Spaghetti squash—it's the great pasta impostor and, luckily for me, it hit the Internet with a bang just around the time I was diagnosed with celiac disease. But it's not just a revolutionary vegetable for gluten-free eaters like me—carb-conscious folks and calorie counters alike love to swap this slimmer spaghetti for pasta. There's a mere 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrate per cup of cooked squash compared to 221 calories and 43 grams of carbs per cup of cooked pasta.
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After going gluten-free, I started using spaghetti squash in place of gluten-filled pasta in cheesy pasta bakes, spaghetti and meatballs and even Asian-style peanut noodles. But the most genius way I've ever used spaghetti squash is in lasagna—but not just any lasagna. This spaghetti squash lasagna is made right in the squash shell for an easy and fun presentation that requires little cleanup.
If you've never cooked with spaghetti squash before, these shopping and cooking tips will help you get perfect results every time.
At the store: Look for a 2 1/2- to 3-pound squash free from soft spots. The yellower the skin, the yellower the flesh, but there's no difference in flavor. Once you've found the perfect one, head to the kitchen.
In the kitchen: Tackling a spaghetti squash can be intimidating. Here's how to avoid nicking yourself: Cut the squash in half lengthwise by first poking the tip of a large chef's knife into the center. Place a folded kitchen towel across the top of the knife blade to protect your hand (see how to do it). Push the knife all the way through, turn the squash 180 degrees and repeat. Scoop out the seeds before cooking.
Get your squash roasting while you sauté the garlicky broccolini filling. Once both are ready, a few simple strokes of a fork shred the tender squash into stringy lasagna-ready vegetable noodles. Combine the spaghetti with the broccolini and some cheese right inside the squash shells, place it back in the oven to get that cheese melty and bubbly, then dig in. (Warning: Mouth cheese burns will ruin your week, so let it cool down a touch!)