The Best Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

If you’ve ever dabbled in gluten-free, paleo or clean eating, then you’ve probably heard of an oblong winter squash called the spaghetti squash. The spaghetti squash is commonly suggested as a pasta substitute for specialty diets or as a carb-cutting trick.

The stringy, buttery and tender texture of the squash makes it an easy swap. As you scrape out the yummy insides, it even LOOKS like pasta (of the rice or angel hair variety).

Here’s the first of two spaghetti squash recipes I plan to feature in the coming weeks. It’s a spaghetti squash take on traditional lasagna, and it’s delicious!

It’s also easy to freeze and store for later! Bonus!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (when you pick it out, make sure there are no soft spots)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (I suggest mushroom marinara)

How to Make The Best Spaghetti Squash Lasagna:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To prep the spaghetti squash, use a large knife to poke 10-12 holes around the squash. This will allow the squash to vent as it cooks. Place the squash in the microwave and cook for 6 minutes on each side. Let sit in the microwave for a few additional minutes.

(You can cook it in the oven, but I prefer the microwave! Same effect, significantly faster. See options here.)

3. Remove the squash from the microwave and cut off the stem. (It should cut easily since it has baked through.) Cut the squash lengthwise and begin removing seeds. Once all seeds have been removed and the squash is hollow, use a fork to shred the squash and remove the “spaghetti.”

How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash

4. In a lightly greased pan, spread squash as the first layer.

5. In a medium bowl combine ricotta, herbs, parmesan, and eggs. Mix well and spread mixture over squash.

6. Cover first two layers with marinara sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top.

7. Cover your pan with tinfoil and bake for Bake 45 minutes.

8. Remove tin foil and bake and additional 15 minutes (turns the cheese a light, crispy golden brown.)

Serves 8

How to Make Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

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Alternative Eating | Lo Martinez
exploring gluten-free, paleo & clean eating

Sugar Substitute Comparison Chart

Sugar vs. Sweetener…The great debate.

Artificial Sweeteners | Sugar Substitutes

When I grab a coffee from the Starbucks down the street, I always head to what I (fondly) call the “sugar bar.”  I’ll stand and stare at the sweet assortment, mulling over my options…  I’ll often snag one of the pastel packets, patting myself on the back for dodging a few calories…. I’m not alone either.

According to a 2006 survey from Mintel Reports, 61 percent of U.S. women use artificial sweeteners daily. But should the number of calories in a tablespoon-sized packet be priority in our decision-making?

Recently I fell upon some startling sugar substitute statistics… (yeah, try saying that 4 times fast.)

Artificial sugars are dramatically sweeter than raw and table sugar. This might be obvious, but seeing just how much sweeter, was shocking to me (chart below). This knowledge in mind, it made sense that artificial sweeteners could disturb the body’s ability to count calories or cause unnatural cravings… I think it’s time to put down the colorful packets and pick up the white (or even better, brown). The numbers made the difference for me… How about you?

Click on the chart to expand it!

sweetener comparison

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Alternative Eating | Lo Martinez
exploring gluten-free, paleo & clean eating

‘Gluten-free’ food labeling finally has some teeth

Gluten Free Labels

^^ Any of these look familiar?

Earlier this summer, the FDA issued new rules and regulations on gluten-free food labeling. Prior to this, there wasn’t a real, industry-wide standard to define what “gluten free”  meant. When you saw those labels above, it was hard to tell exactly what you were getting…

Now, under the federal definition, a food product can only contain 20 parts per million (or fewer) of gluten to carry a “gluten-free” label. The FDA has been working on these regulations since 2007, and it’s a real win for the gluten free-community!

Check out the article that I found on USA Today:

‘Gluten-free’ food labeling finally has some teeth

By Jane Lerner, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News

New law makes it easier for those with celiac disease to shop, cope.

SOURCE: USA TODAY

Sometimes Maria Roglieri feels like a sleuth when she sets out to shop.

She carefully analyzes labels, looking for any sign that a food is not as gluten-free as it appears.

Barley? Forbidden. Rye? Forget about it. Soy sauce? Maybe.

“You have to be very, very careful,” said Roglieri, who, along with her teenage daughter, has celiac disease, a serious digestive disorder triggered by gluten. “Even the smallest amount can make you sick.”

