Let’s just say introducing gluten and dairy back into my diet has gone… Incredibly poorly.
And yes, it has been very much to my dismay because all I wanted after Whole30 was pizza. Which I did have – followed a few days later by a homemade pepperoni roll (shoutout to Mama for bringing them down to me)… Which was then followed up by a (rather painful) eczema flare up around my eyes.
Needless to say, “fantastic” isn’t the f-word I’ve been muttering the last few days while I slather on vaseline and hydrocortisone cream trying to get my eyelids and under-eye to clear up.
Unfortunately, the other thing I was looking forward to just as much as (if not more than) pizza was… You guessed it – pasta. And since I’m rolling solo with the dogs this week while LJ is traveling for work, I didn’t want to take any chances of my eyes swelling shut. That would be alllll I needed.
On the bright side though – Mother Nature has my back, and provides a tasty alternative to pasta in the form of spaghetti squash. If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, you’re probably wondering “what kind of sorcery is spaghetti… squash?” And trust me, the first time I heard of it I had the same thought.
Long story short, it’s a vegetable similar to a gourd or pumpkin, ivory to yellow/orange in color, easily found in a supermarket- and when cooked its flesh comes off in “noodles”, hence ‘spaghetti squash.’
It can be prepared in a ton of ways – including baking, boiling, steaming, and microwaving.
I prefer to prepare mine in the oven, as follows:
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F: I like to do while I prep the squash
- Cut the squash vertically: It’s important to cut across the length, not the width, so that you get longer noodles! It can also be difficult to cut a round vegetable, so what I like to do is use a knife to poke a few holes along the line I’ll be cutting, then use a dish towel to steady the squash while I slice it so that it’s not rolling around on my cutting board. (I’d prefer to avoid a trip to the ER!)
- Remove “guts” and seeds: This is very similar to gutting a pumpkin, just be careful to avoid pulling out the flesh with the insides, you want to save that for your noodles!
- Fill a shallow baking pan with about 1” of water
- Place both sides of the spaghetti squash face down in the water in the pan: You want just enough to come up over the sides of the squash so the entire inside is touching the water.
- Bake for 1 hour on 400° F, or until the insides easily peel back with a fork: From there, just peel the insides back with a fork until you get down to the skins, and serve however you prefer!
Seriously so easy, and outside of cook time, only takes about 5-10 minutes to get it ready!
This week, I made it into a “casserole” of sorts – bacon garlic spaghetti squash with a dairy-free cream sauce. (I’ve come a long way from my college staples of chicken nuggets and Diet Coke!) It’s paleo, gluten-free, Whole30 compliant, and clearly pretty tasty as I polished the whole batch off by myself.
Bacon Garlic Spaghetti Squash
- 3-4 c spaghetti squash cooked and noodled
- 8 pieces bacon bits I use the Hormel pre-packaged bacon bits!
- 1 1/2 c steamed brocolli this is about 1 bag of frozen broccoli
- 1 c full-fat canned coconut milk MUST be full-fat, or it won't thicken up correctly
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp sea salt more or less, to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients for sauce in a small saucepan, and whisk together
Heat sauce over medium heat, continuing to whisk occasionally. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until it is thickened. (The thicker the better for the sauce.)
Combine spaghetti squash, steamed broccoli, and bacon in a casserole dish, and stir. Once sauce is thickened, pour over the casserole and stir.
Heat at 400°F until warm, and serve.
It’s ridiculously easy, and heats back up perfectly as leftovers too!
Plus, if you have a picky eater you can substitute different veggies for broccoli – or if you have one who needs to have meat in their meals, you can easily add grilled chicken or shrimp for some extra protein.