Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish

Lightened Up Lasagna


I have a confession. Well, actually I have two I suppose. The first is that I don’t own an 8×8 or 9×9 pan so hence why my lasagna looks like a pie (and sheet pan was way too big for this). Might need to change that… The second is that I haven’t made lasagna since moving to Boston. Crazy, right? After assembling and making Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, I realized I’ve been missing ricotta in my life. I made a homemade red sauce in the slow cooker (recipe here, minus the meatballs and plus a hearty amount of red pepper flakes) and cooked the spaghetti squash ahead of time. The key to keeping this a true lasagna is removing the excess water from the spaghetti squash. Then you can really pack the squash to make a thick layer  Then you can layer to your heart’s desire. This lasagna is lightened up with less cheese, chicken sausage and swapping noodles for spaghetti squash. Ignore the poorly plated end result because a) it was too dark to take a picture of the whole pan and b) the slice is an odd shape thanks to the pie pan, but I assure you that it’s truly fullllll of flavors.

Ingredients (serves 4).

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 c marinara sauce (homemade here in a slow cooker or sauce of choice)
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1/4 red pepper, diced
  • 2 links mild Italian chicken sausage (I used Brat Hans) or sausage of choice, thinly sliced into medallions and then quarter slices
  • 4 oz baby spinach (about half a 9 oz bag)
  • 1 c part skim ricotta
  • 4 T grated/shredded parmesan
  • Salt


  1. Cook spaghetti squash in microwave here  — or — preheat oven to 400°F, carefully slice spaghetti squash in half, brush with olive oil, season with salt/pepper and place cut-side down on a lined baking sheet; cook for 35-45 min and until tender.
  2. Regardless of method that spaghetti squash is cooked, preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Once spaghetti squash is cooled and cooked, scrape out one half into a clean dish towel or into layered paper towels lignin a colander; do the same with the other half. *Lightly* sprinkle with salt and let sit for 5-10 min. Remove from the colander and wring out all excess water using the dish towel. Set aside squash aside and keep halves separated.
  4. While spaghetti squash “sits,” heat oil in a large skillet or frying over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onion and pepper. Once tender and beginning to brown, toss in sausage and sauce until cooked hot throughout and beginning to brown. Fold in spinach by the handful (about 5-6 handful) until wilted. Remove from heat.
  5. In bottom of a pie pan or 9 x 9 pan, layer the following:
    1. Spoon 1/4 c marinara sauce until bottom of the pan is well coated.
    2. Using one half of the drained spaghetti squash, press into bottom of pan so it’s evenly distributed. It may help to use the back of a large spoon or fork, ensuring the squash reach the edges.
    3. Top with 1/2 c ricotta; it’s easiest to drop the ricotta by the spoonful and then spread the areas together with the back of the spoon.
    4. Add half of the sausage/spinach mixture so it’s well distributed over the ricotta.
    5. Top with 2 T parmesan cheese and then 1 c marinara. Again, using the back of a large spoon to help spread the sauce edge to edge.
    6. Repeat the layers, ending with 1/2 c marinara to top and HOLD the parmesan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 min at 400°F. In the last 5-8 min, top with remaining parmesan cheese and bake until browned.
  7. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Cut into fourths or sixths.
  8. Dish up and enjoy!

Adapted from Skinny Taste‘s “Spaghetti Squash Lasagna.”


2 thoughts on “Lightened Up Lasagna”

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