Anyway, we had classmates in other groups taste our food and rank their favorite combos each week. (Many of us agreed to be tasters for multiple groups and we basically had to be rolled out of class because we ate so much.) For the last week, we compiled everyone's rankings and made a dish with the most popular filling, sauce, and noodle. Our final lasagna had a pesto sauce, butternut squash filling, and the no-boil noodle. I also had frozen lasagna filling up my freezer for weeks after taking home leftovers. In conclusion, nutrition school is fun.
To my knowledge, there was also a type of "noodle" that we never used for our experiment: spaghetti squash. Being the lasagna expert, I decided to create this in my own home. I hope that you try this, because it's incredibly easy and makes a lot of food!
P.S. The shot above is a pre-oven photo. My post-oven pic didn't turn out well!
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 24-oz jar pasta sauce (preferably no added sugar- Classico Roasted Garlic is one of my favorite store-bought jarred pasta sauces) OR homemade pasta sauce*
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon (plus extra for greasing baking dish) of olive oil or coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Line baking sheet with foil. Brush insides of squash with oil. Place halves face-down onto baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool.
- Decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Grease 9x13-inch baking dish. Take first half of spaghetti squash and, using a fork, scrape lengthwise across squash to make "spaghetti" strands. Let the strands fall into the baking dish and evenly line the bottom of the dish with the squash. Use the whole half. This is your bottom layer, just like the pasta of the lasagna.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup ricotta cheese and 1 cup baby spinach. Add salt and pepper. Mix well and carefully spread evenly over spaghetti squash with spoon.
- Evenly spread half of the pasta sauce on top of the spinach-cheese mixture.
- Add second half of squash on top of the sauce. Spread evenly and then repeat steps 4 and 5.
- Sprinkle cheese on top of the sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until top is slightly browned.
*If you can't find a good store-bought sauce (which means no added sugar, soybean oil, canola oil, excessive sodium, or a long ingredients list that you can't pronounce), you can easily whisk one together at home. All you need is 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 6-oz can of tomato paste, 1/2 red onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (chopped) or 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 handful of fresh spinach, and any spices or herbs that you like (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, chili powder, etc). Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and saute onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. You can simmer for longer to get the flavors to meld together better. That's it!