A Favorite Grain-Free Meal

If you are looking to get more vegetables in a meal and less grains, here’s a winner to file away!  If you’re doing a grain-free diet for health purposes, this is a great meal to help make the transition easier for you and your family!  Oh, the whines of the early stages of change.  I think we ate it about 3 times a week when I was transitioning us to GAPS diet last summer!

Spaghetti With Meat Sauce:

1 large spaghetti squash
3 tablespoonsful olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 larger cloves of minced garlic, or as much or as little as you like
1 cup of finely chopped carrots
1 quart of tomato sauce
1/2 quart canned whole tomatoes
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar (if SCD or GAPS, read labels closely for any added ingredients like sugar or preservatives)
1 teaspoonful salt, or to taste
1 teaspoonful pepper
3 teaspoonsful dried oregano, or to taste
3 teaspoonsful dried basil, or to taste
3 teaspoonsful dried parsley, or to taste
1/2 pound ground beef (we go light on the meat, sometimes even leave it out, but add how much you want)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.   Place the cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet filled partially with water.Halved squash
3.  Place in oven and bake for one hour or until softly, fork tender (I pierce it with a fork through the rind to check it).
4.  While squash is baking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add chopped onion, minced garlic, chopped green pepper, and chopped carrots.  Saute until onion is soft and maybe lightly browned.
5.  Into large skillet, add the tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar.  Also, add the salt, pepper, and dried spices.
6.  Simmer while squash is cooking.  Simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit, about 20-30 minutes.
7.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef but don’t add it to the sauce yet.
8.  Once the sauce has reduced and thickened, use an immersion blender or pour into your countertop blender and blend the sauce smooth.  Or just a bit chunky if you like it that way.
9.  Add ground beef and mix well.  Keep warm until squash is ready.
10.  When squash is finished baking, allow it to cool.  But I never do.  I wear an oven mitt and struggle along.  Use a fork from side to side and loosen up the fibers of the squash.  Scrape into a serving bowl or onto a plate.Stringed squash
11.  Top with sauce.
12.  We are dairy free, or I’d grate some cheese on top.  I compromise with sprinkling some more dried basil, oregano, and parsley on top to give it a bit of texture on top like when I’d use that parmesan cheese that comes in the green can.

A very cool idea for a smaller squash is to fork up the noodles a bit but leave them in the squash shell.  Add your sauce on top, and if you can add cheese on top, add some cheese and place back in the oven to melt and brown the cheese.  Serve the “spaghetti” in the “bowl.”  Compliments of my sister.  Thank you!

Family “gustar” report:  This is a favorite of 2/3 kids.  The youngest doesn’t like tomatoes.  Gives her reflux.  My husband thinks it’s a great meal.  I think it’s delicious.  So it’s 4/5.  My standard American diet mother-in-law and father-in-law liked it a lot.  I love to see that!  And when they say, “So how do you do the squash?”  And even my persnickity youngest sister thought it was good!  Success!!  Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables!!!

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