Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ricotta Spaghetti Squash Bake

There are a few things you should note about this recipe if you're watching your sodium intake like us. Most cheeses are off-limits on a heart diet, but a few are low in sodium like ricotta and fresh mozzarella - but you HAVE to buy fresh mozzarella and grate it yourself, rather than buying the pre-shredded bagged stuff, which is loaded with sodium (trust me, it's worth the extra time - the texture and flavor of freshly grated cheese is *completely* different)

The other thing is that if you decide to substitute another green for the kale, avoid spinach because it's naturally very high in sodium.

We ate this as a side dish with chicken breasts and steamed broccoli, but the next time I make this, I plan on turning it into an entree by cutting up the grilled chicken and stirring it in.

Ricotta Spaghetti Squash Bake
Serves 4-6
1 large spaghetti squash
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp thyme, divided
4 cloves garlic, 2 minced & 2 crushed with the flat of your knife
1 small onion, diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups loosely packed fresh kale
15 oz part-skim ricotta
1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the insides with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, and place one crushed garlic clove in each cavity. Season with ground pepper and 1/2 tsp of the thyme. Carefully turn halves face down on a rimmed baking tray, and roast for 30-45 minutes or until fork tender.

While squash is baking, add remaining olive oil to a skillet and saute onions until translucent. Add minced garlic and cherry tomatoes and saute for 3 minutes, then add kale and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until it begins to wilt. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Stir in ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella.

Once squash has finished cooking, leave the oven on at 400, and shred the insides of the squash with a fork. Scrape out of the skin and add to the ricotta mixture. Stir well, and pour into a greased baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

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