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Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti Squash

Summer’s bounty comes on hard and heavy and in order to showcase it’s splendor in new ways that cater to a varieties of diets is always a challenge. In this sense however, it comes in terms of making your own sauce and serving it over a vegetable seriously reminiscent of pasta. Spaghetti squash is a way to not only cut down on the carbs portion of a meal, but pack more veggies into your diet and even help out those people who need a low glycemic substitute for pasta.

A bite of the finished Spaghetti Squash, ready to eat.

A bite of the finished Spaghetti Squash, ready to eat.

One of my friends Lisa asked for some low glycemic recipes awhile back. I never forgot her request, but it was very tricky to cut down on foods causing serious sugar spikes. The more I went down the rabbit hole of my own learning while trying to include low glycemic and good tasting food, the harder my challenge seemed to get. I seriously sympathized with those individuals who have to stick with this diet due to health reasons. It’s not easy.

A low glycemic diet is used to coin eating habits that reflect a low carbohydrate diet. When someone with diabetes, cardiovascular issues or just poor general health goes on this diet, it restricts mainly sugars but also foods that cause glucose to spike in the blood. To some extent most of us are capable of maintaining these periodic elevated levels of glucose pending we are eating balanced meals. When too much glucose is ingested over time, our bodies can learn to adapt, but more than likely it can convert into extra weight and our bodies work harder which eventually wears them down. The more our bodies are worn down, the more prone we are to certain diseases like diabetes.

I actually learned almost a year ago that wheat actually causes your blood sugar to spike more than just table sugar. This is one of the main reasons I started limiting gluten in my own diet, as wheat is in SO much of our foods. When you think about it, our bodies were never designed to have access to so much sugar, carbohydrates and fat. These things were special in nature, whether they were only found seasonally or during a special occasion such as after a hunt. Nowadays we have pretty much unlimited access to fats and sugars, so it’s almost no wonder a disease like diabetes is at an all time high.

While I could have designed a recipe for Lisa that was a yummy substitute for a favorite dessert, I thought what would be more prudent would be to give her (and you) the basis for many more meals. This idea came with pasta and subbing out the carbs. Pasta can of course be adapted in so many ways which is exactly why spaghetti squash fits the bill perfectly. I also have to mention that this is absolutely Greg’s most requested food that I make. He grew up with a very southern diet which heavily relied on meat. After introducing this to him years ago, it still seems to reign supreme in our household.

Spaghetti Squash with a sprinkling of basil and parmesan (optional).

Spaghetti Squash with a sprinkling of basil and parmesan (optional).

Spaghetti Squash in itself is a very unique squash in that once cooked,  it can be pulled with a fork to remove strands that are reminiscent of pasta. If you’ve ever pulled pork, you know the basic technique.

Spaghetti Squash, showing the whole, roasted and shredded squash.

Spaghetti Squash, showing the whole, roasted and shredded squash.

Spaghetti Squash and the uncanniness to grain pasta.

Spaghetti Squash and the uncanniness to grain pasta.

The recipe really couldn’t be easier in that it uses fresh ingredients, or easy to locate items even during the winter for year round enjoyment. The squash is baked and cooled, and then a fresh sauce is made. I find that the sauce can be doctored up in a number of ways. I typically add a small amount of sugar and vinegar to help balance out the tomatoes and give them a more rounded flavor. This of course is not necessary and you will need to taste test to be sure it fits what your own taste buds enjoy.

For those with dietary restrictions however, please heed the following advice to alter this basic recipe and still make it taste super:

  • Low glycemic– omit the sugar called for in the recipe
  • Vegan– substitute the sugar and use something like agave syrup, omit the parmesan or use Parma
  • Paleo– substitute the olive oil for coconut oil
  • Lactose free– omit the parmesan
  • No Iodine– substitute the type of salt used and omit the parmesan
  • Gluten lovers– try the spaghetti squash, or if you must, omit it and use pasta
  • Gluten free– This recipe is perfect for you!
  • Vegetarian– This recipe is perfect too!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and look forward to hearing how you enjoy it.

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs)
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary, fresh
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 can of whole tomatoes (18 ounces), preferably San Marzano or 1 lb of tomatoes, skins removed
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1/4 cup fresh Basil, sliced
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice your spaghetti squash from end to end horizontally using a sharp knife. Scoop out the pulp and seeds, rinse under cold water. Pat dry.  Place your two halves of spaghetti squash onto a baking sheet. Drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil onto each half and coat the top using a pastry brush or clean paper towel. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until fork punctures easily through the flesh. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once the spaghetti squash is cool, use a fork and pull down the length of the squash to remove strands. Remove until just the skins are left. Repeat with other half, placing the strands into a bowl for serving.

In a saucepan over medium heat, place the remaining olive oil. Sauté your onions and garlic for about 3-5 minutes or translucent. Over the saucepan, run your fingers down the rosemary sprig removing the leaves into your pan. Sauté one minute longer. Next, add your red pepper flakes and tomatoes along with their juices. Using a wooden spoon, break up your tomatoes into large hunks and bring to a simmer (if using fresh tomatoes simmer for about ten additional minutes). Add in your sugar and vinegar. Stir and taste the sauce, adding more sugar and vinegar as needed to balance out the flavors. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, heat till boiling.

Ladle your finished sauce on top of the spaghetti squash strands. Sprinkle with your parmesan and basil. Serve immediately.

Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a creative type with an immense love for food. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

Comments (3 comments)

  • KATHLEEN SENGER
    August 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I’m back. Check out ‘Miracle Noodle’ which is Shirataki ‘pasta.’ 10 calories a serving, low glycemic index.

    • August 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Have checked those out, and while they may be good for some people, they’re simply not for me. From what I’ve read they offer no nutritional value, hence the little to no calories. To me it’s hard to discern what’s in them which is why I’m a big fan of making your own food so you know what’s in it. Better in my opinion to eat foods that have little to no processing garnering maximum nutritional value without having to sacrifice your body’s ability to digest the foods.

  • KATHLEEN SENGER
    August 18, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Hey kiddo. What a coincidence… That’s what I served my marinated pork and vegetables over, spaghetti squash. I just wanted to get away from rice.

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