Experiments in No/Low Carb Cooking: Baked Spaghetti Squash

It’s edible gourd season! In my house I’m the one with unapologetic love for decorative and edible gourds, so given my love for gourd season and interest in low carb cooking, I decided to work on a dish that treats spaghetti squash like baked spaghetti.

About a third of people with type 1 diabetes also have celiac, and while no one in our house has been diagnosed with celiac, not infrequently, we prepare gluten free meals. Also, when thinking about how carbs, fat, protein, and fiber are digested, I look for ways to increase the fiber and or protein content of dishes, hence the addition of ground flax seed to this recipe.

Here’s the basic recipe.

Half the spaghetti squash scoop out seeds, coat with oil, salt & pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Use a fork to scrape out the flesh, creating long strands. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.

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Meanwhile, sauté three cloves of chopped garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let the garlic cool slightly, and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1 tablespoon of a mixed seasoning. I really like Fox Point from Penzey’s Spices. Stir together. Add the squash and about 4 oz. of tomato sauce. Mix and place in 9 inch baking dish. Cover with 4 more oz of tomato sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes and then uncover dish and bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

The Verdict:

Matt, known squash hater since childhood, had to go to work an hour early and didn’t get to try it.

Ava: “Does that have tomatoes?” More about Ava’s feelings for fruits and vegetables explained in this video.

Henry: “This tastes like pizza.”

Me: It’s definitely not pizza, but it’s flavorful and not watery like many baked squash dishes.

Experiments in No/Low Carb Cooking: Zucchini Garlic Bread

When scrolling through social media, I sometimes pause on those sped up cooking videos that require a few ingredients. Usually, I’m appalled, and think that the simple recipe made from processed food is all that’s wrong with America (I’m thinking of you, S’mores Dip and Donald Trump). However, other times I decide to try the recipe, which is the case for Cheesy Zucchini Sticks, featured on Buzzfeedtasy’s Instagram.

Of course, people with type 1 can eat anything they want. However, it can be easier to manage blood sugars if fewer carbs are consumed. There’s a controversial method of type 1 management called the Bernstein method, of eating few to no carbs, which would require less insulin. Dr. Bernstein was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 12 in 1946, when outcomes and control were not good. He’s now in his 80’s, living proof that his method has worked for him.

While we don’t use the Bernstein method, I do cook some meals with the objective of decreasing the carbs we consume. Last week, I decided to make a summer vegetable soup and Cheesy Zucchini Sticks.

I knew Henry would love them, but his bread, pasta, couscous loving sister would not. Please take 57 seconds and appreciate the aforementioned sister as a toddler who could not eat an entire Bing Cherry purchased roadside from the farm where it grew, still warm from the California sun that nourished it.

So some clever rebranding was in order. I called it “Garden Bread.” The rebranding worked at first.

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Garden Bread

The Verdict:

Matt, known zucchini hater since childhood, ate three pieces.

Ava, cannot eat a cherry (or any other fruit or vegetable) to save her life, gobbled down one piece, but slowed and then stopped when she spotted “something green” on her second piece.

Henry and I ate the rest. It was neither bread nor zucchini, but it was a flavorful low-carb accompaniment to our meal.  Next time, I’m peeling the zucchini first, to take care of the “something green,” but it’s back to the drawing board for names.