We’re already almost through the month of February and the MLB (meat lovin’ boyfriend) and I have less than 6 weeks until our trip to Mexico. Our typical vaca in paradise equates to laying on the beach, sipping boozy tropical concoctions and soaking up enough Vitamin D to last us to summer (which for Seattlites is like, a LOT). This means we’ll be living in our bathing suits for pretty much an entire week, which means it’s crunch time (literally).
Now don’t get me wrong, I pride myself on making nourishing, health-conscious meals 97% of the time. But it’s tough to fend off those comfort food cravings during winter, and even vegan recipes can contain less than ideal ingredients like sugar, sodium, refined oils, processed ingredients and fat (vegan mac n’ cheese has made me it’s bitch!).
So as of late I’ve been trying to make meals a bit on the lighter side as well as chockful of superfood, metabolism-boosting, all natural ingredients. MLB has also requested meals with less carbs as they are both of our weaknesses and we suffer from a disorder you may have heard of called “portion control.”
And thus, this dish was born. The pesto is a seriously tasty mix of low-calorie, super flavorful herbs with powerful properties (basil is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants and sage can be used to alleviate stomach pains, cramping and even asthma), pine nuts (contain pinoleic acid, which makes you feel fuller faster, and thus aids in weight loss), and nutritional yeast (which gives the pesto that insanely delicious cheesy flavor as well as adds a ton of B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein). And that’s just the sauce!
Then you take that powerhouse pesto and mix it in with roasted spaghetti squash, which adds a delicious pasta-like texture without the additional carbs and calories that are synonymous with those starchy noodles. Quite the contrary actually, as one cup of cooked squash contains only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates. But let’s talk about what it does have- tons of essential vitamins and minerals and fiber (which helps remove cholesterol from your body, assists in regulating your blood sugar and also helps you feel fuller longer). Fiber also adds bulk to your stool, helping prevent constipation, which is crucial as nobody wants a food baby when they have to subsequently wear a bikini.
So yeah, this meal is ideal for when you’re trying to get extra lean and mean (well, so far I’ve got the second part nailed down). But the best part is, it’s freaking delicious, so you won’t feel deprived when you eat it. In fact I guarantee you’ll develop cravings for it, just as you would your favorite pasta (minus the calories, carbs and fat). MLB certainly loves this dish, and he’s Italian, so that’s really saying something.
Buon Appetito bikini- rocking Betches!
1 spaghetti squash, sliced lengthwise in half and seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil to drizzle
sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce holes in the skin of squash with a sharp knife. Drizzle with olive oil and rub minced garlic, sea salt and pepper on the flesh. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 45 minutes to an hour (the time will vary depending on the size of the squash).
2. While your squash is cooking, put all your pesto ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil into a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add the oil periodically or slowly until mixed in well.
3. Once your squash is finished roasting flake the flesh with a fork and it will separate into long, pasta like strands. Scoop squash into a bowl and toss with fresh pesto sauce. Serve with a green salad and some roasted broccolini for a feast that anyone from Mario Batalli to Fitness Guru Jillian Harris would enjoy.
*Side note- Hurry up and make this dish as squash season is coming to a close. During the summer this pesto would pair perfectly with zucchini noodles or even tofu scrambles, on sandwiches, pizza, etc.