Baked Spaghetti Squash with Marinara and Chicken Sausage
Yields: about 6 servings Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
A veggie filled dinner, this bake uses spaghetti squash as the “noodle” base and is filled with flavor from warm Italian spices and has many nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene and iron.
1 spaghetti squash (larger size will just give you more squash to fill, but there isn’t too big of a difference of squash size for the recipe)
2 cups marinara sauce
12 ounces chicken sausage, diced (I used cooked, anti-biotic free, minimally processed sun-dried tomato seasoned)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for coating squash prior to baking
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese mix, plus 1/4 cup for topping
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese mix, plus 1/4 cup for topping
*Any other vegetables you or your family may enjoy in the bake.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Follow directions to Simple Baked Spaghetti Squash or simply cut spaghetti squash in half, season with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake face down on a parchment paper lined baking tray for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
3. While the spaghetti squash is cooking (or near the end of the cook time), slice chicken sausage *(and any other desired veggies such as green pepper, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, zucchini) and sauté in a pan with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic. Cook until browned. Set aside.
4. When squash is cooked, turn over and using a fork (and possibly an oven mitt to hold squash), pull back the “spaghetti” strands. Place them in a bowl until both squash halves are empty.
5. To the spaghetti squash, add marinara sauce, cooked chicken sausage mixture, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, oregano, basil, salt, 1 cup shredded cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
6. Scoop the mixture evenly into the two halves of the spaghetti squash. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of each cheese mix.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy! (We love it with crusty garlic bread!)
Squash season is upon on! Have I mentioned how we love spaghetti squash? It’s so simple to bake, and as mentioned in the Simple Baked Spaghetti Squash recipe, we love it with olive oil (or butter) a little salt and cheese. I, of course, enjoy lots of raw garlic and fresh basil, whereas the kids appreciate a little less of a kick.
If you have a family of four or more, I’d definitely try to seek out a larger spaghetti squash. Some are incredibly tiny, and I could probably consume one of the smaller ones all by myself!
Also, I mentioned above about adding other vegetables. This is really easy (and delicious) way to bulk up the recipe. My kids just don’t care for green or red peppers, but they would be an excellent addition. Pretty much any veggie that’s compatible with marinara is a candidate here.
This is a really easy recipe to whip up on a weeknight. The most time consuming part of this dish is the baking of the spaghetti squash, which if you know you’re making this, you can just cut it and get it in the oven an hour before you want to eat.
And aside from actually how good this tastes, the nutrition load in here is tremendous. Vegetables galore and even the “noodles” are a vegetable – or fruit – OK, squash. My kids need some extra energy, so good crusty bread (with garlic and olive oil of course) is always an accompanying side.