These vegan spaghetti squash lasagna boats only require 10 ingredients, including making homemade melty vegan cheese or tofu mozzarella. They’re naturally gluten free, can be made nut free and are a great, lighter weeknight dinner option!
Why This Recipe Works
- Spaghetti squashes are one of the best options when you want the feel and taste of a pasta dinner without the pasta!
- Store-bought vegan cheeses are really convenient to quickly sprinkle on top of dishes, but they are generally expensive, not realistic taste-wise, do not melt and can be hard to find! This recipe uses a homemade vegan mozzarella that is more realistic in texture, melts and even browns!
- Although this spaghetti squash lasagna boat doesn’t contain any meat or mock meats, we’re keeping the protein content high with red lentils!
What You’ll Need
- Spaghetti squash – replacing the traditional pasta for a lighter, healthier option! I like to use the spaghetti squash as a bowl but you can also scrape the squash noodles into a bowl as well.
- Marinara sauce – I really love using the brand Rao’s. I find the best price for it at Costco, but I’ve seen it in most grocers. Any marinara sauce will do – even homemade!
- Red lentils – The protein source in this recipe! They cook really quickly and provide a nice texture in our sauce.
- Shallots – I like to use shallots as opposed to onion here as it provides the same flavor without the volume. I don’t like to write recipes that call for a ¼ of an onion because then you have ¾ of an onion laying around.
- Cashews – The healthy fat source in my melty vegan cheese. Only use raw, unsalted cashews here!
- Tapioca flour – The magical ingredient that makes this vegan cheese stringy! Do not skip it – it is essential here!
Step by Step Instructions
Making this recipe may seem intimidating with the homemade cheese and all, but it is really quite easy.
There are three components to this recipe – roasting the squash, preparing the marinara sauce, and preparing the cheese.
While the squash roasts, we will prepare the sauce and cheese and it all comes together in about an hour! Trust me – it’s easy peasy!
- Cut your spaghetti squash in half long ways. This can be difficult so be sure to use a very, very sharp knife. If necessary, you can microwave your squash for a couple of minutes to soften it slightly to help make this easier.
- Scoop the seeds out of the squash! I like to use a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop to do this but any spoon will do!
- Drizzle the squash with a little oil (optional) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The salt will help draw out any additional moisture while roasting and prevent our squash from getting soggy.
- Place facedown on a lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the squash.
While the squash roasts, we will prepare the sauce and cheese!
Red Lentil Marinara Sauce
- Saute the shallots, garlic and basil until soft and fragrant! I generally do this in a teaspoon or so of oil, but if you are avoiding oil, a splash of water or broth does the trick, too.
- Stir in the marinara sauce. Use your favorite brand or even homemade!
- Stir in the water and red lentils. You can skip the lentils if you do not have them, but I love the addition of extra protein and nutrition.
- Allow sauce to simmer on low for 30 minutes or until the squash is ready! The red lentils should be very soft at this point, but may still appear whole.
Homemade Vegan Mozzarella
Once we have our three components prepared, we’re ready to build our lasagna boats!
Scrape the spaghetti squash carefully with a fork to begin pulling away the squash noodles. I usually only scrape out about half the noodles, then fill with the marinara and finally top with the cheese.
If desired, you can scrape all of the noodles from the sides and then top – your preference.
Finally, and an optional step – stick the squash topped with melty vegan cheese under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese. This is really an aesthetic thing and not necessary.
If you do choose to broil, watch carefully as it browns very quickly!
FAQ and Expert Tips
Roasting the squash as opposed to cooking it in an instant pot or even in a microwave helps prevent it from getting soggy and watery. Additionally, sprinkling the squash with salt before roasting will allow the salt to absorb any additional water that may be released while roasting.
Spaghetti squash is quite unique and no other squash will have the stringy, noodle texture. You could try substituting in another similar sized squash, but it will not be the same.
Yes. If I was going to use a store bought vegan cheese, I would use the Violife Mature Cheddar Block. It melts better than pre-shredded cheese and is better flavor than most I’ve tried.
Yes, you may just need to cook your squash for longer, but it should work just fine!
- Wait to prepare the mozzarella until the squash only has 15 minutes left to roast. It is easiest to spread overtop the squash when it is very fresh and hot.
- Serve this squash boat with a side dish or side salad! Since we swapped out the pasta for squash, this recipe is naturally lower in calories and you may need additional calories to build a full meal.
- Top your squash with fresh parsley! It is the perfect fresh topping that pulls this dish together.
More Vegan Dinner Ideas You Might Like
Vegan Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
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- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Prepare the spaghetti squash. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Brush the insides with oil, if desired and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place spaghetti squash halves face down on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until squash skin is easily pierced with a fork.
- While the squash roasts, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet or pan (with a lid) over medium heat, sauté the shallots and garlic in a tablespoon of oil or splash of water if oil free until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in the dried basil and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add in the red lentils, water and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and then add the lid and lower the heat. Allow sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom of pan.
- Once the squash is baked, and slightly cooled enough to handle safely, scrape the spaghetti strands away from the walls of the squash to create the "noodles". Top the noodles with the marinara sauce and a layer of the melty vegan cheese. If desired, stick the lasagna boats under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese.
- Serve immediately while hot with fresh parsley, if desired.
- Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.
- The nutrition facts are written as if 1 squash half was 1 serving.
- You can omit the lentils from the marinara, but I like the added protein and nutrition.
- Homemade nut free mozzarella cheese: Tofu Mozzarella (no nuts, no oil).
- You can use any store-bought vegan cheese instead, but I like the texture and taste of the homemade mozzarella best!
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.