Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Chicken Sausage

Substituting spaghetti squash for pasta is a quick and easy way to turn any meal gluten-free and is an excellent swap of a vegetable for a grain. Don’t get me wrong, squash is also starchy, but there are some added benefits in the type of starch that vegetables have versus grains and pastas. I have read* that winter squash is a surprisingly great source of antioxidants. It can also aid the body as an anti-inflammatory, which is great for any athlete or workout lover, and has “anti-diabetic” properties. So bring it on squash! Pasta will one day seem like a distant memory.

Makes: 4 main course servings

Tomato Sauce: 
1- 32 oz can of roasted, diced tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
3 good sized garlic cloves, minced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 heaping tsp each: dried basil, oregano, and thyme

“Pasta” 
1 large spaghetti squash, halved and seeds scooped out
1 package of 4 or 5 chicken sausages- garlic, Italian-anything, or spinach flavor
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and cut into small bite-size pieces
shaved Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)

  • To make the squash: preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Put seeded squash into a pyrex baking dish (two if necessary) drizzle with olive oil, and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Add about one inch of water to the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake until the squash is tender to the edges. This can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on the squash. If you have a limited kitchen like I did the first time I made this, you can also steam them in a sauce pot on low temperature with water in the pot. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. When they are finished cooking, remove from heat and cool until you can handle them easily.
  • Take a fork and scrape the squash halves to remove your spaghetti! There is a lot in there, so make sure to really get to the bottom. It will look exactly like spaghetti in shape, but be crunchier in texture. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  • To make the sauce: drizzle olive oil into a sauce pan and add diced onion and garlic. Cook on medium heat until onions start to caramelize.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add herbs and diced tomatoes to the pot. Bring to a slow simmer on low or medium heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 -30 minutes.
  • The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until needed. Otherwise, set aside so that it stays at room temperature or above until later.
  • Drizzle olive oil into a large sauce pot over medium high heat.  Cook the sausages for 3-5 minutes, or until they are just starting to brown. Remove sausage and pot from heat, and cut sausage into bite sized pieces.
  • Add tomato sauce and kale to pot. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover, and cook until kale is completely wilted (5-7 minutes). Add the squash and chicken sausage pack into the mix and cover until warmed through, another 10 minutes.
  • Divide into four servings and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

* http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

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