Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin

Cooking lulls me into complacency; it makes me focus only on what I'm doing, which is great as I'm notorious for over analyzing. Unfortunately this means there are problematic cooking time warps where "suddenly" it is 12:30 am, I have to be up by 7 am, and my adapted version Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin is still cooking.

I suspect part of the issue may be that I confuse simple vs. quick recipes. This gratin is really simple to put together but there are numerous steps and longer cooking times, so it takes a few hours and is not quick.

It isn't pretty but this dish is worth the time as long as you can handle the slightly stringy texture of spaghetti squash. It is creamy, warm and filling yet still healthy! I found myself eating portions for breakfast all week as it reminded me of a crustless quiche for some reason. I loved that Kalyn added Swiss Chard as I always mean to eat it but haven't acquired a taste for it.

Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Spaghetti Squash Gratin at Daily Unadventures in Cooking.)

1 large spaghetti squash (mine was 2.5 lbs)
1 T + 1 T olive oil
2 tsp. Rosemary Garlic Rub, or any all purpose seasoning that's good on vegetables
2 tsp. garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt
1 large onion, diced small
1/2 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional but good)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 T minced garlic (or less)
12-16 oz. chopped chard leaves (about 5-6 cups chopped chard, you could also use other greens like spinach, collards, or kale. The cooking times might be longer for some greens.)
2 T finely chopped fresh chives or sliced green onion
1/2 cup low fat sour cream (don't use fat free)
1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt
3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese curds (put the cottage cheese in a fine strainer and rinse with cold water to get the cheese curds)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese plus about 1/4 cup more for topping the gratin
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash if needed, then cut off the stem and blossom end, stand squash upright, and using a large chef's knife, carefully cut in half lengthwise. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out seeds and the slimy material that surrounds them, and discard. Rub cut sides of squash with about 1/2 T olive oil for each half, then sprinkle each with 1 tsp. Garlic Powder and a bit of salt. Spray the roasting pan with non-stick spray, Put squash on baking sheet and pour 1/4 cup water around bottom of squash. Roast squash about 45-50 minutes, or until it separates easy into strands when pulled with a fork. Let squash cool for a few minutes, then shred into spaghetti-like strands.

While squash cooks, wash chard leaves if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towel. In two batches, stack up chard leaves on top of each other and slice into thin ribbons, then turn the cutting the board the other way and slice again into small pieces. Chop onion.

Heat 1 T olive oil in heavy frying pan, add chopped onions, season with Italian seasoning and black pepper, and saute until onion is softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more, then add chopped chard all at once. Cook chard about 1-2 minutes, turning a few times. until it's wilted to about half the size it was. (The chard shouldn't be completely cooked, since it will cook more in the gratin.) Turn off heat.

Put 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese in a fine strainer and rinse with cold water until only the cheese curds remain, then let drain. Spray a glass or crockery gratin dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Using a large fork, gently mix the chopped chives or green onion and shredded spaghetti squash into the onion/chard mixture. Combine the greek yogurt, drained cottage cheese curds, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg and mix into the chard/spaghetti squash mixture. Then put the combined ingredients into the gratin dish, and press down so it's evenly distributed in the dish. Sprinkle top with about 1/4 cup more Parmesan cheese.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and cheese is browned on top. Serve hot.


  1. So glad you enjoyed Kalyn's version! }

    When I made mine I roasted teh spaghetti squash ahead of time because as you say it takes a long time otherwise!

  2. That's a really good idea! I should have read your original recipe too.

  3. This does seem like a good alternative to quiche. I can't stand quiche...too eggy and oily for me.

  4. I've decided I'm gonna give this recipe a whirl this weekend. Yours looks so good. And I love dishes that are hearty and healthy at the same time. I'll let you know how it goes!!

  5. Mine is cooking right now :)