This is one of my favorite Fall meals. It's comforting and familiar - who doesn't love a spaghetti dinner? - without being heavy and coma-inducing.
The spaghetti squash is a Fat Loss Foodie go-to vegetable, especially in colder months when we all get the hankering for pasta dishes with meat and cheese and heavier casseroles that don't necessarily fit our goals. A cup of cooked spaghetti squash has only 42 calories and a measly 10 grams of carbs (2 grams are from fiber).
Compare that to a cup of regular spaghetti made from flour:
220 calories and 43 grams of carbs (2.5 from fiber)
The spaghetti squash is a clear winner for fat loss, and this recipe could not be more simple! There is no squash hacking or sawing necessary. Just pierce a whole squash a few times with a paring knife and roast it whole in a small baking dish. The real fun is scooping the strands of noodle-like squash out with a fork after it's roasted and cooled!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
sea salt & black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick the squash all over.
2. Place in an 8x8” glass or metal baking pan and roast for 40-45 minutes. Flip the squash and return to the oven, baking for 40-45 more minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.
3. When cool enough to handle, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Discard. Using a fork, scrape the roasted squash out of the shells and into a bowl. Season lightly with salt & pepper and top with sauce of your choice.
Spicy Turkey Sausage Marinara
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz. can of tomato sauce
zest of one lemon
1 lb. of spicy turkey sausage, casings removed, and browned
Optional: Use 1/2 a pound of ground turkey and 1/2 a pound of turkey sausage
1. Combine olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt and garlic in a cold saucepan. Turn the heat to medium high and stir the olive oil mixture until fragrant, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. (Note: You don’t want the garlic to brown.)
2. Quickly pour in the can of tomato sauce and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and taste for seasonings. Add salt & pepper now if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.
3. Add browned sausage and stir into the finished sauce now. Serve over roasted spaghetti squash. Top with freshly chopped Italian parsley and a shaving of fresh Parmesan cheese.
FAT LOSS FOODIE TIP: I typically use Trader Joe's turkey sausage in this dish, but use what you can find. It's much leaner than pork sausage. If you’re short on time and need a topping for your roasted spaghetti squash, grab a jarred sauce that is low in sugar. My favorite is Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara. Whatever you do, don’t skip the lemon zest, even if you use a bottle sauce. It may sound strange, but it makes the sauce!