Who doesn’t love spaghetti. Or baked ziti? Or lasagna? I think it is a universally loved taste. Everybody likes that gooey, cheesy, meaty, tomato-ey goodness, in any shape or form.
I bet you think you can’t have it now that you are eating the THM way! You are wrong! You can have that yummy lasagna or baked spaghetti… with absolutely no guilt & even less blood sugar spiking! How? Let me tell you….
Spaghetti squash is the key. You maybe have looked at it many times in the store & never known what it is. It looks a bit like a yellow football. Long, oval, light-lemon-y yellow. You want to pick a large one, especially if you have a large family. If you’re a family of only one or two, you may still want a large one, this dish is THAT good. (This is so good, the last time I made it, my 9yo daughter ate it for breakfast instead of her typical creamcicle smoothie. She loves it that much!).
Create your meat sauce as you typically would. I use a large can of crushed tomatoes, 2-3 medium sized cans of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste & equal part water. Sometimes I will add some marsala wine in there for flavor. (Be certain that your canned tomatoes do NOT have added sugar. I buy the organic kind from ALDI, or just check ingredients before you commit. This is key to keeping this meal on plan).
I simmer my sauce with some typical italian seasonings… salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano, thyme (lately I use my basil, oregano & thyme doTerra oils). You could skip this step & just use jar sauce if you are short on time, get 2 jars of pre-made spaghetti sauce, flavor of choice. Just be sure it has no added sugar! Read those labels!
After your sauce has simmered for a bit, add your browned meat of choice. I typically use grass-fed lean ground beef, or for a bit of a different flavor, one of those sausage rolls crumbled. Add a pound or two of meat, depending on your preference for meat-i-ness, the size of your family & your hunger!
While your sauce is simmering, cook your spaghetti squash. HOW? you ask. I stick mine whole in the microwave & cook on high in 5 minute increments until it is soft. Flip it over each time you add another 5 minutes. The skin will darken & possibly crack when its good and soft. CAREFULLY take this out of the microwave (use a towel or oven mitt please! It will be very hot!). Allow to cool for several minutes.
When the squash is cool enough to touch, cut it lengthwise in half. Scoop out the seeds & any of the slimy strings with a spoon. Then get a fork and scrape the insides out into a large lasagna sized or casserole sized dish (something around 9×13). The strings will be about 6-8″ long which is a nice size for spaghetti. Break them up as much as you can without breaking the strands.
Mix in the meat and ricotta cheese if you are using that. (Today I didn’t put the sausage in the sauce because my sauce pan was too full!) Mix in the sauce mixture, a little at a time. Be gentle here, folks, the squash is somewhat delicate. Mix until your spaghetti is well coated with sauce. Not enough sauce? Add some more!
Now is the fun. For the simplest version, sprinkle some low fat mozzarella cheese on top, throw in the oven for 20-30 minutes to melt the cheese & heat the sauce up to bubbling, & serve.
For a bit more OOMPH, add a cup or two of ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, steamed spinach, and/or more mozzarella into the mix. Maybe your family likes diced peppers.. add some in! or mushrooms, or onions. Make it your own! Add your favorites, mix them in gently, then sprinkle your cheese on top & warm in the oven. If you’re really in a hurry, the additional baking is not necessary if everything is hot & ready. Just serve it like spaghetti & plop it on the plate!
You can make this ahead, just like a lasagna, & just reheat when you want to eat it. I have not frozen it, and probably wouldn’t recommend that, because I think the wetness of the squash would create a bit of a mess when frozen. But make it in the morning for dinner, or for the next day would work fine.
My family devours this main dish. I make a huge salad to go along side (choose your dressings carefully!). It actually can range from a FP to an S, depending on what add-ins you use, how lean your meat is, & how much you eat! My diabetic husband eats a plate or two full of it an has no noticeable blood sugar spike. That is amazing for him!
It’s easy, delicious & a super replacement for everybody’s go-to meal. Even the picky eating kids don’t mind the texture, LOVE the taste & beg for me to make it more often. Get that funny yellow football squash off your counter & into your bellies! You will thank me for this one!
Taste & see that the Lord is Good!
Depending on your meat & how much cheese you add, this meal can be either an S (with sausage, and lots of cheese) or a FP (with lean drained beef and a light hand of low fat mozzarella.) Just don’t eat too much or your FP will spill over into the E category from the carbs in the tomato sauce.
Tomorrow, I’ll share my super quick way to always have fresh salad on hand… without chopping lettuce for every meal!