Tag Archives: low-carb recipes

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

low-carb diet, spaghetti squash, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet

The yellow spaghetti squash is at the top. It’s related to pumpkins and zucchini.

Spaghetti squash is a classic low-carb vegetable. If you’ve never tried it, you should. As vegetables go, it’s one of the largest, heaviest, and most interesting to prepare. Easy, too. The spaghetti squash season is autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere. Purchasing in spring and summer may be iffy.

It’s hard to give up pasta. Many diabetics who don’t notice that their blood sugar levels spike too high when they eat pasta. What’s too high? In general, I’d say over 150 mg/dl (8.33 mmol/l) measured one hour after a meal, or over 130 mg/dl (7.22 mmol/l) two hours after the meal.

Other experts disagree and propose other numbers.

An alternative to spaghetti pasta that shouldn’t raise blood glucose levels as high is the aforementioned spaghetti squash. It’s all about the carbohydrates. A cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 10 g of carb; a cup of cooked spaghetti has 43 g. The fiber grams are about the same. Numbers are from FitDay.com.

In my part of the world, supermarket spaghetti squashes weigh between two and five pounds. We cooked a three-pounder (1.4 kg) that yielded five cups; a five-pounder (2.3 kg) gave us 12 cups. A serving size is one, maybe two cups. What you don’t eat immediately stays fresh in the refrigerator for at least several days. Re-heat by microwaving or stir-frying.

Like pasta and potatoes, the squash by itself is bland. It’s a great substrate for sauces or seasonings.

You can fit spaghetti squash into both the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet and Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet.

low-carb diet, paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, spaghetti squash

Raw squash cut in half lengthwise

Here’s how we cook it at the Parker Compound. Preheat the oven to 375º F 0r 190º C. Very carefully slice the squash in half lengthwise. Spoon out and discard the guts (seeds and membranes like a pumpkin; it even smells like a pumpkin). Put the halves flat-side down in a pan, then add a half inch (1.3 cm) of water to the pan. Cover with foil and bake until the outer shell (rind) is fairly easily pierced with a paring knife. This will be about 45 minutes for a two-pound squash (0.9 kg); 90 minutes for a four-plus pounder (2.3+ kg). Then turn them over, re-cover with foil, and cook 15 minutes more, until very tender. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Then use a fork to pull the strands away from the rind.

Other cooks simplify the process and just place the squash halves flat-side down on a baking sheet and cook for 30-60 minutes. Some leave the seeds in while cooking and spoon them out just before the stranding step.

Now what?

You got options.

Our first experiment was with l0w-carb spaghetti sauce.

paleobetic diet, low-carb diet, diabetic diet, spaghetti squash

Low-carb spaghetti

Next we took three cups squash (710 ml) and mixed in 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, 2.5 tbsp (37 ml) chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) minced fresh garlic, 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt, and 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) black pepper.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, paleobetic diet

Seasoned with parsley, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper

Finally, we took a cup (240 ml) of the squash and added minced celery (4 inches or 10 cm of stalk), 3 minced black olives, 5/8 oz (18 g) of minced sweet (bell) pepper, 1/2 clove of minced garlic, salt (a dash), and pepper to taste.

paleobetic diet, diabetic diet, low-carb diet, spaghetti squash

Seasoned with sweet peppers, black olives, garlic, celery, and salt

These last two options I consider side dishes. By the way, they taste good either cold or warm. They would go well with a number of entrees, such as steak or salmon.

I’ve read that this squash is good with pesto, or just with salt and butter.

Nutrition facts from FitDay.com:

One cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 75 calories (I’ve seen 42 elsewhere), 10 g of carbohydrate, 2 g of fiber, 8 g of digestible carb, 4 g of fat (predominantly MUFA), minimal protein, and a fair amount of vitamins A, niacin, B6, and C. Plus 8% of your RDA for manganese.

Steve Parker, M.D.


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Meal Plans To “Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes”

For both types 1 and type 2 diabetes, carbohydrate restriction is a great way to help control blood sugars and minimize the toxicity and expense of drug therapy. Here are some low-carb recipes from my book, Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes.

Breakfast:  Mexican Scrambled Eggs

4 large eggs (50 g each)

1.5 tbsp (22 ml) olive oil

4 tbsp (60 ml) Pico de Gallo a la Rose (see my post of Jan. 5, 2013) or commercial picante sauce (having 2 g or fewer carbs per 2 tbsp)

salt and pepper

Whisk the eggs until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan then add the eggs and cook until done, scrambling now and then. Transfer to plate and top with 4 tbsp (60 ml) Pico de Gallo a al Rosa. Digestible carb grams: 6.

Lunch:  Low-Carb Chili

1 cup (240 ml) Low-Carb Chili (see below)

1 oz (28 g) almonds

Enjoy 1 oz of almonds around mealtime or later as a snack. Digestible carb grams: 13.


It’s spicy, but not hot spicy. Peeled and sliced cold cucumbers make a nice side dish. If your children or housemates aren’t eating low-carb, they may enjoy the chili mixed 50:50 with cheese macaroni, and buttered cornbread on the side.


20 oz (567 g) raw ground beef, 80% lean meat/20% fat

20 oz (567 g) raw pork Italian sausage

1 large onion

14.5 oz (411 g) canned diced tomatoes

4 oz (113 g) tomato paste

1 tbsp (15 ml) dry unsweetened cocoa powder

5  garlic cloves

½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt

¼ tsp (1.2 ml) ground allspice

2 tbsp (30 ml) chili powder

¼ tsp (1.2 ml) ground cinnamon

½ tbsp (7.5 ml) ground cumin

¼ tsp (1.2 ml) ground cayenne pepper

2 packets (1 g per packet) Splenda tabletop sweetener

1 cup (240 ml) water


Cut the Italian sausage into small pieces. Sauté the sausage, ground beef, onions, and garlic in a large pot. Don’t just brown the meat, cook it thoroughly. When done, drain off the fat if desired. Add the remainder of ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Add additional water if the chili looks too thick. Makes eight cups. Serving size is one cup (240 ml).

Nutrient Analysis:

Recipe makes 8 servings of 1 cup (240 ml). Each serving has 492 calories, 14 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 11 g digestible carbohydrate, 24 g protein, 38 g fat. 10% of calories are from carbohydrate, 21% from protein, 69% from fat.

Notes: Analysis is based on fat not being drained from the cooked meat. Calorie count and calories from fat would be a bit lower if you drained off fat.

Dinner:  Shark and Broccoli

4 oz (110 g) shark, raw

2 cloves (3 g) garlic, peeled and diced

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

1.5 cups (150 g) chopped raw broccoli

salt and pepper

6 oz (180 ml) dry white wine

Lightly salt and pepper the shark, then set aside. Sauté the garlic in 2 tbsp (30 cc) of the olive oil a few minutes over medium heat. Then add the broccoli and sauté to your preference, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a dish. Add another 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil to the pan and sauté the shark at medium heat until done, careful not to overcook. Enjoy with dry white wine. Digestible carb grams: 11.

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