The explosive rise in people who eat gluten-free food as a dietary preference has been a mixed blessing for those who suffer from celiac disease, which can only be treated through total abstinence from gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains.

The popularity of such a diet added more and more products to the market labeled “gluten-free.” But it also created uncertainty about what “gluten-free” really meant, since there was no uniform standard applied to the term.

That’s why patients like Roglieri are pleased with long-awaited Food and Drug Administration regulations announced earlier this month that now require foods labeled “gluten free” to have only trace amounts of the protein. For them, the new regulations will make buying food safer and less complicated.

“It allows us to breathe a little easier,” said Gabrielle Simon, founder of a support group at Nyack Hospital for families of children with celiac disease.

For those with the condition, gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients.

As more people follow a gluten-free diet by choice or necessity, food manufacturers are adding more products to meet the demand. Last year, sales of gluten-free products hit $4.2 billion, nearly triple what they were in 2008. Sales are expected to rise to $6.2 billion by 2018, according to industry predictions.

“A lot more foods are available, but you have no idea if they are really safe or not,” said Chris Spreitzer of Croton-on-Hudson, who leads the Westchester Celiac Sprue support group. “If you have celiac, you really need to know.”

The new FDA regulation has been in the works for a long time, starting with a proposal sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., in 1999.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act became law in 2004.

It required food packaging to clearly list the top eight ingredients that cause allergic reactions, including milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. It also required the FDA to issue standards for the term “gluten-free” — a task that took nearly 10 years to accomplish.

Under the new guidelines, only foods containing 20 parts per million of gluten or less can be labeled and marketed as gluten-free. Experts generally agree that it is not possible to remove all trace of gluten and the standard is small enough not to provoke a reaction in most people.

Food manufacturers have a year to comply.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” said Roglieri, an Italian professor at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill and the author of travel guides for people who avoid gluten.

Alternative Eating | Lo Martinez
exploring gluten-free, paleo & clean eating

Hemp Hearts

Hemp Hearts

This bag of Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest was included in my Best of Box from KLUTCH Club.

Now, it’s featured on this week’s grocery list.

I had seen a lot of use of chia seeds on health blogs recently, but I was unfamiliar with the taste or texture hemp seeds and what they could be used in/what health benefits they possessed. I was pretty excited to try them!

Hemp hearts are the inner kernel of the hemp seed (sans the hard outer shell). They have add an interesting texture and a distinctly nutty flavor to whatever they are added to.

The hearts are rich in omegas, protein & fiber. Nuts.com even refers to hemp hears as “one of the world’s most nutritious seeds.” The bag suggests to “Sprinkle hemp hearts on salads, or add to cereal, yogurt, in baking or even into smoothies!” I loved mixing it into my Greek yogurt for breakfast.

hemp heart nutritional information

 

 

Alternative Eating | Lo Martinez
exploring gluten-free, paleo & clean eating

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

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I was recently lucky enough to spend some quality time with two of my favorite people on Earth: my grandparents.

They’re both incredibly special people, and in the past few years, they have taught me important lessons about love, loyalty, family and thoughtfulness.

One of the ways that I’ve noticed them actively display their thoughtfulness is through food. It means a lot to remember someone’s favorite things, food or otherwise, and it’s pretty simple to make that person’s day with the knowledge. (I’ve felt this time and time again.)

Every time I visit my grandparents, they have my favorite meal simmering on the stove , a bottle of my favorite wine open, and favorite snack laid out in the family room to get my through the 30 minutes before dinner is ready. It makes me feel so special.

This time, my Grandma really out did herself by making on of my favorite deserts, angel food cake, GLUTEN FREE!

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The mix is make by Kinnikinnick Foods, and it tastes exactly like its gluten-y counterpart! It was fluffy, light and absolutely delectable. It’s sold at under $4 a box, and extremely easy to make! All you need are 12 large egg whites, your mix  and some vanilla extract. Add on from fresh berries and you have a perfect summer treat!

I’m already planning to make this treat for my mom (whose favorite dessert also happens be Angel Food Cake) next time I see her. Thanks, Grandma Jean for introducing my to this wonderful desert. You can count on me passing on the foodie-love!