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Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

27 February 2013

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake_heidikins cooks_Feb 2013

When J-Mo and I got married my sister-in-law gave me a cookbook binder of some of their family’s favorite recipes, one of them is called “Spaghetti Bake” and is basically a mixture of pizza and spaghetti. You cook the pasta noodles and then put them in a 9×13 and top with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pizza toppings (pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, etc). It is delicious as is, but I wondered if I could do the same thing with spaghetti squash, so I threw one in the oven to roast and started hunting for some delicious toppings. I came up with artichoke hearts, diced ham, tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet onion, garlic, olives, and goat cheese. This is, perhaps, one of my new favorite meals. (I still put pepperoni on J-Mo’s half because he LOVES pepperoni; I could go the rest of my life without pepperoni and be A-Okay.)

Now, this is not a quick meal if you’re making it start to finish when you get home from work. But, I have started roasting the squash and adding the toppings the day before, let the pan sit in the fridge overnight, and then toss it in the oven for 35-40 minutes for a delicious meal by 6:00 that reheats beautifully in the microwave. My freezer isn’t big enough to hold freezer meals, so I don’t know how this would turn out if you made it and froze it for later. Because it is just J-Mo and I at home I only used half of a spaghetti squash in an 8×8 pan, you could easily double this recipe in a 9×13 for your whole family or lots of leftovers.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

Pre-heat oven to 350*

1 spaghetti squash, roasted (see below)

Slice spaghetti squash in half the long way, scoop out the seeds. Place halves sliced-side down on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan, add about an inch of water and bake for 35-40 minutes. When the squash has cooled a bit drag a fork the length of one half of the squash and scoop the noodles into an 8×8 pan. (You can keep the other half of the noodles in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.)

Top spaghetti squash with:

3/4 – 1 cup of pizza sauce (the squash has a lot of liquid in it, so use a thicker tomato sauce instead of a regular spaghetti/pasta sauce)
1 cup of mozzarella (more if you like it extra cheesy)

Then add your favorite pizza toppings, I chose the following:

1 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts, chopped into quarters
About a cup of diced ham
Handful of sliced onion, green or yellow, caramelized or not
1-3 cloves garlic, diced or sliced, roasted or not
2 sections minced bell pepper (any color, I used red or yellow)
Big handful sliced olives
2-3 sliced mushrooms
Diced tomato
Goat cheese, don’t be stingy with the goat cheese
Oregano and ground black pepper

Either cover and let sit in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to bake, or put back in the oven immediately for 35-40 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and delicious and the top is getting a nice golden-brown color. I needed to add some salt to mine before I ate it, spaghetti squash is a big, fat, vegetable and needs a bit of savory goodness to bring out it’s best flavors. However, depending on what toppings you have your needed salt quotient will probably drastically change. So, taste it and add at the end instead of trying to salt it at the beginning, go overboard, and end up with artichoke-goat cheese brine.

I’m sure you could use any other pizza toppings you like: sausage, pepperoni, wilty spinach, ricotta, roasted zucchini, pineapple (if you can handle fruit on pizza), BBQ chicken, crumbled bacon, sun dried tomatoes, salami, gouda, gorgonzola, harvarti or another delicious cheese…the topping ideas are really endless!

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