Spaghetti Squash Bake


Spaghetti Squash still amazes me every time I take a fork to its flesh and get lots of lovely noodles springing free! It's one of my favorite go-to meals because it's almost fool proof and it is fun to eat. Before now, I hadn't really experimented with new ways to cook spaghetti squash. This recipe is a casserole-type bake that takes the squash noodles to the next level and adds a crispy topping!



It's a multi-step recipe because you have to roast the squash first, and then assemble and bake the casserole. But, it's definitely worth it for both the health and taste factors of this dish! In addition to the spaghetti squash, which is super good for you, I also added lots of other nutrient-packed ingredients to the casserole. You can thank me later!



Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half long ways and seeds scooped out
1/2 small eggplant, thinly sliced
5 Tbsp olive oil, separated
salt
pepper
3/4 jar pasta sauce
2-3 Tbsp vegan cream cheese
5-6 baby bella mushrooms, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small yellow, diced
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
fresh basil, optional garnish

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Place eggplant slices on another baking sheet and brush with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Put both baking sheets in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the eggplant and let cool to the touch before chopping into bite sized pieces. After 45 minutes, remove the spaghetti squash and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and cook onion, green pepper, and garlic, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes until mushrooms are softened and reduced in size. Add cooked eggplant, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, stir to combine, and reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, add pasta sauce and cream cheese and heat over low, whisking occasionally to combine. Let simmer while vegetables are cooking.

Once spaghetti squash is cooled, use a fork to scrape the squash "noodles" from the external peel. Transfer squash noodles to a large bowl and mix with vegetables, sauce, and a pinch of salt. Pour squash mixture into a 8x8" pan and top evenly with bread crumbs and nutritional yeast. Drizzle the top lightly with the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and place in the hot oven for 15 minutes. Place under the broiler for an additional five minutes until the top with golden and crispy. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with fresh basil if desired.

Serves 4

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