients I did have on hand, adding in my flavor favorites like crushed garlic. I give full credit to PaleOMG for the base of this recipe, but this is a perfect example of how you can tweak a recipe to fit your taste preferences, your ingredients, and even, your budget. The end result? A tasty, filling, and pretty darn healthy lasagna!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 spaghetti squashes (mine are usually smaller in size, so if you have quite large ones, you can probably get away with 1 1/2)
- 2 cups Marinara (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara)
- 3/4 lb. organic grass-fed beef
- 1/2 lb. organic Italian sausage (you can use pork or chicken: I use what I find on sale)
- 3 eggs + 1 egg white
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Asiago/Parmesan cheese (optional and used to taste preference)
- Fresh basil (optional)
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 400. Coat baking dish (mine is about 12 x 10 in) in olive oil spray or coating of your choice.
- Slice both spaghetti squashes length wise and remove seeds/pulp from center. (Take caution when slicing spaghetti squash- to make cutting easier, poke several holes in the squash using a fork and microwave for 2-3 minutes). Drizzle squash halves with olive oil and place face down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minute, until outer part of squash is soft to a fork touch. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Switch oven to 350 once spaghetti squash is done.
- While spaghetti squash is cooking, dice onion.
- Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in pan and add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in onion and 1 garlic clove and cook until both meats are fully cooked. (I like to add in a little Italian seasoning to the meat). Drain excess fat and set aside to cool.
- Using a fork, scrap out the insides of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl. Add in 2 cups marinara, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and mix well. Transfer meat/onion to the mixture, mixing again so everything is evenly distributed.
- Whisk eggs and pour into the spaghetti mix. Add in salt and pepper and mix well.
- Transfer mixture to baking dish and spread evenly. Place in oven and cook for about 1 hour. (The edges should be browned).
- Let cool before serving. Top with fresh basil, Asiago, or Parmesan cheese.
Hope you enjoy!
Question of the day: What’s your favorite “healthified” comfort food?