This has been one of my favorite meals to come out of my kitchen this fall. It is warm and comforting like a lasagna always is but feels lighter.
I love the way spaghetti squash retains a certain amount of crisp even after it is cooked – twice in this case.
To help fussy kids along with this dinner, spoon a portion of the casserole into a bowl, cut it up very, very small so there are not any strands of spaghetti squash left, only small pieces, and then mix in some cooked whole wheat macaroni noodles. The kids will see the macaroni noodles and instantly feel alright about the rest of the bowl, trust me. Worked like a charm on my two.
Warm up some hearty bread or bake up some breadsticks using leftover pizza dough if you have it in your refrigerator, add a salad, and dinner is served! This recipe seems long and complicated (as most lasagnas do) but you can keep the parts moving and it all comes together fairly quickly. You will have a a sinkful of dishes to do but it’s worth it in the end. If you need a shortcut, use jarred spaghetti sauce.
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 15 oz container extra-firm tofu, drained
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste (I used about ½ tsp salt and 10 turns of a pepper grinder)
- 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 23 oz jar diced plum tomatoes
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt and 10 turns of a pepper grinder)
- First, roast your spaghetti squash. Preheat your oven to 375°. Cut the stem off the spaghetti squash and turn on that end onto a cutting board. Take your largest, sturdiest knife and slice it in half. Be careful! Spaghetti squashes are very difficult to cut. If you want, put the squash whole into the oven for about 20 minutes to soften and then proceed with cutting. Scoop out the seeds and strings, then rub olive oil over the squash flesh, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Put cut side down on a Silpat lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. After it cools a bit, use a forks to separate the spaghetti strands from the shell and spoon then into a bowl.
- While the squash is baking, begin making the tomato sauce. Dice the onion and sauté in a large saucepan with a little of your cooking oil of choice (I use ghee). After a few minutes, add in the garlic. Stir for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring it up to a low boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for at least 20 minutes, but you can leave it for as long as you wish. Tomato sauce just keeps getting better the longer you let it cook. Taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly. Homemade tomato sauce is much less sweet that conventional jarred spaghetti sauce, but don't be tempted to add too much sugar, just a bit helps bring out the flavors. After it has cooked for a while, blend with an immersion blender to make it smoother, but not a total puree, some texture is nice.
- For the tofu ricotta, add the tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to a food processor and process until smooth. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. Then pulse in the thawed spinach until it is incorporated, but so you can still see the flecks of spinach, we don't want a green puree here.
- In a large lasagna pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce. Add the spaghetti squash strands. Then, spread the tofu ricotta over the squash. Add the steamed broccoli florets. Then spoon the rest of the sauce over the casserole until it is all covered. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top, if you wish, and cover the pan with foil (I used homemade vegan Parmesan made with cashews and nutritional yeast).
- Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving, this way the casserole stays together much better.