I made a gluten-free, low-carb casserole the other night that everyone loved. The best part? It really cleaned out the vegetable bins and my kids *still* loved it.
1 large spaghetti squash
1 large zucchini or two small
1 large eggplant or two or three small
2 large sweet red peppers
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
2 jars store-bought or homemade marinara sauce, any flavor
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded, or a mix of any cheeses
fresh oregano, marjoram, basil, thyme, parsley… whatever you have growing
The night before you want to make the casserole:
Heat the oven to 350. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Set the squash, cut side down, in any baking dish that will fit. Add just enough water to come up over the edges of the squash. Bake for an hour or until a knife slides easily into the side. Let cool enough to handle. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Then with a fork, scrape out the fibrous squash flesh into a container. Let cool and then put in the refrigerator overnight.
To make the casserole:
Take the squash out of the fridge and dump into a strainer. With your hands, squeeze handfuls of the squash to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Leave in the strainer to drain while you assemble the rest of the dish.
Now dice the eggplant, peppers and zucchini. Saute in batches in olive oil until reduced in volume and lightly browned. The goal here is to reduce the water in the vegetables and get them a little caramelized. As they cook, dump them into a large bowl together. Then in the same pan, break the sausage up with your fingers and fry until no longer pink. When the sausage is completely cooked, drain off as much of the grease as you can, and then add the sausage back to the pan. Add the garlic and fry for just a few minutes until the garlic starts to smell cooked, then dump all of the sauteed vegetables back into the pan. Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
Get out a large lasagna pan or a deep 9×13 baking dish. Heat the oven to 350. Spoon half a jar of marinara sauce into the bottom of the dish and spread it around to cover the bottom. Then spread half of the spaghetti squash over the marinara. Sprinkle with herbs, then cheese. Then spread another half-jar of marinara sauce over the cheese. On top of the marinara sauce spoon half of the sausage and vegetable mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat the layers once more, with plenty of cheese on top. If the layers reach near the top of the pan, make sure you put a rimmed baking sheet under the dish to save yourself the trouble of scrubbing the burnt marinara sauce off the bottom of the oven. Bake uncovered until the cheese is well-browned and the whole thing is bubbling, about an hour.