Un(Carb)Loading with Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Now that I’ve officially given up on marathon training, it’s probably time for me to give up one of its few perks: carb loading. I know, I know. That’s the best part! But that’s how the deal goes.
But maybe the deal doesn’t have to be such a bad one…
Would you believe me if I told you that the dish you’re
looking at drooling over is vegetarian, low-carb, and has less than 300 calories per giant serving?
“But HOW?!” you ask. “Look at all the CHEESE!” Here’s your answer:
Spaghetti squash. I’ve collected a number of creative recipes using this pasta impersonator, and I’m looking forward to trying them out in coming weeks.
This particular recipe is actually a twist on the “Original Lasagna” I shared a little while back. I’ve replaced the lasagna noodles with spaghetti squash, and used scrambled tofu in place of the turkey. For the sake of full-transparency, I’ll go ahead and tell you that I thought that something was a little off about this dish. Not something that would prevent me from trying it again, I just think it needs tweaking. For me, something about it was too one-dimensional– I think it was the texture more than the flavor. These are my thoughts for next time:
- Use less spaghetti squash. I felt like the spaghetti squash overwhelmed the other ingredients, both flavor-wise and texturally.
- Use ground turkey instead of tofu. While no longer vegetarian, I think this would add the dimension that was missing for me.
- Bake it in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. This barely fit in the baking dish I used, and the thickness made it soupy and impossible to serve as a cohesive slice.
Ironically, it was my pasta-lovin’ husband that argued that he liked it just the way it is. In fact, he sent me a message about how much he was enjoying the leftovers for lunch. So I will let you be the judge.
Cheesy Tofu, Spinach & Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
A Messy Kitchen Original
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 15 oz package extra firm tofu
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or 1 tsp each dried basil, parsley, and oregano)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 2 cups fat-free ricotta
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 1/4 cup high quality parmesan-reggiano
- salt and pepper, to taste
To roast the spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoot out the seeds and fibers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place upside down on a greased baking sheet. Cook for about an hour, or until skin gives under pressure and the inside is tender. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a fork, scrape out all of the flesh, a little at a time. It will come out in spaghetti like strands. Put it into a strainer to remove excess moisture.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Sauté onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Meanwhile drain the tofu and press firmly between paper towel to remove excess water. You don’t have to press as thoroughly as you would if cooking in cubes. Add tofu to pan and cook an additional 7-9 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and all seasonings and simmer 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, and nutmeg.
- To assemble: Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9X9 pan. Evenly spread 1/2 the spaghetti squash on the bottom of the pan. Spread layers in the following order: ricotta mixture, tofu mixture, mozzarella, ricotta mixture; repeat, reserving a small amount of the tofu and mozzarella for the top. Finish off with the remainder of the spaghetti squash, reserved tofu and mozzarella. Sprinkle parmesan-reggiano.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.