Like my friend L. Who came over for dinner the other night, when I was serving up this spaghetti squash pasta with homemade ratatouille sauce. Like most girlfriend dinners, this one started out with a good ½ bottle of wine consumption as I finished up the meal.
After I roasted my squash, I pulled it out of the oven to begin shredding. Shredding and sipping. Going about my business as I always do when I make spaghetti squash pasta, not even noticing that L was watching with fierce intensity.
“Is that really squash!?”
(It’s large, yellow, and I already told her it was squash)
“And you are shredding it!?” “Into pasta?”
Into pasta my dear. A fabulous, gluten-free, low-calorie alternative to traditional pasta.
A trick that I thought everyone knew, and that everyone was doing.
But that’s because I live in blogger world. In the real world, not everyone knows- so here is my quick primer. The other beauty about spaghetti squash? It tastes great with just about any sauce you crave: spicy arrabiata, creamy vegan pumpkin alfredo, lightened up pesto, pomodoro, and on and on. It’s pretty knock out though when combined with this fresh ratatouille.
Spaghetti Squash for Pasta: a How-To
1.After washing the outside of your squash, slice it in two. Even though you are not eating the skin, you still want to wash it as your knife will come in contact with the outside, which can bring dirt and bacteria inside.
2.Slicing your squash in half may seem easier said than done, depending on how sharp your knives are. If you own a microwave, pop it in there for a minute or three to soften the skin. It’s easier to cut through. If you don’t have a microwave, you can also pop it in the oven while you preheat it. Or just hack it with your sharpest knife and hope for the best! (kidding)
3.Once you have it in two equal halves, remove the seeds. I do this with a small paring knife, but you can use a spoon or your fingers.
From here, I lightly spray cooking oil onto the open halves. This helps the seasoning to stick, and for the top not to dry out and burn.
4.Now season with whatever works in your recipe. Cumin, oregano, and chili for Mexican dishes (try it with enchilada sauce or on tacos. It’s weird and it’s awesome!) Oregano, basil, thyme for Italian and so forth. I use dried spices here.
5.Then place in a 425 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or so until done. Alternatively, you can place the squash cut side up in a oven safe dish filled with an inch or two of water. This will prevent the squash from drying out, but I never have that problem. I’m told you can also cook a squash in the microwave but I don’t have one so I can’t confirm cooking times.
6.Remove from the oven (or microwave) when finished and let cool slightly. Using a fork, gently scrape the inside of the squash- thin, ribbon like strands will start to appear- that’s your pasta! Keep going until you are just left with the outer shell. Season the shredded squash with a pinch of salt, pepper if desired. Top with sauce and eat!
You knew a food would be one of the responses, right?
The green-globe of nutrient goodness is hands down one of my favorite foods. Spread on toast, cubed into salads or scooped straight out of the skin, I cannot get enough of the creamy fruit!
When I declare my love for avocados with others, I usually get a few curious looks. There is a lot of misinformation out there, mostly how avocados aren’t a good pick because of their high-fat content. Well, I’m hear to set the record straight.
Yes, avocados contain fat but it’s the “good” kind of fat, essential monounsaturated fats for heart health. Good fats are those that can lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and are beneficial in moderation. Per 1 oz. 50 calorie serving, avocados provide 3 grams of monounsaturated fats and 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fats. They are also cholesterol and sodium free!
While I am happy eating nothing but avocados, I know not everyone feels the same way. When I first met BL he didn’t care for them, not even in guacamole. (Seriously, how do you not love guacamole!?) Over the years, he has slowly grown to enjoy them and now prefers a few slices of avocado instead of mayo or cheese on his sandwiches. Fine by me! A great alternative to other creamy foods, avocados provide the same mouthfeel with naturally good fats.
If you are only familiar with avocados in your sandwiches or in guac, I encourage you to try some other recipes that highlight the nutrient-dense fruit! My favorites are below, though I am especially partial to my mushroom avocado napoleons. Double-decker sandwiches that are elegant enough to serve at a shower or ladies lunch but simple enough to enjoy everyday!
Although I did receive financial compensation for writing this post, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences. For nutrition information on avocados, please be sure to visit the LoveOneToday.com website.
The first day back after a Holiday weekend always seems to drag on longer than other days of the week. While I always wish I was still celebrating with family and friends, I am ready to get back into the office and feel productive. We have been traveling every weekend since Halloween- enjoying new cities, catching up with old friends, and working on upcoming projects. While it’s been fun, I am ready to unpack my suitcase for more than a few days and get back to doing what I love best- cooking & sharing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and all of the eating that goes with it but I am really ready to get back to some healthy fare! There is only so much champagne, appetizers, and desserts one can take. When faced with excessive amounts of food, I usually stick with intuitive eating to make sure that I am enjoying myself but not going overboard. I hate the feeling of being overly full, which has a way of ruining the energy of the holidays.
While I have been eating fairly well over the last month of traveling, it’s way more food and calories than I normally consume. Nothing to get overly worked up over, but a good time to check in and get back to the food that makes me feel good. As I posted on facebook over the weekend, enjoy the holidays but don’t let one day (or two) of indulging lead to a free-for-all until New Years. Get back on track as soon as you are able!
We arrived back in Sacramento early yesterday morning after a whirlwind few days in Portland with BL’s family. We don’t get to see his side of the family as much as we would like so we took advantage of every minute: hiking, wandering around Portland, beers at local breweries, and plenty of games. After a major grocery store run, it was back to making nuturing food we could enjoy during the week.
First up, this salad. I originally wanted to put Kale in it (I was craving kale, this should tell you the lack of green vegetables that have been in my diet recently) but saw a package of shredded collards at Trader Joe’s and went with it. Such an easy swap! Massage the leaves like you would with kale. Another benefit of using a heartier leaf like collards is that this salad stays fresh without limping! I am eating another bowl as I type this and it’s just as crunchy as it was yesterday afternoon.
I feel silly sometimes posting a salad recipe as any combination of vegetables, grains and seeds should taste good with this dressing. Add what you’ve got!
I’ve seen countless stories over the internet from bloggers claiming to have hated brussels sprouts…. until now! That miraculous moment when they try, try again and decide that they really do love everything about the mini green globe vegetable.
Well, this isn’t one of those stories. I’ve always loved these babies.