Today’s guest post is from my High School friend Matt! We went to high school together in Hawaii and lost touch for about 10 years until we both found each other on Facebook and through our love for healthy eating! I asked him to guest post for me because he is so incredibly knowledgeable with health, fitness and healthy eating and I thought with all the Holiday treats salivating us, a little break to eat something that we need is necessary.
I normally run Your Living Body – a blog dedicated to encouraging others to take control of their life through healthy living. I’ve always had an affinity for health and nutrition (even working my way through school as a personal trainer). My inspiration for my blog comes from my career as an ER Nurse where one thing I see too much of is preventable diseases. My number one goal: helping others and empowering them from ever seeing me in a hospital in the first place. With that said – I’m excited to have been offered this guest post from a fellow high school classmate and share part of my take on the world with the Ferraro Kitchen community!
I have a love for the Paleo diet but my wife – not so much. She’s under the impression that it’s a “boring, bland diet.” One of the things that I love to do is take control in the kitchen and show her that food can actually taste amazing without some of the things that we’re so used to, such as pasta. Since it’s squash season (and I love squash season) I thought I’d share with you all what I shared with my wife (which she loved by the way): Spaghetti Squash Sausage Pasta. Pasta is one of my favorite ways to get my dose of vegetables in, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love pasta? But sometimes I’m not always wanting (needing) the carbs that come along with it. Spaghetti squash is my favorite ways of getting my pasta fix.
About the dish: one of the things that I love doing on my home blog is letting people know about the health benefits from the things that we frequently encounter in our daily lives. With the addition of spaghetti squash instead of pasta the dish is great for anyone concerned about their heart health, blood sugars, or weight control as it’s low in carbohydrates yet high in fiber and a nutrient dense food. The garlic, tomato, pepper, and cacao nibs help give your body a healthy dose of antioxidants and additional vitamins to give your immune system a boost. The sausage helps give your body a healthy dose of protein and fat to help keep you full and rebuild hormones and proteins inside your body. Enjoy!
- 1 Spaghetti Squash
- 1 Small Eggplant chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
- 1 Cup Mushrooms chopped
- 1 Yellow Onion diced
- 1 Pack Spicy Italian Sausage if you're vegetarian, just leave it out
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 6 oz Can Tomato Paste
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano
- 2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- Cacao Nibs Optional
You're going to need a giant knife - and I mean a giant one. Getting through the squash can be a bit of a task because the squash is so hard and thick. You might even need some help but I promise you in the end, it will be worth it. All you want to do is cut the squash in half. While you're prepping the squash, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. After you've got the squash in half, take a spoon to spoon out all of the seeds (you can save them if you want to make roasted squash seeds which are another delicious snack).
Take a couple tablespoons of butter and spread it on the inside of the spaghetti squash. I don't usually measure but I add just a light dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon along with a pinch of salt and fresh pepper to the squash too.
Now the optional part: the cacao nibs. If you've never used cacao nibs before you might want to start. I love them and they're full of great antioxidants. Cacao nibs are the original product that chocolate comes from and they're great for adding a hint of semi-sweet goodness to the squash (or many other things for that matter).
Once you've got your squash all pampered and ready to go put them in a deep baking dish, fill with a cup and a half of water, cover with foil, and let it cook in the oven for about an hour. You'll know the squash is done when you can easily scrape out the inside with a fork.
Now the fun part: Using a deep skillet you're going to want to get started on the sausage. First cut them into about 1/2 inch slices and brown them in the pan. Once diced, drain any grease and set aside for the moment while you prep the sauce.
Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, and eggplant until vegetables are softened. Once the veggies are softened add the tomato paste, the fresh rosemary leaves , the oregano, the basil, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to use less herbs, or more herbs - feel free. I like big flavor so I can tend to be liberal with the use of my herbs. If you don't like the flavors as strong, use less. Add some water to thin out your paste. This isn't something I measure and I think a good pasta sauce also depends on preference. If you like it hearty, add less water. If you like your pasta sauce less thick, add more water. I usually add about two cups.
When the sauce is to your liking, add the sausage back to the sauce and let the sauce simmer so the flavors can mix while the squash finishes cooking. Stir every once in a while.
About that spaghetti squash: The squash should take anywhere from 45-60 minutes to cook. You'll know it's done when the contents are soft and you can easily remove them with a fork. When removing the squash from the oven, use caution to not spill the water out and burn yourself. Fork the contents out into a bowl.
Next up: serve yourself! Plate a portion of spaghetti squash on a plate and top with the sauce you cooked up.