I discovered spaghetti squash about 6 years ago when my mom served it as a bed for her delicious meaty pasta sauce – I love the slight sweetness it brings to a dish and the long spaghetti-like strands fascinate me. Since my initial encounter, I’ve made spaghetti squash numerous times, incorporating it in a veggie-packed lunch tossed with my arugula and spinach pesto, sauteed chicken and mushrooms or a hearty dinner with my turkey meatballs and spinach sauce and of course more parmesan cheese 🙂
For a sweeter dish, you can bake it with a little butter, honey and ground cinnamon, much like acorn or butternut squash for a delicious side or a light ending to a meal.
A couple weeks back, I was getting a little tired of my usual spaghetti squash recipes and needed to use up a gorgeous, fresh bunch of red chard in the fridge. After flipping through a few cookbooks for inspiration, I googled chard and spaghetti squash and ran across two recipes for a bubbly and cheesy gratin from Kevin at Closet Cooking and Kalyn’s Kitchen. That was all the convincing I needed…off the kitchen I went!
I made a few substitutions to lighten it up and add a little texture — Instead of sour cream, I subbed plain Greek yogurt for creaminess, decreased the parmesan slightly (feel free to add more if you’d like), added a a bit of cayenne and chopped mushrooms and topped it off with sliced almonds for crunch. I divided up the gratin into one 8×8 pan and the rest in two individual gratin dishes, it was delicious and I loved the leftovers! You can serve this vegetable-packed dish as a vegetarian main meal or as a side dish.
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 bunch hearty greens (I used red chard but kale or collards work well too), de-stemmed and roughly
1 onion (I used a medium white), diced
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten (or two egg whites)
3 green onions, chopped
5-7 mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (sour cream could be used if preferred for a richer version)
3/4 cup cottage cheese (I used 1 %)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided (romano works too)
small pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds
1. Microwave squash in a shallow dish with about 1/2 inch of water, cover with plastic wrap, and cook on high for 11 minutes (quick method) OR roast spaghetti squash halves in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 1 hour. If using microwave, preheat oven to 400F.
2. Using a large spoon, scoop the strands out of the squash halves.
3. While the squash is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
4. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and mushrooms, then saute until fragrant, about a minute.
6. Add the chard and saute until it has just wilted, (just a few minutes, it will cook more in the oven).
7. Mix the cooked squash, chard-onion mixture, green onions, egg, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl and pour it into a lightly greased gratin or casserole dish or in smaller individual gratin dishes.
8. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp parmesan and sliced almonds.
9. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until it is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 30-40 minutes for larger baking dish, 28-30 minutes for smaller dishes. Serve warm and enjoy!