Who said a casserole has to be mushy and bad for you?
It occurred to me that I’ve never made a casserole. Yes, yes, I’ve made things that technically fall under the category of “casserole,” like lasagna or moussaka or cassoulet. But, all of those things are distinctly their own and, mind you, take a long time to make. When I think of a casserole I think of busy parents sticking something in the oven that’s quick, easy, and feeds a lot of people.
Okay, so you caught me here. Spaghetti squash is never quick. The squash on its own takes 30 minutes in the oven. However, the squash can be cooked ahead of time and it’s nearly 100% “hands off,” meaning you can wrangle spouses, children and pets while it’s cooking. Or if you have a quiet house, you can sip a glass of wine and get everything else all ready to put this sucker together.
The thing I like most about this recipe is that if you have some good, heavily seasoned sausage, you don’t need any other spices. The flavor of the sausage fills up the whole dish so well you practically forget it’s mostly vegetables.
- 1 large spaghetti squash halved and seeded
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound sausage pulled out of the casings
- 1 can diced tomatoes drained
- 1 can white beans drained
- 6 oz mozzarella shredded
- 2 tablespoons butter separated
- 2 cups spinach chopped
Preheat the oven to 375. On a foil-lined pan, place the spaghetti squash face down and bake for 30 minutes. Then flip and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Pull out of the oven and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1/2 T of the butter in it. Add the onion and a little salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Then, add the sausage pulled out of the casings and sauté until cooked through and starting to brown, or about 10 minutes.
In a 9x13 baking dish, separate the spaghetti squash with a fork and put in the bottom of the dish. Add the meat mixture, the tomatoes and the beans. Cut the remaining butter into pats and put over the casserole. Top with the fresh chopped spinach and then add the mozzarella. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve immediately.