bakey cheesy spaghetti squash casserole
The top ten most popular recipes on this here blog of mine are as follows:
- One Minute Peanut Butter Cake (this guy has 740% more views than #2)
- Penne Rosa with Shrimp
- 90 Second Nutella Chocolate Cake
- Baked Homemade Pizza Rolls
- No-Bake Butterfinger and Pretzel Cheesecake
- Baked Coconut Chicken Strips
- German Chocolate Filled Cupcakes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples
- Mama’s Meatloaf
- Bakey Cheesy Pasta
I cringe a little linking to that last post because it was one of my very first recipes on the blog. At that point, I didn’t even know what my blog was going to be when it grew up (actually, I still don’t). The writing is heinous, the recipe is unclear and the photos suck (I should really just rework the dang thing), but the actual dish? It rocks. It’s one of our favorites and is a frequent star of our weekly menus.
As much as I love Bakey Cheesy Pasta, the healthiness of it was always a bit questionable. Sure it’s got whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies and a real-food base, but it was definitely never meant to be considered light. It’s a true pasta dish. You know that food baby feeling after eating pasta? Yeah, Bakey Cheesy Pasta is an excellent source of food baby.
In the past year or so, I’ve really be trying to up the amount of lightened up recipes in my repertoire, and that includes reworking some of my old heavy classics. This past week, I finally decide to take on Bakey Cheesy Pasta. And the result was a decadent, vegetarian, cheesy, gooey casserole that is light on the calories but not on flavor or comfort. The main swap was simple—in place of a whole box of pasta I subbed in perfectly roasted spaghetti squash. The swap was barely noticeable to the taste buds, but the nutritional information changed dramatically. Over the original recipe, you’ll save about 230 calories and 40g carbs per serving. What a difference a squash makes! Bonus: because the base is made from spaghetti squash instead of pasta, you get a hefty dose of vitamin A and vitamin C.
The only small issue was a texture difference. This version is a bit more thin than its pasta-y counterpart. The pasta soaks up all the sauce in the original, but since this one is pasta-less, there is no soaking. I just made sure to cook out as much water as possible from the veggies and let the casserole rest before serving and everything was a-okay. We also served it with a few slices of garlic toast to soak up the small amount of sauce leftover. Yum.
I’m not sure this entirely replaces Bakey Cheesy Pasta. After all, I think there is something nice about a food baby every now and again (just me?). But this will definitely be put in heavy rotation.
Bakey Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over cut sides of squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash, cut side down, onto a roasting pan and roast in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until squash flesh is tender. Set aside to cool.
- After squash is baked, reduce oven temperature to 350°.
- Heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add in garlic, onion and green pepper and cook until very soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add mushroom slices. Season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released most of their water, about 10 minutes.
- Using a fork, scrape flesh of squash out from shell and add to mushroom mixture in saucepan. Cook for 3-4 minutes more or until mixture looks dry.
- Remove from heat, stir in pasta sauce until everything is well-coated. Mix two cheeses together. Spoon half of the spaghetti squash mixture into a 9 x 9 baking dish or 1 quart casserole dish. Top with half of the cheese mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti squash mixture and remaining cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.