My blonde hair and blue-green eyes notwithstanding, I am half Italian by DNA and full Italian by culture and hot-blooded, passionate personality. I was raised by my grandparents (my 100% Italian grandfather, and my born-Irish-but-Italian-by-decades-of-marriage grandmother). This means I was born and raised on pasta.
I'm talking big bowls of it, topped with my Grandma Colavecchio's Sunday 'gravy' (meatballs, sausage, pork in tomato sauce) that had simmered all afternoon in a big pot on her stove. In middle school, my afterschool snack was always leftovers of some Italian dish - stuffed eggplants, chicken cutlets, etc. - always served over penne, ditalini, linguini or cappellini. Grandma was happy to serve, and always urged me to "have a little more!" since that is what Italian cooks do.
So the following post will truly horrify her pasta-eating sensibilities. Though she will likely appreciate the ample serving size!
See, I'm going all in on this new Paleo eating I started several weeks ago. But I still love tomato sauce and a big bowl of pasta. Oh, and the weather is finally cooling off slightly so I crave all things pumpkin. So this weekend, with just three ingredients I picked up at Fresh Market (I go there so much, I should have a designated parking spot!), I created an awesome "pasta" bowl using spaghetti squash, bruschetta and pumpkin. I topped it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast seasoning, which tastes like cheese but is packed with nutrients. (Try it before you wrinkle your nose at the name!)
It was so incredibly easy, I hesitate to even call it a 'recipe.' But it sure tasted amazing, and thanks to the lycopene-rich tomato bruschetta sauce and the vitamin-and-fiber-rich pumpkin, it is really nutritious.
The spaghetti squash also keeps the calorie count very low, yet it was so filling! One cup of spaghetti squash (about half of a baked squash) has a mere 40 calories, 10 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of sugar plus a little protein. Compare that to a cup of cooked pasta, which has about 200 calories and 37 grams of carbs. So even if you aren't into Paleo eating, this dish is a great way to keep your caloric intake down while still enjoying a "pasta bowl."
Sunday night, I added some shredded rotisserie chicken breast from Fresh Market for extra protein after teaching Power Core and bootcamp back to back. My muscles were happy!
Here's the "recipe." As Grandma would say, Mangia!
Shannon's Fall Pasta Paleo Bowl
- 1/2 of a spaghetti squash, baked
- 1/2 small jar of tomato bruschetta sauce (Fresh Market has tons; I used Bella Famiglia's)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (or grated romano cheese if you aren't going Paleo)
- Optional: shredded cooked chicken breast
1. Pierce the squash with a fork several times. Bake in a 375-degree oven for an hour to 90 minutes, or until tender when tested with a fork.
2. Cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds. Using a fork, pull at the squash, like you would pulled pork, to create the strands of "spaghetti." Place into a bowl.
3. Separately, blend together with a spoon the heated bruschetta and pumpkin. Spoon it over the top of the pasta.
4. Sprinkle with the yeast or cheese and enjoy!
Coming this week: A Shoulder Shockers WOD, and 5 Must-Have Kitchen Appliances for Badass-Approved Healthy Eating