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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Replacing Spaghetti, Low-Carb Style

I picked up a spaghetti squash at the farmer's market Saturday, along with some onions, a few zucchini, and a yellow squash (and myriad other things that aren't part of the picture above). Tonight, I baked the squash and then mixed it with 2 cans of El Pato and an onion, a zucchini, and the yellow squash, which I had sauteed in some beef tallow. On the other part of the plate are 4 pastured chicken thighs that I also picked up at the farmer's market. And sorry for the poor lighting, but I was hungry and didn't feel like moving the food for a better picture.

So what's my point? Essentially I could have turned this into a standard Italian dinner by using spaghetti sauce instead of El Pato. Spaghetti squash is a perfect replacement for spaghetti. If you think about it, spaghetti really has no flavor. It is merely a carrier for whatever sauce is on it. Spaghetti squash has a really mild flavor and I find it to be tastier than spaghetti, since it actually has a flavor. The flavor is slightly nutty and the texture is a touch crunchy. No more need for "low-carb spaghetti" since you can avoid the crappy grain products and use an all-natural item for your Italian fix. I was also able to fit in quite a range of other vegetables as well (although it's weird mixing winter squash and summer squash).

Now for the nutritional differences (1 cup of each):
Whole-wheat Spaghetti
31g net carbs
174 calories

Spaghetti squash
8g net carbs
42 calories

I think the winner, hands down, is spaghetti squash, even when compared against the "healthful" whole-wheat spaghetti.

To bake a spaghetti squash, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and place both halves face down in about 1" of water. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Then simply run a fork through the center of the squash to bring out the middle in strands, hence spaghetti squash. Top it with your favorite spaghetti sauce and some meatballs and you have Italian.

And the tasty beverage you see behind the plate is a Young's Oatmeal Stout. This stuff is the Nectar of the Gods with hints of chocolate, coffee, maybe a touch of caramel and a thick lingering head. Were I a big-time drinker, I think I could put a keg of this stuff away.