Edit: When I originally wrote this post, I was all about eating cheese all the time- not paleo. Adding the cheese will not make this paleo, but does make it more delicious!
I love veggies. Okay, not really. Actually, almost not at all. I grew up as a meat and potatoes girl, and my parents never forced me to eat those carrots or green beans, so to this day, I just have quite the aversion to vegetables, especially cooked.
I’ll eat raw vegetables (carrots, celery, spinach, and my favorite, green peppers), but cooked ones and me just do not get along. So when I find something that is both good for me and tasty, I have to take full advantage of them. Sweet potatoes were the first to make the cut (a super tasty Sweet Potato Hash recipe can be found here). Recently, I added a gourd to my list of approved vegetables: Spaghetti Squash.
This super versatile veggie can be used to make a great faux-spaghetti, and today I have discovered a new way to cook up this tasty squash. I adapted the “Pizza Stuffed” recipe from VeganYackAttack, but totally un-veganized this thing (what’s dinner without MEAT?). With my adaptation, we decided it was more like a “Paleo-sagna”. The recipe is super-simple, but be warned that you need to plan ahead for this as baking spaghetti squash takes a bit of time.
You will need:
Cookie sheet or shallow baking pan
LARGE stove-top pan
1 Spaghetti Squash (A hefty $3 and change)
1lb of your favorite ground meat (we used 93% lean hamburger, on sale for around $3.50/lb)
Two small cans of tomato paste (check to make sure the only ingredient is Tomatoes). I picked these up for a whopping 49 cents each.
1 Cup Mozzarella cheese (optional)
Lots of seasonings
Preheat the oven to 375′.
- To start, slice the squash in half from the top stem to the bottom. The inside will look nice and pumpkin-ny. Scoop out all the seeds and any loose bits. (I don’t have a pic of this as the BF kindly took care of this gross part prior to me cooking 🙂 )
- Drizzle some olive oil onto the inside of the squash and use a brush (or spoon) to evenly coat the surface with the oil. Sprinkle on any sort of seasonings you like (salt and pepper is a good place to start, garlic is always a great addition).
- Place the squash face-down onto a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes.
- In the meantime (probably 20 minutes in), start cooking up your meat in one pan, and your special sauce in another. For the sauce, I recommend using two cans of tomato paste, plus a can of water to make it a more saucy consistency. Then add your favorite seasonings to the sauce. The vegan recipe calls for real tomatoes (we just subbed an extra can of tomato paste), but other ideas include: onions, green peppers, red pepper flakes, GARLIC, oregano, basil, parsley (look for the green herbs in the space rack).
- Taste test the sauce, and add more seasonings, if needed. Once the sauce is perfect, mix it in with the cooked meat. (At this point, I realized my pan was too small for this project, so I had to dirty another dish and use my largest pan).
- CAREFULLY remove the spaghetti squash from the oven (and do not burn your leg on the oven door…), but leave the oven on.
Use a fork to scoop out the insides, but be careful not to cut a hole in the squash. It will come out like spaghetti noodles (weird, but pretty awesome)
- Scoop a bit of the meat sauce, and a bit of spaghetti squash into the large pan. Alternate squash, and sauce, and then throw in some heaping handfuls of mozzarella cheese (if you do dairy), and stir that all up.
- Add this new mixture back into the empty squash skins, and top with extra cheese, if necessary (extra cheese is always necessary in my book..) Return to the oven for about 20 more minutes.
- Remove from over, and enjoy! You can eat these right out of the skins, or scoop out a serving and serve on a plate. One half makes about two meals for me so depending on your appetite, your nutritional value per serving may vary.
Nutritional Information (including cheese):
Carbs: 122g (from squash and tomatoes)
The total cost of this was around $8 total, assuming you already have a good stock of olive oil and seasonings.