What’s the difference between a casserole and a lasagna? Lasagna is a type of casserole (one-dish baked meal) but not all casseroles are lasagnas. People tend to think of lasagna as pasta and cheese layered with a tomatoey meat sauce, but pasta substitutes have been around for quite a while in this context. Don’t want pasta? Then layer in sliced zucchini! Or spinach! Or palmini noodles! Or… we can get creative.
My mother-in-law makes this delicious spaghetti squash lasagna. I debated calling this a casserole instead because #allthereasons but it really checks all the lasagna boxes. Except for the pasta, of course!
She adapted the recipe from her niece-in-law, and I adapted it from that. I did ask both of them if I could blog my version, and have their permission/blessing. So here goes.
Quick aside… do you enjoy reading? If you are here for the recipe — thank you! — you might not know I’m an author of Christian romance. There are a couple of recent books linked on the sidebar, or pop up to the header and click on the Books tab to find out more.
Okay, back to the recipe. As with many lasagna recipes, you prep up the meat sauce and the cheese combo first and then layer them in baking dishes. So the recipe will be in several parts.
One more aside. Sorry. Any links you might click may be affiliate links. This means I may get a small commission on any sales through your click, but your price at the other end isn’t affected.
Ready? Let’s get cooking.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Serves 12-15 (two 9×13 pans or one 9×13 and two 6x9s)
• 1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked
There are many ways to cook a spaghetti squash: oven, air fryer, microwave, and more. I cut mine in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, cover each half with plastic wrap, and microwave one half at a time for about 7-8 minutes, or until the shell is soft and the strands easily scrape out with a fork.
Place all the strands in a bowl and set aside.
Meat Sauce Layer
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1/2 pound ground pork (or Italian sausage)
• 1 red pepper, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped onion, or about one medium
• 2 cups sliced mushrooms
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• 2 quarts pasta sauce or 4 pints homemade roasted tomato sauce
• 1 can tomato paste*
• 1 tsp oregano*
• 1 tbsp basil*
*Why are the tomato paste and herbs optional? Well, I added them because I used four pints of home-canned roasted tomato sauce that was only seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper. If you are using regular pasta sauce, it will likely already have those seasonings in it.
Also, pasta sauce is generally thicker than tomato sauce. My sauce was a little runny, so the tomato paste helped thicken it up. So, if you’re using pasta sauce, it will probably be thick enough without the tomato paste, so use your discretion! I don’t think you can go really wrong either way.
Scramble the meat in a large, heavy pot on medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, pepper, and seasonings. When the meat is cooked through, add the remaining ingredients.
Cottage Cheese Layer
• 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
• 2 cups (500ML or 16 ounce container) 1-2% cottage cheese
• 1 tbsp dry parsley
• 1/2 cup powdered parmesan
• 3 eggs
Thaw the spinach and squeeze out the excess moisture. You can probably use fresh spinach — just chop it up finely. I can’t see why it would make a significant difference. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar or a combination
Truth? I didn’t measure the shredded cheese. I just spread it out until it looked even.
You thought I’d never get here, I’m sure. Set out two 9×13 pans or one 9×13 and two half-size foil pans if you want to freeze some for later, which I did.
My mother-in-law takes these frozen foil pans camping, especially in the shoulder seasons when she doesn’t mind the oven in their travel trailer heating up the space. So, when I’ve had her version, it’s usually been camping. I realize not everyone camps that way, but if you do, here’s an idea for you!
Okay, layer away:
• 1/3 of the meat sauce
• All of the cottage cheese
• 1/3 of the meat sauce
• All of the spaghetti squash
• 1/3 of the meat sauce
• Shredded cheese
Bake at 350º for 60 minutes, or freeze and reheat later.
Cook from frozen at 400º for 90 minutes.
I’ve written more than 45 Christian contemporary romance stories and am a two-time USA Today bestselling author. If you enjoy stories with engaging characters, strong communities, deep faith, and great food, would you please check out my novels? They’re available in Kindle (and in Kindle Unlimited if that’s your jam), in paperback, and some are in audio.
While many of my stories have farm-and-food themes, only one contains a specifically a Trim Healthy Mama journey, and that one’s entitled Raindrops on Radishes.
Please Note: I am not an authorized Trim Healthy Mama coach or blogger, although I play one in fiction…