Monday, October 24, 2011

Spaghetti Squash & Greens Gratin - Comfort Food 101

Hold on a second, don't leave just yet!  I know it sounds freaking weird a little odd but this Spaghetti Squash and Greens Gratin is fantastic!  It's comfort food without the guilt:  spaghetti squash, kale, mushrooms, cheese....well ok, some people might associate cheese with guilt but not me and definitely not here.  

Cottage cheese, greek yogurt and parmesan cheese provide the gratin component of this dish and add a creamy, salty richness that I really enjoyed.  Feel free to use reduced-fat cheese and yogurt here, I did, and don't think it made any difference in flavor at all.  The greens refer to hearty, dark green leafy vegetables.  I used kale but feel free to use what you have or what you like best:  collard greens or swiss chard would be great too.

I really do recommend you try this recipe, especially if you've been considering trying spaghetti squash for the first time or if you're getting tired of spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and meatballs.  Preparing the squash is really easy:  just slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and stringy innards, place each half cut-side down in a glass baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom and cover the dish with plastic wrap.  Then microwave the covered squash on high for 10-12 minutes or until a fork pierces through the skin easily.  Once cooked, use a fork and scrape out the spaghetti-like strands into a bowl.  At this point you can use the squash in this recipe, or just top it with tomato sauce and meatballs, as a substitute for pasta.

We enjoyed this dish with Rosemary & Thyme Buttermilk Chicken for dinner, alongside a simple green salad.  The next day, I microwaved the leftover gratin with some black beans for a filling and satisfying lunch.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash and Greens Gratin
serves 4-6
adapted from Natural Noshing

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg OR 1 egg-substitute (I used 1 tablespoon flax meal stirred into 3 tablespoons water, let it stand for a few minutes until it thickens a bit)
3 green onions, chopped, white and green parts used
6 small mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
3/4 cup reduced-fat (2%) cottage cheese
scant 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
small pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare spaghetti squash:  Microwave squash (as described above) in a shallow baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water, covered with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes, until a fork pierces the skin easily.  Conversely, you could roast the squash halves in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour.  Gently scrape spaghetti-squash strands into a large bowl using a fork.

While the squash is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute 3-5 minutes, until tender.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute 1 more minute.  Then add kale and saute, stirring, until just slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes. 

Add the contents of the skillet (the kale-onion mixture) to the large bowl with the spaghetti squash.  Add in the green onion, egg (or egg replacement), Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, scant 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper as desired. 

Pour mixture into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or into individual ramekins.  Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top.  

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until bubbling and golden brown:  about 25-30 minutes for small dishes, 30-40 for a larger dish.  Serve warm.


  1. Jules! What were you thinking? Spaghetti Squash and Kale?? Have you gone completely off the deep end? Help, someone call 911!! Where's the New York Strip Steak, green beans and potatoes? Maybe you should make an appointment with Heidi for an evaluation or maybe you just need your mother to come down and sit with you until you come to your senses.... I had you going there didn't I? Actually, it looks somewhat interesting; but, just in case, I'm wondering if I should make an appointment with a Gastroenterologist before I give this a try. Couldn't you just make it with potatoes and leave out the Kale...? Disclaimer! Please ignore any comments in the sentences above they were all in jest!

  2. Dad, you'd love it, it's cheesy AND delicious! And it would go GREAT with strip steak!

  3. She took me off the deep end with her!!! In truth, this was a different but delicious assortment of tastes. I'm really coming around to Julia's theory of EAT MORE VEGETABLES!


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