DID YOU KNOW? Butternut squash has over four times the recommended daily value of vitamin A and over half the recommended intake of vitamin C in just one serving!
Vitamin A has the ability to fight diseases like cancer and autoimmune disorders, it can also help prevent the common cold and other infections. Part of how it protects against such a large number of infections and diseases is because vitamin A reduces inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases.
Inflammation is generally caused by an overactive immune system that attacks more than it should. Vitamin A helps to keep your immune system in balance therefore reducing inflammation.
In addition, butternut squash contains high amounts of vitamin C, anothercommon immune system booster that not only helps prevent and treat colds, but also lessens or inhibits the development of more serious conditions from common infections.
Consider adding more butternut squash to your diet to help boost vitamin A & C. Try this yummy Sausage & Butternut Squash skillet.
Sausage & Butternut Squash Skillet
INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (shop for pastured pork sausage)
2 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped + 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped
1 tsp. fennel seed
1/4 tsp. ground cloves or ground allspice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
1. In a medium bowl, mix the sausage, finely chopped sage, fennel seed, cloves/all spice and coarsely ground black pepper.
2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the sausage mixture and cook, breaking into large pieces until browned, about 6 minutes.
3. Add the squash, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, nutmeg and coarsely chopped sage; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add the stock and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
When I switched over to an IBS friendly diet many year ago, pad-Thai was one of the dishes I knew I was going to miss most.
I fell in love with pad-Thai during my university days and always found myself gravitating towards Thai restaurants when I ate out. Something about the combo of spices and flavours is just magical in Thai cuisine.
So, since depriving myself of the foods I love most is never an option, it was important that I had a grain free version of pad-Thai that I could easily create in my kitchen whenever a craving hit.
Check out this delicious Shrimp Pad-Thai with simple and clean ingredients. It’s one of my favourite recipes to date 🙂
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 lb wild shrimp
2 pastured eggs
1 spaghetti squash
1 pack enoki mushrooms
2 large carrots
2 green onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch cube ginger, grated
2 tbsp. avocado oil
4 sprigs cilantro (optional)
2 tbsp. pine nuts or crushed almonds, lightly toasted
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
NOTE: If you’re not a fan of shrimp, feel free to swap it out for chicken. Just cut 1lb of chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min. Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash. Set aside. (I suggest preparing the other ingredients as the squash cooks).
2. Finely chop carrots and green onion in a food processor or by hand. Set aside.
3. Using a deep pan over medium heat sauté garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp. avocado oil until fragrant. Add carrots, onion and mushrooms and continue to cook until carrots are tender. Season with salt.
4. Create a space in the middle of the pan, add eggs and scramble. Mix in with vegetables and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
5. In a small bowl combine all sauce ingredients until smooth and creamy.
6. Add spaghetti squash and sauce into pan and mix all ingredients together until sauce coats everything.
7. Add in cooked shrimp (see instructions below) and gentle combine all ingredients until warm.
8. Plate the pad-Thai and top with toasted pine nuts and chopped cilantro.
Shrimp: (can be cooked at the same time as the pad-Thai)
1. In a separate pan, cook shrimp in 1 tbsp avocado oil over medium heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn shrimp halfway through cooking.
2. Once shrimp are cooked, set aside until ready to add to the other pan.
1. Add mayo and smoked paprika into a small bowl and mix until ingredients are blended well.
1. Add carrot, onion, garlic, yellow mustard, sea salt and black pepper into a food processor and process until ingredients are finely chopped.
2. In a bowl, combine ground beef with ingredients from food processor.
3. Form 4 burger patties using your hands. Once you’ve flatted the meat, press your finger into the center to form an indent in your patty (this will help cook the inside of the burger).
4. Cook burgers on stove top over medium heat, flipping occasionally. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the burger (roughly 15 minutes). You can also cook your burgers on the BBQ.
1. While burgers are cooking, remove stems from portobello mushrooms and place in a large stove top pan with oil.
2. Cover and cook over medium heat, flipping occasionally. Water from mushrooms should release into pan, preventing the mushrooms from burning. If there is not enough liquid, add a splash of white wine or lemon juice.
