This Baked Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe is the perfect low carb - gluten-free, cheesy, and delish meal. It tastes like lasagna or baked spaghetti but without the pasta! This dinner is great for making ahead and it freezes well.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe
Before the twins arrived, I went to work making some dishes that I thought would freeze well and this Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe topped the list. I knew that my time to be able to cook would be slim and I was right. I've been lucky to find time to put something in the Crock Pot these days with so little time in between feedings. I've been so happy to have some EASY dishes in the freezer including this pretty fabulous healthy vegetarian meal.
I made this Spaghetti Squash Casserole because I knew I'd be craving comfort food, but also knew I'd probably be watching what I was eating a bit closer trying to lose the baby weight. Luckily this dish turned out to be the perfect healthy, low carb twist on comfort food!
If you haven't tried a healthy twist on pasta night before like this, you are missing out.
Why You'll Love This Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole...
Basically, this Baked Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe tastes like baked pasta or lasagna but with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. It has marinara sauce, rich ricotta cheese, and tons of Italian spices. To add even more nutrients I added a healthy dose of kale to the mixture too. You can sub spinach for that kale or leave it out entirely depending on who you are making it for!
It even has a baked layer of cheese on top, which is just about as cozy as food gets.
This is a dish you can feel good eating but it also makes ya feel all cozy inside.
Pasta is great, but spaghetti squash is a more nutritious choice because it's high in fiber and lower in carbs.
Ingredients in This Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole Recipe
- Spaghetti squash: Be careful not to overcook your squash or else it will make your casserole mushy. Spaghetti squash may look intimidating to cut and make but follow my directions below to do it with ease. When picking a squash look for a small to medium size one that is free of blemishes.
- Ricotta cheese: Ricotta cheese is used in lasagna and goes great in this recipe too. I use the low-fat kind to keep the recipe lower calorie. Feel free to use full fat if that matches your dietary preferences better.
- Egg: An egg helps bind this dish together and gives it more of a baked lasagna feel.
- Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic): Use the ones I list or your favorite Italian seasoning blend. I like to make my own blend.
- Marinara sauce: For a good shortcut, use your favorite jarred kind or make your own with my Crock Pot Marinara recipe.
- Kale: Massage the kale before adding it to the casserole. Doing this will help break down the fibers so that it has a softer texture and milder flavor. You can also use another leafy green like spinach.
- Mozzarella: I prefer to use freshly grated cheese as it tends to melt better than the pre-shredded kind. You can use any cheese blend you have on hand though including parmesan.
- Salt and Pepper? I actually don't salt and pepper this dish since the jarred marina sauce and cheese are salty. Feel free to add some fresh ground pepper if you'd like or my secret ingredient... a sprinkle of garlic salt on top of the cheese.
Is Spaghetti Squash Healthy?
Spaghetti squash is so healthy! It's a delicious winter squash that comes out of a hard yellow shell in strands that look like spaghetti. It's full of vitamin C, B6, manganese, niacin, and potassium. It's also rich in antioxidants and a great source of dietary fiber. It is better for you than traditional pasta. It's also low in carbohydrates and cholesterol. Because of all this, it's the perfect base for a healthy vegetarian dinner. It's also vegan, paleo, and whole 30.
What does spaghetti squash taste like?
Spaghetti squash doesn't taste exactly like spaghetti but it's a nice substitute. It has a mild taste like a zucchini that absorbs other flavors well. It pairs wonderfully with the Italian seasoning in this recipe. If you understand it doesn't taste EXACATLY like pasta... but still really good... it's easy to enjoy this dish.
How do you make Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole?
To make this Baked Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe you first cook the spaghetti squash and mix the ricotta mixture like lasagna. To make the actual casserole you just layer it like a lasagna using spaghetti squash instead of noodles. Here are the step by step instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Also, spray a 9x9 baking pan.
- Pierce the whole spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Put the squash in the microwave for 3-5 minutes or until it is easier to cut. Slice it in half.
- Place the squash on the baking sheet seed side down. Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. Be careful to not overcook the squash as it will continue to cook in the casserole. Spoon out any seeds. Remove all the flesh or strands of spaghetti noodles from the squash. Use a fork to divide the noodle.
- While the squash is cooking mix the ricotta, egg, and seasonings together in a large bowl.
- In a baking dish, layer the casserole with ¼ of the marinara sauce. Then ½ of the kale, ½ of the squash, ½ of the ricotta mixture, another ¼ of the marinara, and ½ of the mozzarella cheese. Then repeat for a second time finishing with the cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling.
Serve this Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole with garlic bread or even an Italian salad.
Variations, Tips & FAQ
- You can add more vegetables like sautéed onion, mushrooms, or bell peppers.
- Switch out your favorite Italian Seasoning Blend for my mixture of spices.
- Make it spicy by adding some red pepper flakes.
- Add some extra parmesan cheese to the mix and on top. You can even mix up the cheeses like using cheddar cheese.
- If you are short on time you can cook the spaghetti squash in advance to cut back on the prep time.
- You can easily make this a meat dish by adding protein like chicken, ground beef crumbles, or even Italian Sausage.
Tips for Cooking the Spaghetti Squash
- If the squash is too hard to cut through, pierce it with a fork or knife a couple of times and pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
- Don't bake the squash for more than 30 minutes or else it will get mushy in the casserole. Keep in mind that the bake time also varies depending on the size of your squash.
- Once cooked the squash will last 3 to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Cook it in advance of making the casserole for an easy meal!
How do I store leftovers?
Store leftovers in the covered casserole dish in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze this Spaghetti Squash Casserole?
YES! This actually makes a great low carb freezer meal. Make it in a freezer friendly casserole dish and pop it in the freezer once cooled. It will keep for up to three months. To reheat the casserole put it in the oven at 350 degrees until it is warm.
How do I keep squash casserole from getting watery?
Squash generally has a lot of water in it, so a squash casserole can occasionally be watery. If you notice your squash seems to have a lot of moisture in it after roasting it but before assembling the casserole you can put it on some paper towels and carefully push or squeeze out some of the water. If you notice water in the casserole dish after baking just cut a corner out of the dish and then carefully pour some of the water out. The casserole should still taste fine.
The only difference is my Baked Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe is filled with healthy, nourishing, and low carb spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Now, I have NOTHING against pasta and we eat it weekly BUT it is nice to have some veggie-filled alternatives sometimes. Plus this version has only 283 calories per serving making it a winning start to a weekday dinner.
Make this cozy casserole early in the day and then bake off at dinner time OR pop in the freezer for a freezer meal. The flavors are perfectly delicious and it's a total crowd-pleaser. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
You'll also love these spaghetti squash recipes...
- 4 Ingredient Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Marinara
- Southwest Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash Marinara
Baked Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Also, spray a 9x9 baking pan and set it aside.
- Carefully pierce the whole spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Put the squash in the microwave for 3-5 minutes or until it is easier to cut. Carefully slice it in half.
- Place the squash flesh side down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and comes apart in spaghetti-like noodles easily. You don't want to overcook the squash because it will continue to cook in the casserole. Remove all the noodles from the squash and set it aside.
- While the squash is cooking mix the ricotta, egg, basil, oregano, garlic, thyme and rosemary together. Set aside.
- To layer the casserole start with ¼ of the marinara sauce. Then add ½ of the kale, ½ of the squash, ½ of the ricotta mixture, another ¼ of the marinara and ½ of the mozzarella cheese. Then repeat for a second time finishing with the mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly on top! Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. *