Friday, January 24, 2014

Paleo Pizza Casserole

In the many years since I've been gluten-free I've employed all sorts of alternatives to pasta. For some reason, though, I had yet to try spaghetti squash noodles.

It's kind of funny, really, as many of my less adventurous and not even paleo or gluten-free friends make them pretty often. Why my hesitation? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that NO ONE is this house but me likes squash.

We're all fans of pumpkin, but when it comes time to make butternut squash soup or stuff a delicata squash, I usually end up eating the resulting dishes alone. I worried that my kids and the caveman would turn their noses up if I had the nerve to try to present squash as a pasta substitute.

I thought I'd try out the technique in a casserole first, which would allow the "noodles" to be mixed in with other flavors and textures. I adapted this one from Tessa the Domestic Diva, using nitrite-free salami rather than pepperoni, and used Daiya non-dairy mozzarella shreds (if you're primal you could use a little Parmesan or romano instead).

The verdict? All three of my squash-averse family members chowed down. Which leads me to wonder what kind of spaghetti squash experiment I should conduct next…

Paleo Pizza Casserole
adapted from Tessa the Domestic Diva

1 large spaghetti squash
2 medium shallots, chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste
8 oz. nitrite-free pepperoni or salami
2 eggs
2 cups organic marinara
1/2 cup Daiya dairy-free shredded mozzarella
fresh chopped basil, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet coated with tin foil. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil, rubbing over entire squash.

Bake for 30-40 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to sit until cook enough to handle, then use a fork to pull the squash into noodle-like threads.

While squash is cooking, brown ground beef, shallots, garlic and half of salami in a large oven-proof skillet. Season to taste and remove from heat.

Stir in spaghetti squash noodles, eggs, marinara and cheese. Top with a little more cheese, if desired.

Bake for 30 minutes and garnish with a little chopped basil before serving.


  1. where do you find your nitrite free pepperoni/salami?

    1. Hi Melissa, I got mine at Whole Foods. It is a little hard to find, as even the pepperoni at Trader Joe's has nitrites. Another option would be fresh Italian sausage, removed from the casing.

    2. Applegate products are nitrate free and super delicious, which Target now carries.

    3. They are my favorite brand and I was so happy to see them in Target! I still get better pricing in Trader Joes for Applegate, but it's so nice to see them available more widely.

  2. This sounds delish!!! I am dairy free and tried the Daiya mozzarella just a couple weeks ago with a low carb pizza crust. I didn't love the crust but will definitely try this next time I need a fix!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. This recipe is AMAZING. I have tried cooking with spaghetti squash in the past, and it never came out right. One thing i did differently -- for baking the casserole, I set at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. I thought 450 might have burned the cheese that i spread over the top, before the casserole was finished cooking.