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October 25, 2013

Recipe: Spaghetti squash with ground turkey and tomato sauce

Low-carb and low-calorie Italian comfort food can be hard to find. Here, cooked and shredded squash stands in for wheat pasta as the base of a nutritious and filling main dish.

The spaghetti squash is roasted in this preparation; alternatively, it can be cooked in the microwave. To do so, use a sharp knife to puncture the whole squash about 12 times. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes. Cool completely, then cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pulp. If the squash is not quite tender, microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD: The squash can be roasted a day or two in advance and refrigerated. The sauce can be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. Adapted from Elaine Gordon, a master of public health professional and a master certified health education specialist. She is creator of the healthful recipe site EatingbyElaine.com.

Spaghetti Squash With Ground Turkey and Tomato Sauce

6 servings

Ingredients

For the squash

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds), rinsed well

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups diced Vidalia or other sweet onion

12 white button mushrooms, stemmed, then sliced (about 2 cups)

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

1 medium zucchini, diced (optional)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

14 1/2 ounces canned, diced Italian-style tomatoes, preferably no-salt-added, plus their juices

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 pound 95 percent lean ground white turkey meat or ground chicken breast

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)

Steps

For the squash: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash lengthwise in half, avoiding the stem. Place the halves cut sides up in a baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a knife. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions, mushrooms, the peas and zucchini, if using, half the salt and half the pepper, stirring to coat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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