Kalyn's Kitchen

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage is my healthier version of this popular dish that’s perfect when you just need comfort food! My recipe uses whole wheat spaghetti, turkey Italian sausage, and low-sugar pasta sauce, and this is a crowd pleaser, even with people who “don’t like” whole wheat pasta. 

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Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage finished casserole with one serving on plate

Even when you’re committed to healthy eating, once in a while you want something that’s pure comfort food, so when I saw the Baked Spaghetti on Budget Bytes, I decided to try creating a lower-glycemic version of this classic recipe. My Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage uses whole wheat spaghetti, with less spaghetti in proportion to the other ingredients. I use Turkey Italian sausage, which still has plenty of flavor, and a pasta sauce with the least amount of sugar I can find. And there is cottage cheese and mozzarella, which allows the casserole to have enough cheese to make it really good.

Jake and I tested this recipe twice to get it just right, and we preferred it with Sweet Turkey Italian Sausage, but you can use the hot sausage if you’d like a bit more spice. Even with all my adjustments, this is definitely a “once in a while treat” if you’re following a carb-conscious eating plan, but on a night when you need some comfort food, this will really seem like a treat.

What Pasta Sauce Did I Use?

I’m a huge fan of Rao’s Pasta Sauce (affiliate link), which is really low in carbs and doesn’t have added sugar. In this dish that makes servings, the Rao’s sauce only adds 3 carbs per serving.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage process shots collage

How to Make Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. I used 8 ounces of my favorite Garofalo Organic Whole Wheat Italian Spaghetti, broken into thirds; use your favorite spaghetti.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water until it’s barely done (a minute or so less than package directions.)
  3. While spaghetti cooks, heat olive oil and cook the chopped onion.  When the onion is starting to soften, add garlic and cook a minute or so more.
  4. Add Sweet Turkey Italian Sausage (squeezed out of the links) and cook until the sausage is nicely browned, breaking up the sausage with a turner while it cooks.
  5. I didn’t have homemade marinara sauce, so I used Rao’s Pasta Sauce (affiliate link); look for the lowest-carb pasta sauce you can find.
  6. Add the sauce to the cooked sausage and simmer on low until the sauce is very thick, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Mix the cottage cheese with the 2 beaten eggs and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.
  8. You need a casserole dish with high sides for this recipe, and I used this 8×8 inch dish with 3 inch tall sides.
  9. Spray the dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of half the cooked spaghetti. Top that with half the sauce/sausage mixture. Then add half the cottage cheese/egg mixture.  Top with grated low-fat mozzarella.
  10. Make another layer each of cooked spaghetti, sauce/sausage mixture, cottage cheese/egg mixture, and grated mozzarella.
  11. Bake the casserole at 375F/190C until it’s bubbling, cheese is melted and the top is nicely browned, about 30-35 minutes. 
  12. Let sit for about 5 minutes before cutting, then serve hot.

More Whole Wheat Pasta Recipes:

Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Beans, Capers, and Balsamic Yogurt Dressing from Cookin’ Canuck
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Garlic, Chard, and Pecorino-Romano Cheese from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Sauteed Chickpeas and Spinach from Aggie’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage finished casserole with one serving on plate

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage is my healthier version of Baked Spaghetti and this is a comfort food meal that the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • 1 tsp. salt, for pasta cooking water
  • 1 T olive oil (more or less, depending on your pan)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 T minced garlic (or less)
  • one 19.5 oz. pkg. Sweet Turkey Italian Sausage
  • 24 oz. jar Rao's Pasta Sauce  (see notes)
  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (a blend of dried basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated low-fat Mozzarella (or more, depending on how much comfort you need!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  2. Spray an 8″x8″x3″ casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Break the spaghetti into thirds.
  4. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil, add the salt, then add the pasta and cook until pasta is barely done (a little less than package directions.)
  5. Drain pasta well.
  6. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan with high sides.
  7. Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes, until it’s softened and starting to brown.
  8. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  9. Then add the Sweet Turkey Italian Sausage (or Italian Sausage of your choice), squeezing it out of the links.
  10. Cook sausage until it’s nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks. (You might need a little more oil, depending on your pan.)
  11. When the sausage is well-browned, add the pasta sauce and cook at a low simmer until the sauce is very thick, about 15 minutes.
  12. Stir the beaten eggs and Italian seasoning into the cottage cheese and measure out the grated mozzarella.
  13. In the casserole dish, make layers with 1/2 the cooked spaghetti, 1/2 the reduced sauce/sausage mixture. 1/2 the cottage cheese/egg mixture, and 1/2 the grated Mozzarella.
  14. Make another layer each of spaghetti, sauce/sausage mixture, cottage cheese/egg mixture, and mozzarella.
  15. Bake the casserole uncovered about 30-35 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and the top is nicely browned.
  16. Let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

Notes

Use the lowest sugar pasta sauce you can find if you don't have Rao's.

This freezes well, so you can pull it out on those nights you need some comfort. It can also be kept in the refrigerator for at least a week. I reheated it in the microwave for about 2 minutes, but if you don’t have a microwave I would reheat in a small glass dish covered with foil.

Recipe inspired by Baked Spaghetti at Budget Bytes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1545mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 33g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions: 
To make this Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage more friendly for the original South Beach Diet, you need to use low-glycemic whole wheat spaghetti, low-sugar pasta sauce, low-fat turkey Italian sausage, low-fat cottage cheese, and low-fat Mozzarella. Even with those ingredients, this may be best as an occasional treat for South Beach. This is relatively high in carbs for someone on a low-carb diet, but check the nutritional information to see if you’d eat it for a comfort food splurge.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Casserole Recipes to find more family-friendly casseroles for dinner! Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage

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    9 Comments on “Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Italian Sausage”

  1. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of making this with spaghetti squash. Will definitely try that version!

    And congratulations on your commitment to staying on track at this very hard time of year!

  2. Kalyn, I just have to say that I doubled the recipe and made two versions: one with whole wheat noodles for the kids and one with spaghetti squash. My husband tried both of them and he even liked the squash one BETTER! I'm really trying to stay in phase 1 for any days that aren't my birthday or Christmas this December :), and I thought this recipe was FANTASTIC. There was a little liquid in the bottom of the casserole dish with the squash, but my hubby and I loved it so much that the squash version is on my meal plan for this week, too.
    Thanks for the great recipe!
    PS- And if you're wanting to try it with spaghetti squash, I really just eye-balled it. I scraped out a layer or squash "noodles" into the bottom, and then another layer in the middle. I only used half of a large squash because that's what I had. DELICIOUS!

  3. LunaTechChick, I think Dreamfields pasta would work as far as flavor, but when you cook it again it eliminates the low-carb properties of the Dreamfields pastas, so I prefer the whole wheat spaghetti for this.

  4. OH EM GEE I'm totally gonna be makin this ASAP! Wonder if Dreamfield's spag or angel hair would work as well?

  5. Joanne, of course! (Great minds think alike and all that, right?)

  6. Even though I'm not on the south beach diet by any means, I also make pasta so that the veggies/mixins outweigh the noodles! Delicious comforting casserole!

  7. Oh Beth, absolutely not. Yours looked great (after all, it inspired me to try it!) I just wanted less pasta and more lower-glycemic ingredients.

    Lydia, loved this; great comfort food.

  8. Just reading the recipe makes me feel warm and fuzzy. This is the ultimate comfort food, with less guilt. Can't wait to try it.

  9. Oooh, yours looks 100% better than mine! I love what you did with the cheese layer 😀