Monday, February 10, 2014

Sometimes You Just Need Spaghetti -- Paleo Spaghetti Squash Bolognase

Spaghetti: the everyman's food. One of the few meals that can be cheap, easy, and equally delicious to its $30-a-plate-restaurant counterpart.

When you're trying to go gluten-free, it's a sorely missed staple.

Thankfully, spaghetti squash is a lovely substitute. While it won't ever take the place of its gluten-filled brethren, it's a suitable vehicle for sauce and twirls nicely around a fork. Plus, the squash is hearty and shelf stable, and even freezes decently if you can't handle a full squash--I know I can't, since my squash-hating fiance doesn't help me in the endeavor.

I may overdo it on the sauce, actually.

I actually made this during my Whole 30 experiment. I made my own sauce, in order to cut down on sugar that is used in pre-canned. My biggest hurdle was the cheese. Parm cheese always brings spaghetti-squash-spaghetti to that extra level, the one that makes me forget just a little bit that I'm eating a vegetable and not pasta.

I ended up tossing the squash with truffle oil and clarified butter, which helped recreate the cheesy-ish flavor I was craving. If I'd had any leftover nutritional yeast flakes, I think they really would have really done the trick.

For comparison, here's Cory's plate.

I was pretty jealous. I do have packages of gluten-free pasta on hand, and they're not bad, but I actually prefer spaghetti squash if we're doing a side by side comparison. Less of a weird, this-is-not-pasta aftertaste. Maybe that's just me.

Prepare your spaghetti squash however you see fit. If I'm feeling lazy, I de-seed it and cut into chunks and put in a casserole dish in the microwave with 1/4 cup of water for ten minutes. If I have time and want it fork-tender with a bit of a smoky flavor, I cut it in half, de-seed, prick all over with a fork, rub with olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees F until tender, about an hour. It's really up to you, each has their benefit!

Homemade (Paleo) Bolognese Sauce
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 roasted pepper (jarred), diced
  • 1 summer squash or zucchini, cubed very small
  • 1 chicken boullion cube, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbs Italian seasoning mix
  • 2 tbs maple syrup (if going non-paleo, 3 tbs of white sugar works best)
  • 2 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: one sardine, crushed
  • optional: splash of red wine

-In a large saucepan or dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and summer squash and cook until soft.

-Add all the the tomatoes and roasted red pepper. I occasionally will add a handful of plum tomatoes as well. Stir and let liquids reduce slightly, ten minutes or so. Add the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer.

-Keep heat as low as you can, and cook for as long as you can, stirring occasionally and scraping the bits from the bottom. 30 minutes is the very least, but two hours or more is best. If you have the time to transfer to a slow cooker, this is also an option.

-Once sauce is nearly done, in a separate skillet, brown your beef. When beef is done, drain the fat and add the beef to your sauce. Stir to combine, warm through, and serve over spaghetti squash.

*Toss spaghetti squash with butter and truffle oil to really ramp up the flavor.


  1. I love spaghetti squash, but I've never made it in a traditional pasta sort of way with bolognese sauce. Looks fabulous!


  2. Mmmm I love bolognese --so glad you still get to indulge thanks to spaghetti squash!