Ever wonder why people like lasagna so much?
It’s not just the favorite meal of a famous orange cartoon cat — this cheesy, hearty, comforting food warms the soul and satisfies the belly.
If you’re looking for ways to eat more plant-based meals but still want to enjoy this wholesome dish, you’re in luck!
Inspired by the Minimalist Baker (1), this light but filling lasagna bake is both gluten-free and vegan. A true crowd-pleaser, this simple recipe requires only 10 ingredients, ready to enjoy in under 2 hours!
Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Pasta is made from carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain if you eat too much. If part of your health goals involves losing weight or cutting out gluten, you can sub in spaghetti squash as a great way to cover all your bases.
A member of the gourd family, spaghetti squash grows all summer and is harvested in the fall. Rich in B vitamins that give you energy, Vitamin C to keep your immune system strong, and antioxidants to fight against cellular damage (2). This hearty vegetable is low in calories but high in nutrition, making it an excellent ingredient for a healthy lasagna.
The only negative thing experts have to say about spaghetti squash is the possibility of an allergic reaction.
2 large organic spaghetti squash, about 3-4 pounds each
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a little extra for the squash)
- 12 ounces extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed dry for about 10 minutes)
- 1/3 cup or 80 ml fresh lemon juice, or 2 lemons, juiced
- 3 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper (or season to taste)
- Vegan parmesan cheese
- 25 ounces of your favorite pasta or marinara sauce
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (or 204 C). Line a large baking sheet with foil.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully halve your spaghetti squash lengthwise. Pro tip: pierce the skin with the very tip of the knife before pushing it through to the other side. Gently rock the knife back and forth as you cut one half all the way through. Remove the knife and repeat on the other side.
- Scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon or ice cream scoop to get most of the stringy parts out. The interior should look smooth and clean.
- Brush the inside with olive oil, followed by a sprinkle of little salt and pepper. Place the cut-side down on the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when your knife easily pierces the skin.
- Remove from oven and let cool on the counter for a few minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees F (or 190 C).
- While the squash is cooling, add your tofu-filling ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. You’re looking for a semi-pureed mixture with bits of basil still intact.
- Check the flavor and adjust seasonings as needed — adding more salt and pepper, garlic, and nutritional yeast for cheesiness. Lemon juice helps brightens the dish up and add some zest.
- Once fully baked, remove and cool slightly. Fork out spaghetti squash so that it looks like fine strings and place it in a bowl. Set aside.
- Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish (you can adjust the dish size/number to match the number of servings) and lay down 1/3 of the squash strings. Top this first layer with several spoonfuls of tofu ricotta, then pour on a layer of marinara sauce. Repeat until all ricotta filling and marinara is used up (you should get about 3 layers). Cover the top layer in the sauce.
- Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F (or 190 C). After 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The sauce should start to bubble and the top will look golden brown.
Remove from oven once finished and let cool briefly. Serve with a generous helping of desired toppings!
Notes: This recipe doesn’t store well in the freezer, so any leftovers you may have can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tofu: Sprouted tofu can work well in this dish as it provides a similar consistency to ricotta cheese.
Lemon: If the juice from two lemons is too overpowering, consider starting with juice from one.
Sausage: If you’d like to add a “meaty” zing, add crumbled plant-based sausage in between the layers.
A few dishes that made an excellent companion to this main course include:
- Kumquat kale salad
- Garlic kale chickpea salad
- Fresh fruit salad
- Steamed asparagus with sea salt and plant-based butter
Don’t forget to enjoy with a glass of red wine or KaraMD Revive Reds (3)!
Back to You
If you’re on the path towards better health, you may be taking a hard look at your diet.
Some comfort foods are hard to pass up, but the good news is you don’t have to give up the lasagna experience to make healthier food choices.
By switching your pasta out for spaghetti squash and ricotta cheese for tofu, you can enjoy a delicious plant-based dish with loads of nutrition!
Know someone else who’s a lasagna fan? Share this recipe with them today!
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author