Butternut Squash Lasagna
Hello, friends! Yesterday, I invited my friend Kelly over for dinner and a swim. Kelly is an amazing swimmer, so I wanted to bribe her into giving me regular lessons in exchange for amazing, tasty, healthy food: enter butternut squash lasagne. This recipe is very close to a recipe from Inspiralized which you can find here. You need either a spiralizer or a mandolin to be able to make this dish, because you need to get the squash very thin to make a nice noodle substitute.
Butternut squash is one of my favourite things to spiralize. I find the noodles substantial, but light simultaneously. This recipe amps things up with sausage, baby kale or spinach, caramelized onions and cheese. It has a lot of steps. It isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. If you like to cook, this is a dish worth making. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, you probably don’t want to bother.
I closely followed Ali’s recipe at Inspiralized with a few small changes, so I really want to sing her praises and not pretend that this one is my doing. But MAN, is it tasty! Okay! Let’s do this!
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 8 leaves of sage
- 3-4 Italian (or other) sausages removed from casing
- One medium sweet onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups baby kale, or 4 cups baby spinach, or a mix of both
- 1.5 cups light ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup mozzarella, grated
To begin, heat your olive oil on medium heat, when it thins out, add your sage leaves and toast until crispy (4-5 minutes). Remove sage from heat and place on a paper towel. Set aside.
Next, remove sausage from casing, (I usually just do this directly into the pan). Both times I’ve made this dish I used amazing organic spicy maple sausages I found at my local butcher, but Italian sausages would likely be a good choice too! The ones I used were pretty large, so I used 3. Brown the sausages, continually breaking them up as they cook.
While your sausages are browning, thinly slice your onion, or dice it, if you prefer. Set aside, and chop or press your garlic. When your meat is finished browning, remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind most of the grease. I like to put the meat into a bowl lined with paper towel, so it loses some more of the grease.
Transfer the onions and garlic to the pan, and fry them in the remaining sausage oil, maintaing medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Cook until onions start to brown, then add your baby kale or spinach. This time around, I did a combo of both. Put a lid on the pan, and let the greens wilt, then stir them in with the onions and spices. Return the sausage to the pan, combine with vegetables, and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, add the light ricotta, mozarella and egg to a bowl. Add a little salt and pepper to taste, combine and set aside.
Next, remove the bulbous end of a butternut squash, and put aside for another use, and peel the long neck end. I ended up choosing a larger squash than I needed, but I tend to think it’s better to have too much than not enough! If you use a mandolin, just go ahead and slice up your squash. If you use a spiralizer, slice down the middle of the squash, stopping when you reach the middle. This means that when you spiralize your squash, it will make nice round pieces, rather than you having to go back and trim one long continuous piece.
Next, spray your casserole dish with cooking oil, and layer it, with squash on the bottom, then the ricotta mix, then the vegetable and sausage mix. Repeat until the cheese and veggie mixes are done. I ended up having more cheese than veggie mix, but that was fine. I made an extra layer just with cheese near the top. I finished it with another layer of squash on top, then topped that with mozzarella. Finally, I broke up the crispy sage and sprinkled it on top of the lasagna.
Cover and bake lasagna for 45 minutes at 425, remove from oven, take off lid or tinfoil, return to the oven then broil on high for 3-5 minutes, watching carefully to ensure it only browns and doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Is it simple? No. But, it’s exceptional, and your guests will be wildly impressed while not needing a nap directly afterward. At only 350kcal a serving, this lasagna is hard to pass up!
I hope you enjoy it!
(per serving, when making six servings)