Serves: About 4-6
Prep Time: 20-minutes; Cook Time: 45 mintues
Total Time: 1 hour and 5-minutes
Get ready to 'wow' your dinner crowd with this fun & fiber-rich spin on a comforting pasta dish. Create a meaty sauce texture using lentils to coat the hydrating "noodles" of spaghetti squash for a well-balanced entree that's bound to keep you satisfied & craving more.
Recipe Tags: #Gluten-free, #Dairy-free option, #Vegetarian, #Heart Healthy, #Low-sodium
Recipe Developed by: Shannon Costello, RDN, LDN
- 2 small spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon iodized salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon iodized salt, divided
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup grated carrot
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning (or 1 tsp each dried basil, oregano, thyme & ½ Tbsp dried parsley)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dry red cooking wine (optional)
- 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (28 ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (dairy-free, as needed)
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves
- (Optional) Grated Parmesan cheese
- (Optional) Crushed red pepper flakes
Have a taste for beef or pork-based Bolognese?
Reduce the quantity of lentils to ½ cup & broth to 1 cup. Add in ½ pound of ground beef or pork after adding red wine. Allow to mostly brown for several minutes before adding lentils, broth, & tomato sauce.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully slice each spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds & ribbing. Drizzle the inside of each half with about ½ tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Place each half cut side down on a large rimmed baking dish (or 2 medium dishes). Use a fork to poke 4 sets of holes into each halve. Add about ¼ to ½ cup of water to the bottom of the dish(es). Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until flesh is fork-tender but still slightly firm (this will bake again, so the flesh should not be too mushy otherwise it will get too watery). The “spaghetti” strings should start to easily remove from the skin when forked. Once cooked to desired tenderness, flip the halves over to face cut-side up. Allow to cool slightly before using a fork to fluff the “spaghetti” strings away from the shell.
- While spaghetti squash is baking, make the sauce. Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil. Add onions, bell pepper, carrot, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and blac pepper. Saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Add cooking wine to the center of the pan. Stir and allow liquid to mostly reduce (which allows alcohol to evaporate), about 1 minute.
- Add lentils and remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir and let toast for about 1 minute. Then, add broth and tomato sauce. Stir all ingredients until lentils are submerged in liquid. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer sauce for 10-15 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
- Transfer “spaghetti” strands and sauce into a large mixing bowl. Gently stir until spaghetti squash is fully coated. Transfer mixture back into each spaghetti squash shell equally. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese and (optional) Parmesan cheese on top of each halve. Garnish with fresh basil pieces. Bake in the oven again for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Allow to slightly cool before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days
(mixture may get “soupy” the longer it stays in the refrigerator).