This past weekend I picked the last of the spaghetti squash from the garden. We have eaten a few already and they are wonderful, but I felt the need to come up with another way to prepare them. We have had them with marinara sauce and eaten it like regular spaghetti, also pesto sauce and chicken. When I was in the mountains with my mom I made a spaghetti squash and cheese casserole.
That casserole was similar to a mac and cheese and tasted pretty darn good. The problem was that it got watery the next day. So I did some brainstorming and this recipe is what I came up with. It is similar to mac and cheese. Instead of using a roux though, I used ricotta cheese. I also used cheddar cheese and my favorite topping of panko crumbs.
The flavor and texture also reminds me of the standard hashbrown casserole. The one that is at every potluck meal, many Thanksgiving tables, church gatherings etc. This casserole has the onions and mushrooms and is creamy thanks to the ricotta. The advantage is that there is no processed canned soup and less fat as a result. And of course spaghetti squash is much more nutritious than packaged shredded potatoes.
This is a crowd pleaser, even among kids. Now it may involve a little sweet talking, but the kids will like it. Our oldest is our pickiest eater and he claimed he didn’t like it. He of course already picked out the mushrooms, he can’t tolerate them. Then after whining he asked “what’s this” pointing at the cheese topping. I told him it was cheddar cheese, one of his favorites. He said “I thought it was squash”, took a bite and declared the dish as “awesome”! He gobbled it up! Those preconceived dislikes get in the way sometimes, it’s all in his head! What you have here is a healthier casserole you can feel good feeding your family and friends.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1 large spaghetti squash (or 2 small)
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt & pepper
Small onion, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs. butter
1 c. part skim ricotta cheese
1 1/4 c. (5 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tbs. butter, melted
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut edges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay them cut side down on the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, closer to 35 minutes if using small squash. It is done when a fork easily penetrates through the skin.
Once the squash is out of the oven melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes until the onions are slightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Shred the spaghetti squash with a fork and add to the cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top. Combine the melted butter and panko, sprinkle on top. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Yields 6-8 servings
This sounds delicious!
Thanks! It was quite tasty.
Oooh yum, I love the look of this! And I’m glad your eldest ate it in the end – he’d have been missing a treat if he didn’t 😉
He is the one afraid to try new things, luckily telling him about the cheese got him to eat!
Gorgeous and healthy. I can’t wait to try it for a party, particularly with the crispy bread crumbs and luscious ricotta. You know I’m a sucker for squash. 🙂
It was quite wonderful. Hubby suggested making a few and freezing them for later! Our fall squash has been planted so expect more squash recipes later…assuming we managed to get rid of all the squash bugs trying to eat my plants!
Squash bugs killed our garden this year. 😦
We had the squash bugs kill our garden last year. This year we lucked out!
With cheese I am sure it will b delightful
Cheese makes everything better! Thanks for stopping by.
Wooo, looks delicious, love lots of cheese!!
Cheese is great! Luckily this isn’t too cheesy and heavy, just right to be sinful but not wickedly sinful!
what a smart recipe! I’m all over spaghetti sauce topped with marinara, but you’ve taken things a step further here. Love it 🙂
Topped with marinara was my usual method of preparation. Then pesto sauce and chicken. I finally decided to branch out more, especially once we had about a dozen spaghetti squash from the garden!
My husband and I like spaghetti squash. Thank for a new recipe that sounds great.
We love spaghetti squash as well. It’s always nice to try out another way of preparing a vegetable. Thanks for stopping by.
Gretchen I will take some please!!! Make’s me hungry 🙂 Love it!!
I’ll send some now!!
Looks delish…..am gonna start munching my screen now….yummmmm
Thanks! It was quite delish and even still good a couple days later.
Wow looks very tasty but there is a problem I my part of the world we don’t have squash anything else in can use instead?
Hmmm, no spaghetti squash. Shredded potatoes would work but would require longer baking probably. Noodles might also work. The flavor won’t be the same but it would probably still be yummy.
I have got to make this! I have a spaghetti squash I’ve been needing to use. Honestly, you had me when you said it reminds you of hashbrown casserole, which is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine (even when I try to reduce the calories and fat in it).
There is something about that hash brown casserole! It is a guilty pleasure that I love! You could even put crushed cornflakes on this to make it even more like that casserole!
Oooh, my daughter-in-law’s father just gave me a spaghetti squash from his allotment yesterday and I was wondering what to do with it! This looks wonderful!
Always fun the get produce from friends and family. Enjoy!
This is a totally new twist that I would love to try. Thank you for giving me a new angle. Have a great week!