This post was written last November, and I thought I would repost it since the recipe was so good, and it fits well with the Squash Fest. Unfortunately, it does contain cheese and is not dairy free unless you use a substitute.
My only experience with squash that I remember from childhood was when my mom would slice, batter, and fry yellow squash. I hated it. I hated the flavor and texture. That experience led me to believe that I didn’t like any squash. Somewhere down the road I learned to like zucchini, and it has been a staple vegetable in our house for a while.
Other than that, I stayed away from squash until last fall when I made butternut squash soup. My family wasn’t too thrilled with it, but I enjoyed it. I made that soup again last week and their tastes had improved to tolerating it.
This fall I tried spaghetti squash. I’ve used it twice now. The first time I had a rather large squash that I baked in the oven, whole. It was still a little crunchy when I served it in place of spaghetti noodles. The family didn’t mind the taste, but thought crunchy spaghetti was a little weird.
The second time I bought a smaller squash and cooked it in my pressure cooker. It turned out a little bit too done and the strands were not as distinguishable. That was okay because I decided to use it in a casserole. I didn’t have any ricotta cheese to make a lasagna type dish, so I decided on a variation of my pizza casserole. It turned out great, and everyone liked it! My oldest said he didn’t mind the squash as long as there was plenty of meat and cheese, which there was.
If you’ve never cooked a spaghetti squash before, there are several ways you can do it. You can bake it whole by putting some holes in it with a sharp knife or a skewer and placing it in a pan. Bake it at 375 degrees about 1 hour. You can also cut it in half, clean out the inside and bake it cut side down in a pan with some water for 30 –40 minutes. I cut it in half and placed it in my pressure cooker. I cooked it under high pressure for 10 minutes, but 8 might have been better.
When it is done cooking, use a fork or large spoon to pull out the flesh and scrape it away from the outer rind. It will look something like this. For this recipe you should cook the spaghetti squash first and have it ready to go into the casserole.
- 1 small spaghetti squash
- 1 – 1½ pounds ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounce jar pasta sauce
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cook the spaghetti squash and scrape out the flesh.
- Sauté the ground beef, onion and garlic together and drain any fat.
- In a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish put half the squash, spreading it over the bottom of the dish.
- Put half the beef/onion mixture on top of the squash.
- Spread half the pasta sauce on top and then sprinkle with half the cheese.
- Repeat the layers of squash, beef mixture, sauce, and cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta, especially this time of year when they are in season and inexpensive. It’s an easy way to make a gluten free dish, but this recipe is worth making whether you have to eat gluten free or not.
This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Ultimate Recipe Swap, and Friday Foodie Fix. Some of the carnivals are not gluten free, but do include links to naturally gluten-free recipes as well as ones that could easily be converted.