These spaghetti squash lasagna boats only require 10 ingredients (including a homemade vegan mozzarella!), are naturally gluten free and is the best 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 our vegan mozzarella. Only use raw, unsalted cashews here!
- Tapioca flour – The magical ingredient that makes this vegan mozzarella 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
- Soak your cashews in hot, boiling water for 5-10 minutes. If you have a high speed blender, like the vitamix, you can skip soaking the cashews but in my personal experience, soaking the cashews helps take away the sweetness and makes them more neutral tasting.
- Add all of the cheese ingredients to the blender. Don’t skip any of the ingredients, they all are essential.
- Blend until completely smooth. There should be no gritty pieces of cashew, but remain in a milk like consistency.
- Pour into a small saucepan and whisk frequently until thickened and creamy! This only takes about 5 minutes, but you do want to be sure to whisk frequently so your cheese gets no lumps! If you love this cheese, I also use it in my Vegan Cheesy Garlic Bread (Pull Apart Bread!) recipe. It is the best!
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 mozzarella 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!
My Best Tips!
- 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
Did you try this recipe? Please leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and leave a review in the comment section! I always appreciate your feedback and I know other readers do, too!
Please also stay in touch with me on Pinterest or follow me on Instagram! Sign up for my email list as well to get vegan recipes and cooking tips sent straight to your inbox.
Vegan Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
- 1 (3 lb) spaghetti squash
- sea salt and black pepper - to taste
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil - for roasting (omit if oil free)
Lentil Marinara Sauce
- fresh parsley - chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and begin soaking the cashews in boiling hot water.
- Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds.
- Brush 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 is easily pierced with a fork.
- While the squash roasts, prepare the sauce. In a 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.
- Next add in the 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 has about 15 minutes left, begin preparing the vegan mozzarella. Add the soaked and drained cashews along with all other mozzarella ingredients to a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. This mixture should still be thin and watery.
- Add mozzarella mixture to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk frequently until mozzarella has thickened considerably and is stretchy. Remove from heat and set aside until squash is finished roasting.
- Once squash is easily pierced with a fork remove from oven and flip over so squash is face side up. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully begin scraping squash noodles from the sides of the squash until you have half of the noodles scraped from the side.
- Fill squash halves with the marinara sauce and then finally top with a layer of the mozzarella.
- Optional: Stick the lasagna boats under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the mozzarella cheese.
- Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
- 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.
- You can use any store-bought vegan cheese instead, but I like the texture and taste of the homemade mozzarella best!
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.