Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Ragu + 3 Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes

 

spaghetti squash with lentil ragu

Spaghetti squash doesn’t get the most love this time of year. Pumpkin is all-pervasive and butternut is a little prettier.

But spaghetti squash has one feature that differentiates it from the rest of the squashes and makes it a valuable tool in your fall recipe arsenal.

 

Spaghetti squash is a wonderful pasta replacement.

After roasting, spaghetti squash can be easily broken into strands that are the perfect vehicle for your favorite sauces.

 

It’s a great gluten-free, low-carb alternative to spaghetti. Plus, you don’t have to miss all of your favorite sauces, even if you are cutting out pasta from your diet.

 

A warning: spaghetti squash is not a perfect replacement. You will KNOW that you’re not eating regular pasta. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious!

 

Note that spaghetti squash is more fragile than pasta. If you plan to re-heat it, be gentle with it, so it doesn’t squish together instead of keeping it’s separate strands. However, squash still is a great vehicle for a delicious sauce?

 

Today, I’m sharing 3 of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes from around the web, plus a recipe that I have been cooking my kitchen this fall season!

 

Leave your comments below: have you tried spaghetti squash? Did it live up to the spaghetti-replacement hype?

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 

Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes I Love

 

Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli Pesto from Green Kitchen Stories

Get the Pesto Recipe HERE

green kitchen stories broccoli pesto

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash from Love & Lemons

Get the Recipe HERE

stuffed spaghetti squash love and lemons

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Parmasean from Pickled Plum

Get the Recipe HERE

mushroomspickeledplum

 

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Ragu from Happy Healthy Human!

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Ragu
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Ingredients
  • One Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • ½ yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 1 can chopped or diced tomatoes (make sure there is no added salt or sugar)
  • 1 large portobello cap, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roast the squash: cut the spaghetti squash in half, salt generously, and lay cut side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the squash at 425F for 40-50 minutes or until soft.
  3. While the squash bakes, drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat.
  4. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion, salt, and sauté until onions turn soft (~10 minutes)
  5. Add mushrooms and zucchini and stir to coat.
  6. After 2 minutes, add canned tomatoes and stir.
  7. Adjust heat to keep the sauce simmering for ~20-30 minutes.
  8. Add cooked lentils, add salt and pepper to taste, and heat through for 3-4 minutes.
  9. When complete, use a fork to break the spaghetti squash into strands. Lay spaghetti squash on the plate and spoon ragu on top.
  10. Serve warm for best results!

 


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Faster is better, right?

downsides of living too fast

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.

I think it started in the first grade. That’s when they first gave those timed math tests. You’d have to do addition problems as fast as you can, seeing how many you could complete before the timer went off.

Taking your time meant missed opportunities for more points. Pondering your answers was out of the question. Your job was to just move on to the next one.

Many of us still take this “faster is better” approach in our personal and professional lives. How quickly can we get that report back to the boss? What’s the fastest dinner we can make? 8-minute workout, please?

Our desire for more causes us to get into hyper-efficiency mode, trying to crunch as much as possible into as little time as possible.

But there are important downsides to this fast-moving life.
Continue reading…


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What are nitrates, and should you worry about eating them?

Hi Friends.

Today I want to talk with you about a little molecule that causes a lot of strife in the nutrition world.

Nitrates.

Nitrate is a chemical compound that has a nitrogen atom connected to three oxygen atoms.

We find nitrate naturally in nutritious vegetables like beets, spinach, and other dark leafy greens. But, they are also added to products like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats to make them a more vibrant color and give them a longer shelf-life.

Nitrates can follow two different pathways in your body.

Nitrates are an important part of your diet because they can lower your blood pressure. Nitrates lower your blood pressure when they form nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator (meaning it relaxes your blood vessels).

In fact, a recent study found that drinking raw beet juice reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients just as much as taking blood pressure medication!

Nitrates in beets and spinach are so good for you because they have a high antioxidant content. These antioxidants make it more likely for nitrates to turn into nitric oxide.

Nitrates in processed meats have been associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

This is because the nitrates in processed meats are more likely to form nitroasamines.
Nitrates in processed meats don’t have antioxidants to promote nitric oxide formation. And, the presence of protein in the meat makes it more likely for nitrosamines to form.

So, depending on which pathway the nitrates follow, nitrates are either good for you (forming nitric oxide), or bad for you (forming nitrosamines).

You also have to pay attention to your mouth microbiome.
It turns out that an important component of the nitrate to nitric oxide pathway is your mouth bacteria. That’s right, just like your microbiome in your intestines, the bacteria in your mouth play an important role in your health. The bacteria in your mouth promote the formation of nitrites, which sets them up for the nitric oxide pathway.

How do you get the benefits of nitrates without the risks?

