Summer Squash or Zucchini Family Favorite
Are you looking for a recipe to use all that summer squash or zucchini from the garden that your family will ask you to make again and again? Here it is! I have made this twice in the last week to rave reviews. It tastes like sausage pizza but with healthy spiralized squash noodles (“zoodles”) instead of the bread. I wanted to call it “lasagna” but you can’t cut it into squares like lasagna, and there’s no ricotta layer. The broth is so tasty that my family has been eating it in bowls so they can sip the last of the luscious juicy goodness. (scroll down for recipe)
Spiralize the Squash
There are lots of different spiralizers to buy, but I used the attachment I bought for my Kitchenaid mixer. The kit comes with three different sizes of noodle cutters, and I used the medium size. I put the zoodles into the microwave on high for 5 minutes before building the casserole, hoping to lose some of the water from the squash. The squash softened a little, but the liquid didn’t release until I baked it for 30-45 minutes in the oven.
The First Try
I started with marinara sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish and layered the zoodles with mild Italian sausage and ground beef, grated mozzarella, and sauce. I ran out of the marinara sauce so I topped it with a jar of Alfredo sauce. YUM! The marinara sauce bubbled to the top, so you couldn’t tell that there were two different sauces, but the flavor was so rich!
By Special Request
The first casserole was gone before I even had a second helping! My family said “make that one again!” Back to the store for more mild Italian sausage and ground beef — and here we go again!
Yesterday I had bags of yellow squash and only one green zucchini. The yellow squash spiralized just as nicely as the zucchini did. The zoodles lose volume as they cook down, so don’t be afraid to fill up a mixing bowl with squash noodles and pack them into the casserole.
This time I mixed the sauce with the browned meats, and cut the mozzarella into thin slices (instead of grating), layering them in a large shallow baking dish. Anything to save some time and clean-up!
I used up the meat and marinara sauce, topping the last layer of squash with Alfredo sauce and grated parmesan cheese. Into the oven for 45 minutes at 325 degrees, let it cool, and reheated at supper time at 300 degree. The next day we microwaved individual portions, and I think it tasted even better the second day! The broth in the bottom of the pan had congealed too, so if you don’t want that tasty juice, just get the meat and the zoodles.
Try Growing Your Own Summer Squash or Zuccini
Summer squash, including zucchini and yellow squash, are so easy to grow! You don’t need very many plants to feed a family all summer. I planted one zucchini, one yellow squash, and one crook-neck yellow squash this year. We try to pick them every other day so they stay small. When they grow to be 6-8 inches long, it’s time to make zoodles! This year it has been fun to share the garden duties with our grandchildren too!
More Ways to Use All That Yellow Squash or Zucchini
Italian Sausage Bake with Summer Squash
- large mixing bowl to hold zoodles
- heavy skillet or pot
- shallow oblong baking dish or casserole dish
- paring knife
- slotted spoon
- grater or knife
- cutting board
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 3 cloves chopped or minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 6-8 medium size zucchini or summer squash
- 1 25 oz jar marinara sauce I use Trader Joe's Bolognese sauce
- 1 15 oz jar alfredo sauce I use Classico Alfredo sauce
- 1/3 lb mozzarella cheese
- Brown the Italian sausage meat and ground beef in heavy skillet or pot, using spatula to break up the meats into small pieces.
- Add the garlic and Italian seasoning to the meats.
- Add the marinara sauce to the meats.
- Wash and trim the squash.
- Cut squash into sizes that will fit your spiralizer. (or if you do not have a spiralizer, slice into 1/4 inch rounds) Spiralize the squash into "zoodles" until there is enough to fill a medium-large size mixing bowl.
Assembling the Casserole
- Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with half of the meat sauce, then place half of the zoodles on top.
- Grate the mozzarella, or cut into thin slices, and place on top of the zoodles.
- Use the rest of the meat sauce to cover the zoodles and the cheese.
- Put the rest of the zoodles on top of the meat sauce.
- Cover the last layer of zoodles with Alfredo sauce. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake in oven at 325 degrees for 45 -60 minutes. (I take it out and let it cool, then reheat at 300 degrees for 30 minutes before serving.)