This is one of my favorite recipes to make I want something warm and comforting for dinner but I also feel like I should have something healthy. Spaghetti Squash Parmesan is the perfect compromise. It’s hearty and satisfying, in that classic marinara-and-melted cheese kind of way, but it’s also vegetable-based and healthy enough to feel like a virtuous choice. You know, virtuous with a side of Parmesan and mozzarella.
I roast the squash then mix the cooked squash with lots of marinara sauce, chopped fresh basil, and some Parmesan. Then I spoon it back into the squash shells and top it with thin slices of mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, and more Parmesan, for good measure. The squash go back go into the oven just until they’re heated through, the mozzarella melts, and the breadcrumbs are toasty and golden brown. And if that description hasn’t convinced you, I don’t know what will! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Trim the stem from each squash, then carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Brush the cavities of the squash lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the halves, cut sides down, on the prepared sheet pan, and roast for 35-40 minutes, until the squash is tender and flakes easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the panko, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and set aside.
Set the squash aside for 10 minutes, until slightly cooled. (Careful, it will still be hot!) Using a fork, scrape the squash to loosen it from the skin and transfer all the squash flesh to a colander, reserving the squash shells. Using your hands, firmly press the squash to drain any excess moisture. Transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl, and add the marinara sauce, ½ cup of the Parmesan, the basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix thoroughly, then divide the mixture between the reserved squash shells.
Top each squash half with a quarter of the mozzarella slices, followed by a quarter of the panko mixture and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bread crumbs are browned and the squash is heated through. Sprinkle each squash with basil and serve hot!
I do recipe testing and social media for Ina and love to cook for my friends on the weekend. Ina has given me lots of tips for easy cooking and entertaining, and I'm excited to share them with you here!