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. Scrape out seeds and place on a baking sheet. 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.

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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