Beef Pesto Spaghetti
This is a DELICIOUS variation of basic pasta with meat sauce. Instead of red sauce, I sub homemade pesto and instead of spaghetti noodles, I sub spaghetti squash. It is SO delicious, super nutritious, totally paleo and Whole30 friendly if that's your thing. But mostly, it's tasty, quick to make, beautiful and super nourishing. Adam and I eat this sometimes once a week when we get on a pesto kick. This recipe serves 2 with leftovers or 4 with no leftovers. I like to double or even triple the pesto recipe because it freezes easily.
- 1 pound grass-fed beef
- 1 large spaghetti squash (or two smaller ones) --you could sub gluten-free quinoa/rice based noodles for spaghetti squash if you want a more traditional dish
- Salt and pepper
- Sautéed mushrooms and onions (optional)
- Cherry Tomatoes (optional)
- Pesto (I LOVE to double this recipe--the pesto freezes really well):
- 4 oz. fresh basil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic
- juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 1/6 cup)
- about 1/8 cup +/- roasted, salted sunflower seeds
- 1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and remove seeds.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Put halves cut-side down in a large glass Pyrex. Fill Pyrex with 1/2-1 inch of water
- Bake spaghetti squash for 30-60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through the skin with little resistance. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- When it's cooled down a bit, use a fork to scrape the squash to get long, spaghetti-like strands.
- Combine the basil, oregano, garlic, and sunflower seeds in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Add oil and lemon juice and blend until fully incorporated. Add more oil if it's still chunky.
- Add more lemon juice to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- If using immediately, pulse until smooth.
- If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle a little extra oil and lemon juice over the top & freeze for up to 3 months.
- While squash is cooking, put your ground beef in a pan with salt and pepper and cook until browned.
- Optional: Cut mushrooms (I recommend portabella for their health benefits) and sauté in a pan with some olive oil
- Plate spaghetti squash, beef on top and pesto on top of that
- Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes and extra fresh basil leaves if you have it.
- If you have any arugula in your fridge, put a couple pieces on top to add an extra little kick
- Serve and ENJOY!!!
- Combine all in a glass baking dish and top with hormone-free parmesan cheese
- Bake for 20 minutes to make more of a cheesy casserole.
Great Side options:
- Steamed or oven roasted broccoli
- Steamed or oven roasted asparagus
- Side salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette
Goodies In this Recipe
Grass Fed Beef- It is important to get 100% grass-fed beef to reap the numerous health benefits. (Non-organic/grain fed meat are highly inflammatory and damaging to the body.) The newest super-nutrient found in grass-fed animal products is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA boosts metabolism, burns fat, builds muscle, and fights cancer. Michael Pariza, the scientist who discovered CLA discovered that “CLA helps to up-regulate the tumor-suppressing gene PTPRG. Few anti-carcinogens, and certainly no other known fatty acids, are as effective as CLA in inhibiting carcinogenesis." According to Dr. Pariza, a diet with as little as 0.5% CLA has been shown to reduce tumor growth by over 50%.” (Read more)
Basil-To list a few, basil is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cancer-fighter, pain-reducer, diabetes-preventer, detoxifier, stress-hormone reducer and immune-booster
Oregano-Oregano contains essential nutrients including vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. It also has anti-inflammatory as well as being a well-known anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Oregano also gives pesto that delicious bite that parmesan cheese gives you without having to add any dairy to your meal.
Spaghetti Squash-Both pasta and spaghetti squash have low amounts of fat, salt, and fiber. However, pasta has over 100 calories, while spaghetti squash has only about 20 calories. Spaghetti squash has greater levels of protein as well as balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Omega-3 fats are associated with the prevention of inflammation, which may cause heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer while omega-6 fats are linked to proper brain function.