Friday, February 21, 2014

Paleo Pesto & Sausage Spaghetti Squash

The first time I tried my family out on spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute I went the pizza route. We also all adore pesto, and since it's such a traditional accompaniment to pasta I thought I would give it a go.

I make my own pesto, but I do sometimes see vegan varieties at Whole Foods, which would be paleo-compliant since they omit the cheese. While it's not the season for fresh basil, I still manage to find some that's decent enough… if you'd like to make your own and don't have a favorite recipe, this is the one I use most often.

While I chose to go with some sweet Italian sausage, you could spice things up a bit with a spicy one. I also chose to include some Parmesan cheese in my "breadcrumb" topping. Whenever I incorporate cheese in recipes I always like to point out that it's totally optional; if you are strictly paleo and not primal simply omit it. The topping will still be crispy and tasty!

Paleo Pesto & Sausage Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbs. olive oil
generous amount of salt, pepper, garlic powder & Italian seasoning
1/2 cup pesto
12 oz. sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tbs. coconut oil or butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Rub olive oil over squash and season with salt, pepper and garlic. Place cut side down on a baking sheet covered with tin foil.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, reducing oven temp to 400 when you remove squash. Allow cooked squash to sit until cool enough to handle. Using a fork, pull out the interior of the squash into threads and place in a large bowl.

While squash is baking, remove sausage from casing and cook in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat until no longer pink (using a wooden spoon to crumble).

Remove skillet from heat and make your "crumb" topping. Put almond meal, flax, oil or butter (NOT melted) in a food processor, along with a generous amount of salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. Pulse until mixture comes together in a dough.

Drain any excess grease from sausage in skillet, and stir in spaghetti squash. Stir in pesto and mix well.

Drop almond meal mixture over top of skillet. If using Parmesan cheese, grate over the top.

Place skillet in oven and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

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