I don’t personally like cheese, but I do have a cheese-loving family. This recipe was inspired by something a friend makes that my youngest daughter loves. I reinvented it to accommodate our food sensitivities. While the original version and my version are both “spaghetti squash baked with cheese,” my version has no eggs, and uses feta (goat’s milk cheese) plus a nondairy cheddar (what I cleverly call “chedda”) substitute instead of ricotta.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Olive oil spray
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (Tip: I usually can’t use a full bunch of fresh parsley, so I wash and freeze whatever is left. The taste is like fresh, and it works well in recipes like this. I actually just crumble the frozen leaves within the bag and pour it out – much easier than chopping!)
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled – or buy it pre-crumbled (Warning: Read labels! Feta is supposed to be made from sheep or goat milk, but most of the brands at our various markets are made with cow’s milk. Some of the stores I shop in don’t even sell true feta cheese.)
- 4 ounces dairy-free cheddar-style “cheese” (I use Daiya), either pre-shredded, or dice or shred it yourself. (Note: If cow’s milk isn’t a problem for you, use real cheddar cheese!)
- Cook the spaghetti squash. I find it easiest to microwave, but you can also bake it in the oven.
- Wash and dry the squash. Using a sharp, narrow knife, stab holes all over the squash – I probably do at least 10 stabs. (It’s kind of fun – but do be careful that you hold the squash steady; slips can be dangerous.)
- Wrap it in wax paper, and put into the microwave to cook. The total cook time is about 15 minutes (depending on your microwave and the size of your squash), but cook for multiple short periods of time – about 4 minutes — with a bit of a rest in between so that the squash doesn’t explode (which has happened to me even though I’ve poked holes). The squash is done when it’s soft-to-mushy when you press on it. Touch carefully so you don’t burn yourself!
Let the squash cool down.Note: Because it takes a while for the squash to be cool enough to handle, I usually cook this dish over multiple days – cook the squash one day while I’m doing something else, and then prepare the actual dish a day or two later.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray a glass dish (8”x8” or 9”x13”) with cooking spray, or lightly wipe with oil. If you like it crispier, use a larger dish so there is more surface area to be crisped.
- Cut in half, remove seeds and then use a fork to shred the squash flesh into the baking dish
- Warm a small sauté pan to medium. Once hot, add olive oil, swirl to coat, and then add onions and scallions. Sauté until onions are translucent, about five minutes. Add to the squash.
- Chop parsley, and add that to the squash.
- Add feta and cheddar or cheddar substitute.
- Mix it all together to evenly distribute all ingredients. I find this easiest to do using two forks, which makes it easier to separate the squash threads.
- Bake about 20 minutes, until the squash gets nicely browned on top and the “cheddar” gets nicely melty. (Note: If you want to speed up the prep, you could forgo the baking, and simply mix all ingredients together and then microwave to melt the cheese. You won’t have the crispiness on the top, but it will still taste good. And it’s how you’ll rewarm it for leftovers…if you have any leftovers.)