After making fresh ricotta cheese, I was looking for something to do with it. I do like baking with it but I was not in the mood. I also love lasagna with a ricotta cheese layer but it is a pain to make. So when I saw this recipe from the Jewish Hostess, I wanted to try it right away. Three weeks later, I finally got around to making it after I made more ricotta. It was delicious and very satisfying. This is my version of the recipe. I also made this recipe with pasta and it does taste just like lasagna – Just easier to eat.
Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Soup with Ricotta
1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup white onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, salt free, preferably organic
4 c. vegetable stock, chicken stock or water*
2 tsp honey or organic sugar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*If using water, simmer it longer to make sure it is flavourful.
8 ounces (225 g) ricotta cheese
2-3 cups fresh spinach
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onions with the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and stir well. Add the tomato paste, the can of diced tomatoes and chicken or vegetable stock (or water). Mix well. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Cover and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in the basil and season to taste with sea salt and pepper just before serving.
To prepare the ricotta cheese mixture: Wash the spinach thoroughly and chop into small pieces. Mix the spinach, ricotta, sea salt and pepper together.
To Cook the spaghetti squash: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and place both halves in a baking dish. Pour a small amount of water in the baking so it covers the bottom part of the squash. Cover the squash with foil or a lid (I used an inverted dinner plate) and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove from the oven and scrape out the seeds (these can be toasted for a snack). Scrape out the squash and set aside.
To Serve the Soup: Place a cup of spaghetti squash in a bowl. Ladle the tomato soup over the squash. Top with a scoop of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top, if desired, and put soup under the broiler in the oven or toaster oven to melt the cheese. Serve.
Some Quick Ideas to Make a Complete Meal:
- Add chopped vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy or kale.
- To add extra vegetables, add about 20 minute point after the broth has been added for hard vegetables like broccoli, kale and cauliflower and the 25 minute point for zucchini and bok choy
- Add chicken. Chop two skinless chicken breasts into small chunks and add to the soup pot after the onions. Lightly cook on each side and then add the rest ingredients as per the recipe instructions. The chicken does not have to be fully cooked as it will finish cooking when the soup is simmers. It will also have a better texture and tastes if not full cooked as if will absorb some of the flavours and moisture of the soup.
- If you are in a hurry and you have a favourite tomato sauce, use that instead and add it to the onions, and then add the broth.
- Pasta can be substituted for the spaghetti squash. Choose whole grain pasta such as brown rice, quinoa, kamut or whole wheat. Fusilli would be best in a soup. Just cook the pasta ahead of time as per the instructions on the package. Be sure to rinse the pasta after cooking. Add it a couple of minutes before removing the soup from the stove.
- For a vegetarian option, add a cup of your favourite cooked legumes such as chickpeas or aduki beans.
- If you are dairy-free, then use Tofutti Better Ricotta Cheese, although this is not the most natural product in the world. You can make your own faux ricotta from tofu. Just substitute tofu in the cashew ricotta recipe below and leave out the water. If you are avoiding soy, then try this cashew ricotta recipe. Please note the cashews are considerably higher in calories and fat than ricotta so use about 4 ounces (112 f) for the recipe instead of 8 ounces (225 g) ricotta. Or you can leave out the ricotta altogether - still makes a tasty soup
1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 small garlic clove
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Soak the cashews in water in a bowl for three hours in a bowl. Be sure to cover the water cashews completely. Pour the cashews through a sieve to drain the cashews and put them in a food processor*. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the cashews are smooth creamy. Extra water can be added if needed to make the desired consistency. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. It will keep for one week.
* A blender, Nutri or Magic Bullet or a Vitamix can also be used.