I love carbs. All carbs are created equal in my mind. Bread, potatoes, rice.. you name it, I love it. But the carb that stands at the top of my list is pasta. Pasta with alfredo, marinara, pesto, butter, cheese..all of the above please? It’s a comforting food to me and it always has been. Like most kids, one of my favorite things was Velveeta Shells mac and cheese. Yep, right out of the box. (If you’re a Kraft mac and cheese fan I don’t know if we can be friends). I think that golden yellow cheese out of the squeeze packet is wonderfully disgusting but so delicious. I still to this day will have a craving for it. But, since eating healthy I figured there had to be a way to have something very similar to pasta without all the bad carbs. I have tried whole wheat pasta, zoodles and brown rice noodles, and they are all ok, but I don’t feel like I’m eating a bowl of pasta. Not too terribly long ago I discovered spaghetti squash. That’s right, it’s a vegetable. For those of you that have never had it, you can generally find it in Whole Foods or occasionally publix. It is a large, round, almost watermelon shaped ball of goodness. There’s a couple different ways to cook these bad boys.
Option one is to bake it. I find that this has the best flavor and texture, but it’s going to take some muscle. The spaghetti squash is very tough on the outside and it can be difficult to cut in half. If you have a decent knife and a little bit of a gun show you’ll be fine. So you’ll want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then pull out your big ole knife and cut that baby right down the middle. You’ll find seeds in the center. Scrape those out with a spoon and throw those away. Place the two halves on a cookie sheet, open side up. I drizzle a little bit of olive oil over both sides and sprinkle it with sea salt. Then flip them over so that the flat side is facing down. Then you will bake them for about 35 min. Once the outside of the spaghetti squash starts to soften you’ll know it’s ready. Once it has cooked, pull it out of the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Once it has cooled off slightly, I just take a fork and start scraping the insides into a bowl. You will see that it literally comes off in strands just like pasta. I’m really not kidding here it has such similar taste and texture to pasta, it’s incredible and so healthy.
You can serve your spaghetti squash with whatever sauce is your favorite. Anything works here or you can even just add some olive oil and a little parmasean cheese and it would be heavenly. My favorite way to serve it is with a pesto sauce. While the squash is cooking, I sautée diced onions, garlic, mushrooms and some Italian seasonings. Cook these until the onion just starts to brown. Then I add some chicken sausages. I have been getting sun dried tomato chicken sausage at aldi that is very clean and simple ingredients and a tasty way to add some protein. So I chop these up and throw them in with the onion mixture. Once they are cooked through I add some chicken stock and chopped up broccoli and a can of store bought pesto. Then I cover this and let it simmer on low heat for 10-15 min until the broccoli is cooked and everything has time to get to know each other and make a delicious sauce. Toss in your cooked spaghetti squash and garnish with a little fresh basil and parmesan cheese and boom. You have yourself a big bowl of this delicious guilt free pasta!
Salt and pepper
2cups chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
3 chicken sausages
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Bake flat side down for 30-40 minutes. While that is baking make your sauce. Sauté mushrooms, onions, garlic and Italian seasonings with a couple tablespoons of olive oil until onion just starts to brown. Add chicken sausage and brown. Then add your chicken stock, broccoli and pesto. Mix well, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked spaghetti squash and toss together. Garnish with fresh basil and parmasean cheese.