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Sunday, 9 November 2014

And I Shall Eat Strands of Gold

Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
It seems that I can't get enough of spaghetti squash this season. If it is not for its ever so slightly sweet taste, its texture is what makes this vegetable really unique. My favourite part is actually the scraping of the flesh that magically turns into golden strands leaving me almost always in awe at the intricacies of nature. After all, I have quite recently discovered this vegetable since my arrival in Canada. Strangely, I do not recall seeing spaghetti squash in Ireland nor the UK even though I am almost sure they must have been there; I guess I have never paid any attention to this vegetable before. I am glad that curiosity has had the better of me into luring me to try it out; oh the nice dishes I would have missed otherwise!

After my previous sweet recipe with this versatile winter squash, here is yet another of my favourite way of eating spaghetti squash - in gratin. Infact, it is Boyfriendlovlie's favourite way of eating it too; he believes it's the perfect combination of taste and texture for this squash. While most of the time I make a plain gratin with only the squash, I very often like to enjoy a gratin as a complete meal in itself accompanied by a green salad. So, in this version, I have added potatoes, spinach and mushroom to make it into a main dish. The recipe below is a rather large portion that generously feeds six hungry people. I find that this gratin makes a perfect packed lunch for work the next day plus another dinner. I haven't tried freezing it but I am sure it would keep well in the freezer too if you to preserve it for longer or else just halve the recipe (but do allow a little more than half of the sauce). You can watch the video. The full recipe is below with extracted images from the video (I didn't get a chance to photograph the steps and by the time the gratin was finished it was already to late for me to photograph it separately; I was hungry!).

Spaghetti Squash Gratin (6 generous portions or 8 side dishes)

1 spaghetti squash
1 kg (35 oz.) floury (baking) potatoes
8 - 10 white mushrooms
200 - 250 g (7 - 9 oz. or 7 - 8 cups, packed) spinach
1 red chili
1/2 + 1/4 cup coconut milk
A few sprigs of herbs: thyme and dill (or other)

Bechamel sauce:
1 1/2 litre (6 cups) homemade oat milk (adjust proportion to 2 cups quick oats + 6 cups water. Use gluten-free oats for gluten-free version, or other non-dairy milk)
2 tablespoons flour (use 1 tablespoon cornstarch for gluten-free version. Add 2 more tablespoons flour [or 1 more tablespoon cornstarch] if not using homemade oat milk)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Breadcrumbs for topping

  • Preheat the oven at 180° Celsius or 350° Fahrenheit.

Prepare the spaghetti squash for baking:

  • First, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with the help of a spoon.
  • Place the squash on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper, with the inside of the squash facing down.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.

Prepare the potatoes for baking:

  • Start preparing the potatoes. Peel and cut them into slices of about 1/2 cm thickness.
  • Grease a rectangular baking dish (this is the same dish we are going to use for the gratin).
  • Place a layer of the potato slices on the bottom. Pour 1/2 cup of coconut milk on the potatoes then top with the rest.
  • Pour another 1/4 cup of coconut milk on the second layer of potatoes.
  • Cover the dish with aluminium foil (this is important for the potatoes to cook).
  • Place this in the oven to bake together with the spaghetti squash. The potatoes should be ready in about 30 minutes. (So, both the squash and potatoes should be ready at the end of 45 minutes)

Continue to prepare the other vegetables:

  • Slice the mushrooms. Deseed the chili, then finely chop it. Set these aside.
  • Place the spinach in a skillet and cook until slightly wilted.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe

Now make the sauce:
  • Pour the oat milk in a saucepan. Add the flour, then nutritional yeast. Stir and mix well. Add a couple sprigs of thyme. Add the lemon juice.
  • Turn on the heat on medium and heat for about 12 minutes. The sauce would have thicken and should not be too runny. Add salt. Turn off heat and set aside.
After 45 minutes, the squash and potatoes should be ready. 
  • Remove them from the oven and test if they are done with a fork. If they are soft, they are cooked.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash with a fork and scoop out the strands.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe

Now we are ready to assemble the gratin dish:
  • We are going to proceed in alternating layers of vegetables and sauce. We will need four layers of sauce, so estimate 4 parts when adding the sauce.
  • Pour a layer of sauce on the potatoes followed by a layer of spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Next, sprinkle the chilies evenly, then add some chopped dill.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Drizzle another layer of the sauce on the squash then add the spinach.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Add the mushrooms then drizzle some more sauce on top.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Next add a final layer of spaghetti squash followed by a layer of the remaining sauce.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
  • Bake for another 30 minutes. 
  • After 30 minutes, leave the gratin to cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe

Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe

By the way, check out the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.


  1. I've only had spaghetti squash as spaghetti and no-meat balls. As a gratin, it looks awesome! especially as a main course instead of a side dish. This would be perfect for Thanksgiving! :-)

    1. I find that spaghetti squash works really well in a gratin. I think I've made this gratin 3 times already!

  2. What a brilliant way to use the spaghetti squash - your gratin looks wonderfully hearty and comfort food! I adore gratin and French cuisine, it's such a beautiful dish with tons of creaminess and layers of deliciousness! I've only had spaghetti squash as pasta and didn't like it and love my pasta too much (haha). Well done with the cooking video, thank you for spending the time to create a helpful cooking tutorial!

    1. Rika, I also don't quite like spaghetti squash as a replacement for pasta. It lacks the satisfying-factor! But I really love it in this gratin. Sometimes I make it plain, without the potato base and it is still really yummy.

  3. LOVE spaghetti squash. this casserole looks great!

    1. Thank you! It has been one of my favourite dishes throughout Fall. :)


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