I’ve got another pasta substitute for you today. It’s not extremely unique but it is delicious.
I feel like the spaghetti squash is nature’s way of telling us we don’t need noodles to get a pasta fix. There are a fair amount of carbs in squash, approximately 7 grams in 1 cup cubed (source: USDA). I find that 1 1/2 cups is a good serving size (about half a medium squash) for me when it comes to subbing out for pasta. Compare this to the recommended serving size of 1 1/4 c. linguini by Buitoni.com, which contains 45 grams of carbohydrates. Quite a big difference.
So setting aside the pro-inflammatory nature of wheat (not to mention Buitoni contains soy lecithin?!), strictly taking carbohydrates into consideration offers the idea that trading out your pasta for a lower carb alternative is a good idea. That is if you care about adapting a fat-burning body rather than a sugar-burning body (see more here and here). Eating 45+ grams of carbohydrates in one sitting is guaranteed to cause subsequent energy lags (afternoon slump) and sugar cravings, fueling a life of inconsistent energy levels.
We’ll talk about it more soon on The Blackboard, but I wanted to give a brief intro here and offer some motivation to swap out that pasta for a more natural alternative.
Whether a novice at foregoing pasta or grain-free for years, you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out on something. And although there are many great spaghetti squash recipes out there, I can reassure you that this one will not leave you lacking.
Bright lemon juice enhances the flavor in the roasted squash. The sauteed chicken and kale provide a heartiness that will help to fill you up. Homemade chicken broth gives bone-strengthening nutrients. And grass-fed butter provides a creamy sauce but also supplies great vitamins, minerals, and medium-chain fatty acids, which will help to promote naturally balanced energy levels through the day (coconut oil can do this as well).
Plus it’s just so yummy. Sage is one of my favorites and I use it as much as possible in the fall. Try it, let me know what you think of it!
Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Chicken & Sage
Yields: 2 servings
1 medium spaghetti squash
2-4 T. 100% Pure Avocado Oil, divided
1-2 free-range chicken breasts, cut into strips (adjust based on size of breasts and desired amount of protein)
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 c. chicken broth (homemade, if possible)
2 c. chopped kale or chard
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sage leaves, chopped
1/2 t. sea salt, plus more for seasoning squash & chicken
1/4 ground pepper, plus more for seasoning squash & chicken
2-3 T. grass-fed butter, cut into 3 chunks
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Trim the ends of the spaghetti squash. Cut it in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds (a grapefruit spoon works really well here). Drizzle with avocado oil and season generally with salt and pepper. Place the squash face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until browned (as shown above). Remove and let cool before shredding into “pasta” threads with a fork.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Season chicken strips well with salt and pepper. Add avocado oil to the pan to heat, then add the seasoned chicken strips. Cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove promptly to avoid overcooking and let rest on a plate covered with foil.
Reduce the heat to medium and add chicken stock and lemon juice. Stir and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the kale, garlic, sage, 1/2 t. sea salt, and 1/4 t. ground pepper. Stir and cover. Cook 5 minutes covered to soften the kale. Uncover and cook another 5-10 minutes, or until the sauces have reduced by half (only a thin layer will remain in the pan). Remove from heat and add the butter. Allow to melt without stirring (it will make the sauce creamy and help it to coat the spaghetti squash).
Add the shredded spaghetti squash to the pan and gently toss to combine with the sauce. Portion between two bowls and top with the cooked chicken. Enjoy immediately!