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Turkey bolognese stuffed spaghetti squash

When it comes to fall, I crave curling up in the evenings with a hearty dinner and watching the leaves change. I notice my appetite shifting from chilled salads to something that warms my soul from within. Insert my stuffed spaghetti squash, filled with a delicious and nutritious homemade turkey bolognese. Topped with fresh basil, this meal tastes like you're eating a comforting pasta dish, but it's actually grain-free, gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 approved. Not only will this recipe make your tastebuds sing, but these ingredients will make your body feel good. You won't even miss the noodles, I promise!


Ingredients


1 spaghetti squash (or more depending on the size of your family, a half of a squash is one serving)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 package 93% lean, 7% fat ground turkey

5 teaspoons salt

5 teaspoons pepper

5 teaspoons garlic powder

5 teaspoons dried Italian herbs

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 diced sweet onion

3 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup torn basil (plus more for topping)

1 box Pomi tomato sauce (about 17.64 oz)

1 box Pomi finely chopped tomatoes (about 26.46 oz)

1 dried bay leaf

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


STEP 1:


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the outside of your spaghetti squash with hot water. Then, slice it vertically in half and scoop out the seeds.

Place each squash half on a foil lined baking sheet flesh side up, skin side down. (The inside should be facing towards you.)

Generously drizzle each half with olive oil (about 1/4 cup total for both halves) and season the halves with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

Flip the squash over so it's flesh side down, skin side up. (The outside should now be facing towards you.)

Place in the oven and roast 40 - 50 minutes.


STEP 2:


In a large dutch oven on medium high heat, brown your turkey in 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs. Once cooked through, remove the turkey with a slotted spoon so the juices stay in the pan and set aside in a separate dish.


STEP 3:


Sauté 1/2 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced carrots, 1/2 diced sweet onion, 3 minced garlic cloves (add these last so they don't burn) in the turkey drippings and olive oil. Add in 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs. When cooking, it's very important to season each layer, so the entire dish has flavor.


STEP 4:


Add in 1 teaspoon tomato paste and sauté into the veggies for about a minute.

Then, add in 1/4 cup chopped parsley and sauté into the veggies.

Pour in the tomato sauce and finely chopped tomatoes.

Add in 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Bring to a boil.

Then, turn your stove down to medium low heat and add back in your turkey meat.

Stir in 1/2 cup fresh torn basil. (Tear the basil into pieces with your hands.)

Add in 1 dried bay leaf. (You'll remove this once you're ready to serve. This just imparts flavor.)

Simmer on low for about 30 minutes to an hour.


STEP 5:


When you're ready to serve the sauce, stir in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. This adds brightness to the dish.

Take your squash from the oven and use two forks to shred the inside of the squash into strings of"spaghetti."

Spoon your turkey bolognese sauce right into the squash halves on top of the shredded "noodles."

Top with fresh parsley and basil. You can also add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Serve warm and enjoy!


Health benefits:


This recipe is LOADED with protein, veggies, vitamins and healthy carbs! Turkey is a wonderful satiating lean protein. It also contains tryptophan, which boosts serotonin levels, promoting that feeling of being in a good mood. Tomatoes prevent UV damage, helping to protect your skin from the sun. Carrots are packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene, which keep your eyes sharp. All of the garlic boosts your immune system during this season where everyone seems to catch a cold! Finally, the star of this dish, the spaghetti squash, is extremely low in calories but VERY filling. This ingredient aids in digestion, is cancer-fighting, filled with fiber and helps regulate your blood sugar. So, when you're digging into this divine dish, know you're setting your body and tastebuds up for success!



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