So here I go….obsessing yet again, over another vegetable dish…..spaghetti squash! I’m sure I’ve dreamed of it since can’t stop wanting to make it for dinner…..all too often! Spaghetti winter squash is so abundant right now and very comforting in the cool temperatures and it’s been a perfectly acceptable candida meal-bonus!! It’s much less starchy and far less sweet than many other squash with a higher water content. And the texture…..oh so yummy and reminescent of noodles. If you’ve never tried it, this is a simple recipe that will surely have you hooked! The recipe isn’t rocket science, nor incredibly unique. However, many recipes include tomato sauce of some sort but often it is from a jar. Instead, this recipe combines fresh tomatoes quickly sauteed with onion and garlic to make a homemade filling for this noodle like squash.
Winter squash is the primary food source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene in the entire diet! -thus it is very high in Vitamin A as well as Vitamin C, B6, Vitamin K, and minerals manganese, potassium, copper and magnesium to name a few. A good dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is also of great benefit. All these nutrients will benefit the body by helping to prevent cancer and heart disease while improving brain function. Of course because we have baked it, we will lose some of the vitamins, especially vitamin C, being very sensitive to heat, but the minerals are not affected by the heat. Thus I recommend always to have a salad of raw colourful veggies and greens to complement a cooked dish to ensure that you don’t miss out on any nutrients and to replace lost enzymes that are helpful in digestion of the cooked food.
Studies have shown that all starch is not the same, especially not the starch content of winter squash which provides some key health benefits. The starches found in squash are carbs that are derived from the polysaccharides (natural sugars) found in the cell walls. These include pectins that have been found to have antioxidant qualities as well as anti-inflammatory. Also beneficial to consume as an insulin regulating and anti-diabetic measure. Typical starches found in highly refined foods like white pasta, & baked goods with refined flours, especially breads would have the opposite qualities as they have lost their nutritional fiber and are no longer whole foods as nature intended them to be digested. They easily convert to sugars and spike the blood sugar levels, leading to futher cravings of refined foods, creating a vicious cycle. This is why it is sooo difficult to stop eating refined carbs.
This is also the leading cause of weight gain (along with stress and binge eating that often accompanies it) as the the starches that become sugars most likely do not get used for energy as the volume is too great and exercise is typically low in many individuals, thus the body begins to store it as fat. It takes a lot of will power to change this cycle of eating and weight gain but….. with a balanced whole foods lifestyle diet and a 70-30% alkaline-acid ratio, you can shed those fat cells, returning to your optimal body weight without the dangers that many fad diets encounter. What will happen is the body will begin to burn the fat stores when you stop contributing to the storage depots with refined carbs! Your body gets so excited by the intake of nutrients that it trusts that you will continue feeding it in this healthy manner and will let go of it’s safety net of excess fat deposits. The bonus here is that toxins that we are exposed to via pesticides and environmental sources will also be shed as they are resting in the fatty deposits. You will feel amazing since your body will detox as it sheds weight. If you struggle with your weight, I highly recommend leaning into a whole foods lifestyle and incorporating much higher intake of vegetables, many of which should be dark leafy greens in smoothies for breakfast, green juice as well as salad at lunch and dinner. You will be utterly amazed at the difference in energy and clothing sizes! The great thing is that you will lose it at a nice pace, with sustainable weight loss if a continued healthy, balanced diet is adhered to.
So this is a perfect place to start eating healthy and for potential weight reduction. This meal is completely satisfying, very simple to make and incredibly nutritious. Just don’t forget the salad to go along side it!
Tomato Basil stuffed Spaghetti Squash w/ Garlic Almond Cheeze
Yield: 4 servings
2 med organic spaghetti squash
12 organic roma tomatoes, diced
4 organic leeks chopped, or one organic onion diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch himilayan salt
pinch stevia powder
8 tbsp chopped fresh basil
optional – 6 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
Halve both squash, scoop out seeds and loose fibers. Bake face down on baking sheet with 2 cups water in pan for approx 1 hour at 300°F til spaghetti squash is fork tender and spaghetti strings pull freely from the skin. While squash is baking, saute onion & garlic with olive oil in saute pan over low heat til translucent. Alternatively, you can steam fry the garlic and onions adding 3-6 tbsp water as needed, until tender and then add olive oil upon completion of sauteing. Add diced tomatoes (and sundried tomatoes now if using) and cook on low for about 6-8 mins til heated thru and softened. Add 1/2 chopped basil, salt and a pinch of powdered green stevia to sweeten slightly-don’t over do this or you can ruin the dish-taste as you go. Place 1/2 mixture in blender and process til combined but Not pureed. Be careful, as this mixture is very hot and can pop the lid off your blender. If blender pitcher is more than 1/3 full, do this process in two batches. Pour back into pan and stir mixtures together. Turn off heat until squash is ready. Using a paring knife stroke the length wise once or twice in each squash to cut noodles in half or in thirds making them easier to eat. Re-heat sauce gently if needed and spoon into each squash half and top with fresh basil. Sprinkle with almond nut cheeze (recipe below) and serve with extra nut cheeze.
For Garlic Almond Cheeze
2/3 cup organic raw almonds
1 clove fresh garlic
1/4 tsp Himilayan salt
Combine in food processor or high speed blender til nicely ground. Pour into bowl for serving along with squash.
The seeds from winter squash make a great snack food, just like pumpkin seeds. I usually like to roast the seeds while baking the squash. Place washed and patted dry seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet with a little drizzle of olive oil and sea salt and lightly roast them at 250-300°F in the oven for 20-30 minutes til crisp. By roasting them for a relatively short time at a low temperature you can help minimize damage to their healthy oils.
Here you can kinda see the noodle texture, but not so prominent in this particular variety of spaghetti squash. This variety of spaghetti squash is called “Small wonder” and has an even higher beta-carotene content than other spaghetti squash. You can tell it apart by it’s much brighter orange skin than the more common mellow yellow skinned varieties.
I have indicated “organic” for the squash and veggies since the scary facts on conventional growing practices and GMO’s are becoming so widely recognized. Winter squash is is planted as a food crop that is often used to improve the soil qualities and remmediate contaminated soils as it has a tendency to effectively pull contaminants from the soil. It isn’t the conventional farmers sole intention to sell contaminated squash but squash has a tendency to behave this way. Thus it is highly recommended to buy organic as one never knows how contaminated the original soil may have been that the squash was grown in. Organic crops will have much lower chance of containing undesirable levels of contaminants as their soils are far cleaner since no pesticides are used in their growing methods thus previous crops wouldn’t leave a residue. Of course this is dependent on run off from possible neighboring conventional farms but the incidence will still be considerably lower.
I wish I had more time to share but it’s high time I got back to studying for my vitamins and minerals test this week. I have many yet to memorize and know well enough to be quizzed on them! I’m doing my best to fit all this info into my brain in hopes that it will be there when I wish to retrieve it for the test and for down the road with out so much Google-ing! Do you have any study secrets for me? If you have any great tips on how better to synthesize study materials (besides eating tons of healthy brain food which I do do) I’d love to hear from you! It’s been a long time since I was a student and any hints would be much appreciated! I just picked up some lecithin-precursor to phosphatidylserine or PST to add to my smoothies- brain food I hear…. so I hope that will help!
Have a great week and sorry for such a short session today:)