Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paleo Pasta Casserole

 
After this morning's failed attempts (yes, plural) at egg-free paleo pancakes, I needed a win in the kitchen. I got one! For the past week, I've been ignoring the eggplant and spaghetti squash in the pantry, hoping they'd just jump in the oven and prepare themselves. While this dinner didn't Mary-Poppins itself into existence, it is definitely something worth doing again. This particular recipe is meatless, but that can easily be changed. Grassfed ground beef would make this perfectly paleo, but as it stands, this recipe is technically vegan. If you are neither paleo nor vegan, grab some mozzarella and go crazy! 
 
Ingredients:
1 medium/large eggplant
1 medium/large spaghetti squash
3 cups of raw spinach (more or less, depending on your taste, I used more)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (or make your own)
1/4 cup (approx.) olive oil (divided between squash & eggplant)
2 tbsps. sea salt (more or less, depending on your taste)
 
Pots & Pans & Such:
1 cake pan
1 cookie sheet
1 casserole dish
1 murder knife (for the thick-skinned spaghetti squash)
1 kinder, gentler knife (for the soft-skinned eggplant)
cutting board, fork, and spoon
 
Instructions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Use part of the olive oil to grease a cake pan AND a cookie sheet (or something with sides to contain the oil). Sprinkle sea salt in the bottom of both pans. The cake pan will roast the spaghetti squash, and the cookie sheet will roast the eggplant. 
 
Grab your ginormous knife and hack into that spaghetti squash; cut it in half lengthwise. Place spaghetti squash halves face-down into the oiled (and salted) cake pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
 
Once the spaghetti squash is in the oven, rinse eggplant and cut into 3/4" slices. Line the oiled (and salted) cookie sheet with your slices, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt...unless you've had enough sea salt. I really like Celtic sea salt. A lot. Place the cookie sheet in the oven, along with the spaghetti squash, and roast for 20(ish) minutes.
 
While the squash and eggplant are in the oven, chop up your spinach (save time and effort by skipping this step). Using a spoon, spread marinara sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. If you're feeling carnivorous, this would be the time to toss the ground beef in a skillet.
 
Once the timer goes off, remove the veggies from the oven. Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the spaghetti squash, then use a fork to pull apart the "meat" of the squash. Shred it up to look like noodles.
 
Put the roasted eggplant pieces on top of the marinara sauce, then sprinkle with spinach. Layer with spaghetti squash, marinara, and spinach (maybe meat and/or cheese if you're a rebel) until everything is in the casserole dish. Place the full casserole dish in the oven for 10 minutes to warm the spinach.
 
Dig in and ENJOY!

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