Spaghetti is one of those working class weeknight staples. It’s quick and easy to make, cheap, and makes a lot of leftovers. It checks all the boxes there. Unfortunately, if you are trying to limit your simple carbs and sugars, the refined pasta and sugar added tomato sauce isn’t going to work for you. The garlic bread that usually goes with it is even worse for unhealthy fats and refined carbs. One cup of cooked refined pasta spaghetti noodles has 43.2 grams of carbs and 221 calories. How do we fix that? The obvious answer is to use a healthy vegetable in its place, and it’s conveniently named so there’s no guesswork. That’s right, your good old football shaped Spaghetti Squash comes to the rescue. One cup of squash has just 7 grams of carbs and 31 calories. That’s a slam dunk, mixed metaphors be damned. Using baked spaghetti squash also frees up cooktop space because there’s no need to boil a giant pot of water, and you don’t have to worry about overcooking your pasta to a lifeless stringy ball of goo. My cauliflower garlic bread is a perfect Luigi to the Mario of the spaghetti squash, and it’s a very sneaky way for your kids to be eating their veggies and have no idea it’s healthy. Even the new rescue kitten was shocked at how good these vegetables tasted:
I’ll add the recipe for the garlic bread at the end of this recipe from an earlier article.
Of course, you can ruin all this nutrition by picking a jar of sauce off the shelf from the usual suspects. They add sugars and corn oil, and very little actual flavor. You can either buy a can of tomato paste, add some water and Italian seasonings of your choice and simmer, which is easy to do, or pick a brand that doesn’t add all the unnecessary stuff that has no place on our dinner plates. I used the Primal Kitchen brand and it was very tasty, coming very close to my homemade sauce. It’s in all the local megamarts, so you can find it without making a special trip.
When the squash has about 30 minutes left to cook, brown the turkey meat in a skillet with the 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried rosemary. Once the meat is browned and starting to give off juices, add the onion and mushrooms and cook through:
Add the spaghetti sauce and bring to a simmer, and then keep warm over low heat:
After the squash has finished baking, flip over carefully and let cool for about 10 minutes. Shred into noodles using two forks:
Taste test and add more salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve just like traditional spaghetti with Parmesan cheese:
Cauliflower garlic bread:
- 3 c. riced cauliflower
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″-x-5” loaf pan with parchment paper. I like to spray the pan with a little non-stick spray to help keep the parchment paper in place.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the riced cauliflower over medium heat until the cauliflower is soft and has given up most of it’s moisture. You can also microwave it for 3 to 4 minutes instead, but there will be much more water left in the rice. When cool enough to touch, dump the cauliflower onto a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Make sure no yolk is in the bowl or no matter how long you beat the whites, they will not form. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the egg yolks, slightly cooled melted butter, garlic, and about a quarter of the whipped egg whites in a separate bowl. Combine the yolk mixture into the almond flour mixture and beat until well combined, then stir in microwaved cauliflower.
5. Fold in the remaining egg whites 1/3 at a time and fold gently until just incorporated. (Mixture should be fluffy.) Fold in the thyme and most of the parsley (save some for topping).
6. Transfer batter to prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining herbs. I like to use scissors to trim off any excess parchment paper at this time.
6. Bake until the top is golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the pan. Cover with a clean towel and place on a rack to continue cooling.
7. Let cool completely before slicing.
You can top with fresh grated Parmesan and more parsley, and then broil in the oven for 2 minutes before serving if desired. Wrap leftovers in parchment paper and then foil to store in the fridge. This bread is good cold direct out of the fridge as well.
See the list of all the Shirtless Chef recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.