    Get your nitrates from antioxidant-rich veggies. Beets, celery, dark leafy greens – Love these water- and nitrate-rich foods to help keep your blood pressure in check.
  1. Look for nitrate-free meats Look for uncured bacon and nitrate-free deli meats to make sure you’re not getting too many of these nitrates from protein-rich sources that promote nitrosamine formation.
  2. Cook your processed meats low and slow. If you are eating a processed meat product, cook it low and slow. Nitrosamine formation increases at high heat and when the meat gets burned or charred. A microwave can actually be the best way to cook your bacon!
  3. Move away from the mouthwash. Mouthwash can feel like you’re doing good things for your body, but it’s actually killing all of those beneficial bacteria that are needed to actually convert the nitrates to the nitric oxide pathway. So stick to plain ol’ brushing, flossing, and even oil pulling for your best oral hygiene.

To learn more about nitrates in video form, check out my recent Periscope!


 

Make sure to follow along at HappyHealthySam.
 
 

Want to join the discussion after the show? Join our FREE private Facebook group to continue the conversation!

 
 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig
 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


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Don’t choose the chicken or the egg, just get started

So a question for you: what came first, the chicken or the egg?

We need to chicken to make the egg. But without the egg, how did the chicken come to be?

 

We laugh at this childhood conundrum, but many of us are living it out every day. We ask ourselves:

    • How do we lose weight? Does it come with better eating or more exercise?
    • How do we feel less stress? Do we say no more, or do we add more low-stress activities to our lives?
    • How do we get more productive? Do we turn off email or do we download a new app to help organize?

We take these questions much more seriously than the “chicken or the egg” one, and finding the answer can become paralyzing. Instead of just taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or packing a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack, we think we need to make a grand plan and revolutionize all of our activities at once.

I’m here to tell you that similar the chicken or the egg question….it doesn’t matter what you choose. The diet or the exercise. Less email or more tools.

What matters is that you start SOMEWHERE. Because the huge secret to achieving your goal, whether it be weight loss, more energy, or less stress, is to start somewhere and just keep going.

The experts know that habits clump together. So start with one thing that you KNOW will bring you closer to your goals, and just do it. Over time, doing it will become easier, and you’ll be able to add more healthy habits in to your repertoire, until healthy choices become the norm throughout your day.

Where you begin matters less than remembering to KEEP GOING. Day after day, you slowly retrain your brain to act in a way that promotes your health.

That means that you need a system for accountability. You need someone to tell you if you’re getting off track, and someone to celebrate with when you stay on course.

A little guidance on which healthy habits to choose can also be useful. Many of us get stuck because we don’t know what to change. That’s why a framework to get you started and to keep you moving towards your goals can make or break your success

Introducing Happy Healthy Human Pro.

Happy Healthy Pro is my new program to help my dear readers, viewers, and members of the community start building healthy eating and living habits in to their everyday life.

Together, we will focus on specific habits that can help you lose weight, eat better, and live happier. Happy Healthy Human Pro provides you with structured support throughout the week, so you can take these strategies I share with you on a weekly basis and make them a natural part of your day.

I built this program to provide guidance, information, accountability, and support: all of the things you need to achieve your unique health goals. The program includes video content, an interactive Facebook group,and extra resources to keep you living happier and healthier every day.

The most beautiful part? I am offering this program on a sliding scale because I want all members of our community to be able to access this powerful content.

Click here for more information, and thank you for considering becoming a Pro. If there’s someone in your life that you feel could benefit from this program, I’d be very grateful if you pass it along.

The program starts October 15th, so sign up today!

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


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Ginger-y delicious energy bar recipe

ginger energy bar recipe 1Confession: I am a Periscope addict.

 

Seriously. I had always heard about people being obsessed with social media..but I never got that bug. Sure…I’m on Facebook. Yes, taking photos on Instagram is pretty fun.

 

But Periscope is so much better than that (for me). It’s like a big party! You show up every day, see all of your friends, and (in my case) talk about nutrition and health.
Continue reading…


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Gratitude is Boring: revive your lifeless practice today

tips for more gratitude

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.

Having a gratitude practice is a bit “in vogue” right now. From celebrities to self-help books, people are claiming that gratitude helps you feel happy, attract a mate, reduce stress, and even prevent disease!
Continue reading…


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I am here for you

following your intuition

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.
“The greatest gift we can give someone else is our presence”. I agree – true listening can be powerful. It helps us connect more deeply with those around us. It helps us to anticipate needs and respond appropriately. Most importantly, true presence ensures that the other person actually feels listened to.

Continue reading…


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Quiet the mind chatter for good

quiet your mind photo
Image courtesy of janeheller.com

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.
 

Do you ever just wish your brain would turn off? So many of us walk around with a constant stream of consciousness bubbling through our heads. We’re analyzing the past, predicting the future, checking off to-do list items, and thinking thinking thinking about how to solve problems.
 
