Keto spaghetti squash with caramelized vegetables
This pregnancy has my cravings all over the place. A few weeks back, I couldn’t get enough of oranges. I had to have one, or two, the moment I woke up and the craving would stay with me all day long. Lately, it’s all about high fat foods. My body is just screaming for avocados, cashew butter and full fat coconut milk.
There are plenty of theories out there regarding cravings, what they mean and if you should indulge in them or not. Personally, I choose to listen to what my body is asking for. I’m not talking about pints of ice cream, boxes of donuts and bags of chips. I try to eat intuitively and when my body tells me it needs to eat more fatty foods, then I eat more fatty foods. It’s as simple as that.
Does that mean I don’t crave donuts? Heck no, I crave those little soft sugar and fat bombs more often then not. But I know that my body is not actually craving a donut, it’s craving calories in the form of sugar and carbs, so I eat a bowl of mixed fruits like strawberries and bananas and peaches or I’ll have an orange (ha!). If I start daydreaming about cheese pizza, then I know my body needs fat so I eat avocado with a little Himalayan salt and a spoon.
I tend not to want to overcomplicate my life with theories and data. I check in with my self and eat accordingly.
Back when I was following a ketogenic diet, I had to come up with creative ways to replicate my favourite dishes with as little carb as possible and loads of fat. Most of the time, I think I succeeded pretty well.
This keto spaghetti squash was created back then.
The Ketogenic diet
For those of you who don’t know what the ketogenic diet is, let me give you a quick overview.
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet that was developed in the 1920’s to treat epilepsy, mostly in children suffering from uncontrollable and frequent seizures.
Today, the diet is rapidly gaining popularity as a mainstream diet for weight loss and those suffering from diabetes and even cancer.
The ketogenic diet should not be mistaken for the typical low carb diets that put a heavy emphasis on high fat meat and dairy products. The ketogenic diet is a moderate protein diet with an emphasis on high fat foods.
According to the science behind the ketogenic diet, when the body is deprived of glucose (carbs), the liver produces ketones from fatty acids, which the body uses for energy. Eating too much protein in a low carb setting will strain your body into converting that extra protein into glucose. Your body will then burn that protein turned into sugar instead of fat, preventing your body from enjoying the benefits of the ketogenic diet.
So how much fat should a person eat on a ketogenic diet: the average consensus is anywhere between 60 to 80% of your total caloric intake, depending on your current body composition and activity level with carb intake ranging from less then 25 grams per day, up to 50 grams per day, again, according to your body composition, your goals and your activity levels.
Yup, that’s a whole lotta fat and not a whole lotta carbs!
Can a keto diet be vegan?
Like I mentioned previously, the keto diet is not to be confused with the high meat consumption associated with most low carb diets.
A vegan keto diet is very feasible by emphasizing high fat foods like avocados, nuts and nut butter, coconut oil and coconut butter, MCT oil and palm oil. Eating lower carb vegetables like cucumbers, watercress, spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, asparagus (pretty much any green vegetable has the thumbs up), mushrooms, cauliflower and spaghetti squash. And rounding off your plate with seitan, tofu and tempeh. Low sugar fruits like raspberries and blueberries are ok, as long as your remain within your personal carb limit.
Wether this diet is right for you is a decision only you can make but know that it is possible to eat both a ketogenic diet and a vegan diet.
Unto the recipe…
As you can see, my recipes back then needed to follow rather strict guidelines. Needless to say, spaghetti squash became one of my favourite vegetables and quickly replaced all my pasta cravings. And because I was always very active, I didn’t need to pay much attention to the carb count in vegetables.
And even though I don’t follow that diet anymore, I still love me some spaghetti squash!
But the sauce is where the magic happens. Pesto is a great high fat addition to any past wannabe dish but a creamy, cheezy, sauce without the downfall of dairy is even better. This sauce uses full fat coconut milk, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, nutritional yeast and a little salt. Delicious!
Because of the full fat coconut milk, the sauce does have a hint of a coconut taste, which I love, but if you’re not a fan of the coconut-y taste, you can replace it with unsweetened nut mylk and a roux.
To make a roux, melt 2 Tbs. of Earth Balance butter in a saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add 2 Tbs. of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Once the two are combined and you can smell the butter cooking, slowly add in your mylk and whisk to prevent clumps. Once the roux has dissolved in the mylk and the sauce starts to thicken, you can add the other ingredients.
Mix the sauce with the spaghetti squash, add some caramelized vegetables on top and you’ve got yourself one heck of a satisfying dish. Trust me, you won’t be hungry after this…and this comes from a pregnant lady whose hungry all the time!
Leave a comment below and let me know how you’ve enjoyed this recipe and if you’ve ever tried the ketogenic diet.
I always love to hear from you!
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 10 small mushrooms
- 1 white onion
- 1 Tbs. red palm oil
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 Tbs. yellow prepared mustard
- 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven at 425 degrees.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Place the squash halves, cut-side down, in a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- Place in the oven and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes.
- In the meantime, julienne your bell peppers, mushrooms and onions.
- Melt the red palm oil in a pan over high heat and add your vegetables.
- Saute your vegetables for 3-4 minutes then reduce to medium heat and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat add the coconut milk, Dijon mustard and yellow mustard.
- Whisk in the nutritional yeast and salt. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
- Reduce to low heat and cook the sauce for another 5 minutes.
- When the spaghetti squash is cooked, carefully scrap the interior with a fork to make spaghetti-like strands.
- Add the squash and sauce to a mixing bowl and combine. Add salt to taste.
- Serve in a plate or bowl and top with caramelized vegetables.