[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ately low carb nights have become a common theme in our house. Previously I have written before about how my husband followed a pretty strict carb cycling program that helped him drop 10 lbs. Now it’s more of a lifestyle for him. Typically we don’t eat many carbs during the week or if we do it’s a small amount like quinoa in a salad but pasta dishes are saved for the weekends. Recently he had sent me a link to a really good looking pasta dish with pesto and roasted tomatoes in it. Since it was a week night I didn’t want anything that heavy for dinner so I started thinking about what else I could make.
Often times I don’t follow recipes. Let me re-state that, for COOKING I do not follow recipes, for baking that’s a different story. However, I will look at recipes and get ideas and inspirations but I can’t say there are many recipes I follow strictly. When I started thinking about low-carb dinners I came back to the pasta recipe he sent me. In general, spaghetti squash is always a nice substitute for pasta. Texture wise the two are similar if you think about angel hair pasta. When the squash is plain you are able to taste the sweet flavor it naturally has. The squash will be more noodle-like when covered in a sauce. Using inspiration from the recipe Chase sent to me I decided to go with a pesto squash.
As you all know from reading pretty much any other blog post of mine, I LOVE incorporating vegetables to any dish I make. Roasting vegetables in the oven is one of the easiest ways to cook them. All you have to do is season them and forget about them for 30-40 minutes which is perfect since the spaghetti squash takes about that long to cook. Besides, roasting the veggies let’s you use your oven for the entire meal instead of using your stove. When I roast veggies I just rough cut them into chunks (not too big think the size of a normal mouthful of food) and season them accordingly to whatever style food I am making. Furthermore roasting whole garlic cloves with the veggies will help enhance the garlic in the pesto. Plus roasting the garlic brings out a sweetness to it.
Once both the spaghetti squash and the vegetables are done roasting in the oven, the rest of the meal comes together quickly. You can create “noodles” with the squash when you use a fork to shred it. Next I chose to toss the veggies, pesto and “noodles” in a large bowl. Afterwards I stuffed the mixture back into the squash shell just for appearance. If you didn’t want to take this extra step you can just put the mixture into a baking dish. Finally the dish is topped with some fresh mozzarella cheese and then placed under the broiler for a few minutes to heat everything together and melt the cheese.
When you use spaghetti squash instead of pasta it’s a good way to get more vegetables incorporated into your meal. While this vegetarian dish is complete on it’s own, you could add some grilled chicken to the dish if you truly cannot do without the meat. Not only is this meal healthy, low carb and full of veggies it also is easy to make and tastes great too!