This last weekend, I was talking with my dear friend Jess about the brain chatter, and particularly how we both have a hard time getting out of our brains to make the decisions that we truly want and need to make.
 
Continue reading…


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3 surprising reasons you’re having that food craving

food craving photo
You know the feeling. You’re innocently going about your day when suddenly – all you can think about is food. You’re seriously consumed with the thought of “what is the next thing I can get in my belly?” All thoughts about the report you’re writing, the meeting your attending, or what your friend is saying goes to the wayside.

 

In my experience, these sudden-onset cravings often come as a surprise. Sometimes they appear just one short hour after lunch, or in the midst of a rather indulgent holiday or weekend. There’s no reason why I should be hungry, yet I can’t deny that my brain is fully focused on priority number one: food.

 

I experienced the surprise cravings a lot during my recent (food-filled) trip to Savannah, Georgia, so I began to investigate: why was I feeling hungry if I had enough calories?

 

What I found was 3 surprising reasons why you may feel hungry, even if you’re eating enough calories. If you’ve ever fought with yourself over whether you truly are hungry and need food, or if you’re just having a craving, you need to read on!

Continue reading…


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How to keep focused on your mission

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.
 

Have you ever found yourself doggedly working for a specific goal, only to wake up one morning asking yourself “how did I get here?” So often, we get caught up in the minutiae of our current project that we lose sight of our overarching goal or mission.
 
The same thing can happen in our personal lives – we get caught up in cleaning up the dinner dishes, driving kids to soccer practice, getting up going to work coming home going to sleep that our actions lose their intended meaning.
 
This is a dangerous place to be. When we lose sight of the overarching goal or mission, we stop making the best decisions. We choose what looks best at the moment, we determine the most reasonable, practical decision, instead of what ultimately serves our project or life best.
 
If on the other hand, you keep your eye on the prize, it’s so much easier to stay on your path. Sure, you may make minor calibrations, but you lose the need for major overhauls. It saves time, money, and sanity.
 
So how do you keep your eye on the grand prize, even when you’re caught in the weeds?
 

1.Make sure you know your mission from the beginning.

Whether large or small, at some point in the life of your project you have to justify to yourself (and potentially to others) why you are doing what you are doing.
 
Who are you serving, and what is the value of what you are doing? Name your why, as Simon Sinek says, and make sure your product or project solves a problem. If you’re naming a why for your family – what are your core values for your time together? Rally the troops, whether it’s colleagues, family, or friends, and figure out why it is you do what you do.
 

2.Make sure you know what your mission is NOT.

Amazingly, knowing what you’re not doing or what you don’t stand for can be just as important as knowing what you do. No project or product solves every problem or addresses everyone’s needs, so what are purposefully not addressing?
 
Naming what you’re not is one of the most important boundaries you can set, because inevitably, someone will ask why you’re not adding a certain feature or addressing a certain need. You need to know why you aren’t you running and swimming or why you choose to bring store-bought food to the potluck. If you’re not clear on what you’re not, you’ll end up living other people’s values instead of your own. You end up diluting your mission and message.
 

3. Regularly reassess.

This might be daily, weekly, or monthly. Take a moment to look at your main mission and ask yourself if what you are doing still supports that mission. Make sure that the mission still feels right to you, and still addresses your core values.
 
These periodic assessments are what ensures that you stay on track, and that if you have to make adjustments, they are small.
 

4. Keep your mission always accessible.

This could take the form of pop-ups on your phone, post-it notes on the bathroom mirror, artwork, a bracelet, or a phrase you always repeat.
 
You want to know your main mission. You want to keep it continuously showing up in front of you, so that when something tough happens, when you want to turn back, when things aren’t going well – you know why you’re here.
 
When you keep reminding yourself about your why, all potential decisions are filtered through that core mission. It simplifies your decision making process, and ultimately means you spend less time fixing mistakes or re-doing.
 
Imagine with me for a minute: imagine that you get to strip away all the things from your life you are just doing “because”. Imagine that you get to simplify your job description to the things that bring you meaning and value. Imagine that you don’t have to spend time going back and forth, trying to decide what you should focus on next.
 
Instead, imagine going to bed feeling powerful and satisfied. Imagine that you go through your entire day with a sense of “flow”, knowing that your actions add value and are enjoyable. You suddenly have time to forget the overwhelm, and start focusing on the now.
 
We make a million tiny decisions each day that either bring us closer or farther away from our main mission. Choose carefully.
 
I’d love to hear what strategies you use to stay rooted in your why – in the comments below, share one thing you do to keep yourself focused on your overarching goal.

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig
 
 
 

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.
 

More weekend wisdom posts you may enjoy:

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


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