When I worked as managing editor of iRun Magazine many moons ago, I remember one of the bright spots in my in-box were the recipe submissions from contributing chef Dwayne Botchar. Although we never met – and lived in different cities – Dwayne’s emails always had an easy-going, positive tone – and with all of his culinary experience, I was always intrigued to see what new concoction he would cook up with next.
One of my favourite recipes – that I typed out, printed and cook till this day – is Dwayne’s Spaghetti Squash Casserole. At the time, I was new to cooking with squash – and it expanded my kitchen repertoire just a little. This recipe is a personal fave because it’s easy to make, healthy and has an interesting presentation – using the hollowed-out-shells of the squash.
Recently, I made it for our girls and they both *loved* it. Vegetarians can substitute ground beef for lentils, making it versatile for any audience.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe…thanks again to Dwayne for granting me permission to share it!
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved, baked and scraped into a bowl
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 lb. of lean ground beef or meat alternative (lentils are great)
- ½ bunch of fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
- ¼ c. fresh, grated Romano
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
1) To bake spaghetti squash, simply cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and centre wool, then place the halves on a deep baking sheet with some water in the bottom (this will steam the squash and speed up the cooking process slightly). Bake it for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the skin depresses when you push into it. Cool and scrape out the spaghetti squash (it should come out in spaghetti-style strands). Set aside the skin shells for later use.
2) Preheat a large skillet or pot. Pour in the oil and when it starts to ripple, add in ground beef. When the beef is almost cooked, add in the onions, garlic and peppers.
3) Once the beef is completely cooked, add in the tomatoes, spaghetti squash and fresh herbs. Season to taste.
4) Scoop the cooked mixture back into the squash skins. Sprinkle the cheeses on to the two halves. Bake at 425 F, or until the cheese has melted and browned lightly.
Cooking Tip: If you are using the meat alternative, cook the veggies first, then add in the lentils near the end to simply heat it up. And don’t forget – better to slightly undercook your vegetables; they will cook more when you bake the casserole.
Makes 4 – 6 portions.