Everyone has their “go to” recipes they make either when they know they’ll be short on time or just in the mood for something specific. Well, this Spaghetti Squash Gratin recipe I got a few years ago from Once Upon A Chef (I highly recommend subscribing to her newsletter!) quickly became one of my favorite “go to” recipes when I am feeling the need for comfort food but like to eat well (FYI Spaghetti Squash is a low cal, low carb alternative to pasta). It does take some time to prep but the good news is it can be done in steps and ahead of time.
Please note I did tweak the recipe slightly by adding ground turkey to make it more of a well rounded and “one pot” meal. Feel free to leave out the ground turkey of course if you want it to be vegetarian or served as a side. I usually serve it with a side of roasted broccoli (So maybe not truly a “one pot” meal but you get the drift).
- 2 small or 1 large spaghetti squash (4-1/2 – 5 pounds) *
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 jar of marinara sauce (try Rao’s or Prego Traditional)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend (such as Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan)
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
* Select spaghetti squash that feel heavy for their size
1. First, I stab the spaghetti squash a bunch of times all around and then put it in the microwave for 6-8 minutes (depending on how big it is). If you’re using 2 small ones, just repeat with each. While it’s microwaving, I preheat the oven to 425.
2. When it’s done, I let it cool for a few minutes so that I can comfortably cut it open in half, lengthwise. I scoop out the dark yellow flesh in the middle with the seeds (it may help to run the knife along the outer edge of the fleshy part first) and then roast the squash in the oven for 20 minutes (you can put it either directly onto the oven rack or on a baking sheet).
3. Once its out of the oven, I let it cool for a few minutes again and then take a fork and scrap it back and forth across the squash lengthwise to get all the strands of the squash out. Then, I either put the strands in a container in the fridge for later or I put the strands into the 9 x 13 baking dish.
4. To make the ground turkey, just cook it in a pan until its browned. No need for Pam or olive oil first. Then drain the fat and either put the ground turkey in a container in the fridge for later or put it into the glass baking dish with the strands (it doesn’t matter if it goes on top of the spaghetti strands because everything gets mixed together).
Note that Steps 1-4 can be done at anytime during the day or even the night before.
5. Gently toss the ground turkey and spaghetti squash strands together with the sauce, olive oil, thyme, and salt.
7. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly on top. Then, in a small microwave bowl, melt the butter. After its melted, mix it with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle it evenly on top.
8. Bake it in the oven for 25-35, or until top is golden brown (If you use a Convect oven as I sometimes do, cook it for approximately 15-20 minutes and check it). Can serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
This is how it looks after. Yes mine is a little burnt. That’s what happens when you have to go take care of something with a kid for a minute. It still tasted yummy! 🙂 Below my picture is a picture of the one from the adapted recipe. 😊