Budget Paleo-sagna (or Primalsagna with cheese!)

by ~jenniferlynn on July 10, 2012

in Food, Recipes

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.

Click here for a super cute old commercial on veggies..

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
Saucepan/small pot
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)
Olive Oil
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′.

  1. 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 🙂 )
  2. 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).
  3. Place the squash face-down onto a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes.
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. CAREFULLY remove the spaghetti squash from the oven (and do not burn your leg on the oven door…), but leave the oven on.

    Oven burn! :

    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)

  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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):

Calories: 1794
Carbs: 122g (from squash and tomatoes)
Fat: 83g
Protein:  146g
Fiber: 22g

The total cost of this was around $8 total, assuming you already have a good stock of olive oil and seasonings.

Megan July 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

I will have to try this… I’ve dabbled with spaghetti squash before just using it as noodles. Any tips on to actually cut the thing in half? I found that to be the hardest part.

Twitter: Cjackplay
July 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

It is like you read my mind! I totally made this last week except I didn’t leave the spaghetti squash in its rind I roasted it and then scooped it out with a fork, then pressed it into the pan. I was also raised a meat and potato girl, but as I get older I love to eat more veggies. Great choice for a recipe post!

~jenniferlynn July 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thanks, Christen!!
We’ve made it before using the faux-spaghetti link that I have in my post, but this way turned out even better! I think it may have something to do with the mounds of cheese.. 😉
I am really trying to get more veggies in my diet, but still just struggling with my taste buds. Do you suggest any other gateway veggie recipes? (I liked this one cause I LOVE pasta, and it was similar to something I already liked..)

Twitter: Cjackplay
July 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

I love me some boring old carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli and bell peppers, but I have been trying to expand my veggie horizons. If you like squash you can also try substituting zucchini for pasta as well. Zucchini is one of those veggies that takes on the flavor or whatever you cook with it and is bit easier to cook with than squash, none of that hard outer shell to break through. My mom used to make Apple pies with Zucchini instead of apples and we never could tell the difference. Also I suggest Artichoke. I have a link on my blog if you haven’t ever made one before. They can seem intimidating, but they are pretty simple really and delicious. Asparagus is always a good one, a little butter and salt wrapped in some foil and thrown in the oven for about 15 minutes. Kale is super yummy. At the last restaurant I worked at they used to make sauteed kale with raisins that people ordered all the time. Oh and fresh green beans are my super favorite right now. Boil them for about five minutes then season them however you like. I could talk about food all day. 😀 Have a great day and thanks for the recipe.

Twitter: Mychickenbutt
July 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Ohhhh man – its been well over a month since I had any spaghetti squash and I need some in my life now. I think it’s the ultimate comfort food, and I’m definitely trying your paleo-sagna recipe soon (cute name by the way!)

~jenniferlynn July 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Do it!! 🙂

Twitter: scalingbackward
March 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Ok- this is going on my meal planner
looks really good!
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