The "Cheesiest" Spaghetti Squash Boats Recipe to Stave Off Winter Chills
This is a recipe your veganand non-vegan friends can get behind. If you don't tell them it's animal-free, they probably would never be able to tell the difference. These spaghetti squash boats have a lot going for them: a vegetable base that eats like pasta, cheesy flavor surrounded by creamy vegan béchamel sauce, and the most satisfying warmth of a casserole.
Then, there's the versatility. You can add spinach, peas, or fresh herbs. It's a winning situation all around. You can feel really good about serving these at a formal dinner or for casual weeknight meals in front of the TV.
Recipe Notes: This recipe makes quite a bit of vegan béchamel cheese sauce base. Use what you need and save the rest to use as a sauce for pasta, broccoli, and/or cauliflower bake, or add stock and more veggies for a yummy soup.
- 2 small to medium spaghetti squashes, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out
- 1/2 cup vegan butter/margarine, such as Earth Balance brand
- 1/2 cup sliced shallot
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups all-natural cashew milk, such as Malk brand
- 4 ounces vegan smoked provolone, such as Violife brand, diced
- 4 ounces vegan shredded mozzarella, such as Daiya brand
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 ounces vegan fresh mozzarella (the ball form), such as Miyoko’s brand
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs, optional
- crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Place the squash cut side down on the sheet tray; roast in the oven for about 1 hour (squash is finished when the inner flesh is tender and easily scrapes away from sides with a fork).
While the squash roasts, prepare the vegan cheese sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the shallots in the butter/margarine with a pinch of salt for about 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the flour, stir until incorporated, and continue to stir for about 3 minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the flour.
Switch to a whisk; slowly incorporate the cashew milk into the mixture by pouring little by little, whisking simultaneously and vigorously. This ensures a lump-free sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low once milk is incorporated.
Whisk in the smoked provolone and the shredded mozzarella. It might be easier to switch back to a wooden spoon or spatula to incorporate the cheese. Add the salt to the sauce and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Remove from heat.
Carefully turn the squash halves over. Using a fork, scrape the flesh away from the sides to create the “spaghetti” strands, making sure to leave about 1/8-inch border of squash flesh. Remove strands to a medium stainless steel bowl. Keep the squash shells on the same sheet tray.
Start by mixing about half of the cheese sauce mixture into the removed strands of squash. Depending on how large the squash are, the amount needed will vary. Once squash strands are sufficiently sauced, refill the squash shells and dot the tops with the fresh mozzarella, about 1 tablespoon of panko bread crumbs per squash half if using, and a light sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
Place squash back into the oven for about 1 hour. Switch oven to a high broil; brown the tops for about 3-5 minutes, keeping a close eye to ensure they don’t burn.
Remove from oven and then carefully transfer to a plate or serving platter. Serve hot (but be careful!).
(Recipe via Ashley Bare/Brit + Co; styling via Alonna Morrison/Brit+Co; photos via Brittany Griffin/Brit + Co)