Thursday, October 4, 2012

Turkey and Veggie Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

All the flavor of spaghetti without the carbs, fat, or guilt.

Growing up, I used to HATE vegetables. No joke, the only ones I would eat were carrots. But that was because they were orange and I went through a phase where I would only eat orange food. Yeah, I was a total P.I.T.A (pain in the a$$). My poor mother.

Today, I actually enjoy my veggies, not only because I know they are good for me but because I’ve actually found ways to prepare them that are delicious. And when that fails, you can always sneak them in to a variety of foods so that you—and the kids—don’t know the difference.
I didn’t even bother looking up a recipe for this one. I just threw the vegetables I had in the fridge into the sauce and called it a day.
Here’s what I came up with.

Turkey and Veggie Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”
Serves 4

1 medium spaghetti squash
Olive oil spray
1 pound lean ground turkey
Dash garlic powder
1 (20-25 ounce) jar pasta sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Arrabiata Sauce)
1 medium zucchini, peeled and quartered
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used yellow but any  color will do)
Shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise for the brave who own sharp knives, or crosswise for those with faint hearts and dull cutlery. (I cut mine crosswise since my knife was of questionable sharpness.) Using a spoon, remove seeds and pulp from both halves of the squash.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place squash rind side up. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
While squash is cooking, spritz a large skillet with olive oil spray. Add ground turkey and a dash of garlic powder and brown over medium-high heat stirring frequently until cooked through (about 5-6 minutes). Add pasta sauce to  the skillet along with chopped zucchini, carrots, and bell pepper. Bring meat, vegetables, and sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer.

When squash is done cooking, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Continue simmering the sauce for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

When squash has cooled enough to handle (a minimum of 20 minutes), use a fork to shred the flesh into strands that resemble thin pasta noodles.
Place “pasta” in serving bowls and spoon the vegetable/turkey sauce over the top. Serve immediately, garnished with a little shaved parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper if desired.

I’m not sure what excited me most about this recipe so I’ll just start listing the positive points. #1 It was really, really tasty. #2 It is low carb and full of vegetables and lean protein so it’s super healthy. #3 The hubs liked it. #4 This one is probably my fave: My just-turned-one-year-old gobbled it up for lunch the following day (happy mommy!).

If you love the flavor of spaghetti, but are looking for a much healthier way to enjoy Italian cuisine, this faux pasta dish is definitely the way to go. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine did.
Until next time,

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