My Pantry-Challenge, Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe
For the second day of the 2023 Pantry Challenge, I worked on a stuffed spaghetti squash recipe.
After grinding up a bunch of homegrown pork Italian sausage last week, I was itching to use some of it in a new way. (You can find that recipe here) However, the pantry challenge requires some constraints on how I can cook this month.
The pantry challenge, for those unfamiliar, is a month (or 2) of cooking and eating only food that you already have in your own pantry. No grocery shopping for the entire month. That means no “quick trips” for a single missing ingredient. No extravagant meals with long lists of fresh ingredients.
The rules of the challenge are basically guaranteeing a lot of kitchen creativity this month. Fine by me!
Yesterday afternoon, as I was poking around the kitchen cabinets and freezer, I realized that we still have a handful of spaghetti squash leftover from our last garden harvest. Geez! Luckily, a few months in the back of the pantry wasn’t too much for these hardy winter squash.
More looking around yielded our last pint of home-canned diced tomatoes, some cans of store-bought diced tomatoes, frozen goat cheese, and, of course, the homemade Italian sausage. It felt like everything was coming together.
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Process:
To make this stuffed spaghetti squash recipe, I started by splitting the spaghetti squash in half, length-wise. Since 2 were pretty small, I ended up using 3 squash total. After scooping out the seeds, I put the squash in the oven to roast. (I was in the middle of baking some bread at 400*F, so I just roasted these at the same time and temperature)
Meanwhile, I browned the sausage in a tall pot. Then blended the tomatoes; a simple, DIY substitute for tomato sauce. After taste-testing, it seemed to be lacking “something”. So I added a bit of tomato paste for an extra kick. Then I stirred in some of our homemade goat cheese. (I made it back in August, and it was just waiting in our freezer for such an occasion)
Around the time that this sausage-sauce-concoction was really coming together on the stove, the squash were done roasting in the oven.
So I mixed the spaghetti squash strings into the sauce, then carefully ladled the whole delicious mess back into the squash skins.
Topped with more cheese.
Honestly, this thrown-together stuffed spaghetti squash recipe exceeded my expectations. I felt like I was making too many substitutions, or that it would be too thin. Instead, I think that it was a home run. Especially when we think about just how many of the ingredients were homegrown. AND no trip to the grocery store? Win-win. As a matter of fact, I think this stuffed spaghetti squash is going to join my regular rotation of dinner recipes: even when the pantry challenge is in the rear view mirror. Yes, I’m that excited about it.
I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, and feel free to follow my lead- substitute, swap, and experiment. You might just discover your family’s new favorite dinner!
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe
- Roasting pan
- Cutting board
- Blender, food processor, or immersion blender See notes
- Knife, spatula, large spoon
- 2-4 Spaghetti Squash
- 2 lbs Ground Italian Sausage
- 2 pints Diced tomatoes (or sauce- see note)
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste, approx
- 1/2 Onion
- 8 oz Goat cheese, feta, mozzarella, etc.
- Parmesan or shredded cheese for topping
- Start by preheating the oven to 400* F
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and pulp
- Once the oven is preheated, arrange the spaghetti squash, cut down, in the roasting pan. Cook for 40 minutes - 1 hour: depending on size of squash.
- While the squash cooks, dice the onion. Brown the Italian sausage in the pot, over high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
- Blend the diced tomatoes in your blender until smooth. If using tomato sauce instead, omit this step.
- Add the blended tomatoes (or tomato sauce) and tomato paste to the sausage-onion mixture. Cook over medium heat until everything is hot and bubbly.
- Add the goat cheese, mozz,, etc. to the tomato-sausage mixture. Stir thoroughly as the cheese melts. Cover the pot and turn down to a gentle simmer until the squash is done baking.
- Once the squash is cooked, scrape the flesh out. Keep the skins whole and arrange them on the baking tray again, cut side-up, like bowls. Leave the oven on.
- Add the strings/flesh from the spaghetti squash to the sausage mixture. Stir thoroughly.
- Use a large spoon to fill each of the spaghetti squash to the top with the sausage mixture. You will likely have extra filling.
- Top the spaghetti squash with Parmesan cheese, shredded cheese, or bread crumbs.
- Bake the filled squash at 400*F for 30-45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and has browned on top.