3. Once mushrooms have cooked for 10-minutes, remove lid and let any remaining juices cook off. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
4. Place cooked burger patties on top of portobello mushrooms, top with smoked paprika mayo (or other condiments) and close off with another portobello mushroom or leave it open-faced.
If you’re cooking the burger patties on the BBQ, feel free to cook the portobello mushrooms on the BBQ too.
One of the dishes I missed most after going gluten free was a nice big bowl of spaghetti. It truly was a heartbreaking moment in my life and it took every ounce of willpower I had to turn down pasta of any kind – especially when Nonna had anything to do with it!
Life got a little easier when I wrapped my head around this thing called a “spaghetti squash” – and eventually I saw the light again once I mastered this pale yellow oval vegetable/fruit!
I’m no longer deprived of one of my favourite childhood dishes – and can eat a giant bowl of this “spaghetti” without feeling “heavy” or bloated. ‘Spaghetti Sundays’ is officially back!
Nutrition facts: spaghetti squash vs. real spaghetti …
Real spaghetti – 43 grams of carbs/cup & 220 calories/cup
Spaghetti squash is a great alternative if;
you want to lose weight (lower carbs & calories + more nutrients = weight loss)
you have IBS or gut issues (since gluten and grains can aggravate symptoms)
you have diabetes (lower carb foods = better blood sugar levels)
you’re following a paleo, keto or low-carb diet
Give this light, satisfying and delicious “Spaghetti” Bolognese recipe a try. It’s a ‘kiss your finger tips then toss them away from your lips’ kind of dish!
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3)
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 spaghetti squash
1 can/jar tomatoes (600-700 ml), pureed
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tsp. dried basil or 2-3 fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the spaghetti squash:
1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon.
2. Bake at 400 for 30-40 min (first 10-min bake with flesh down, then turn so skin is down for remaining time). Fork should pierce skin easily when squash is cooked. Note: Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash. Check regularly to avoid overcooking the squash. You want the noodles to be ‘al dente’.
3. Use a fork to scrape out the strands of squash.
Time your spaghetti squash so that it’s done cooking around the same time as your sauce, so your noodles don’t cool.
For the Bolognese Sauce:
1. In a sauce pan, sauté garlic and dried basil in olive oil over medium heat (2 min). If you are using fresh basil, add basil leaves in after step 2.
2. Add tomatoes and bring to a light boil for 5 min. Add salt to taste.
3. Bring to medium-low heat and let simmer for 45 min.
4. In a separate pan, cook ground beef over medium heat (10-15 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add tomato sauce into pan with beef and let ingredients cook together over medium-low heat for a few minutes.
6. Place bolognese sauce on top of spaghetti squash and enjoy!
Leave me a comment below if you love this dish as much as I do!
Are you looking for a gluten free and gut friendly replacement for buns or bread?
Sweet potato “buns” to the rescue!
Not only are sweet potato “buns” tasty, but this whole food is packed with nutrients that you won’t get from plain old bread.
There are so many classic dishes and sandwiches that you can easily transform into a healthy and gut-friendly alternative with a little help from these “buns”.
Try sweet potato “buns” with:
Sloppy Joes (see my recipe below)
Burgers and sliders
Bacon, egg, lettuce & tomato sandwich (BELT)
Pulled pork sandwich
Cut sweet potato into rounds (like I did for this recipe) OR lengthwise for larger “buns” and cook using the instructions below. Fill your sweet potato “buns” with yummy ingreditenst and grab it with your hands or dig in with a fork and knife – whatever your heart desires.
Give this paleo friendly Sloppy Joe recipe a try. Serve them alongside Italian Coleslaw for a delicious and complete meal!
If you’re a fan of chili and looking for a new recipe to test out on a cold fall or winter day, I highly recommend giving this non-traditional chili a try.
It’s a hearty paleo friendly and low-carb chili with a unique combination of pumpkin, zucchini, warming spices and cacao. Your palate will be pleasantly surprised at how well these flavours come together.