SLOW COOKER BOLOGNESE WITH SPAGHETTI SQUASH "NOODLES"

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Fall is such an amazing time for renewal. While I’m always happy to find an excuse to celebrate something, my favorite time of year is now, the Jewish high holy days season. We kick it off with the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah - where we eat apples with honey to celebrate the new year.

We also fast during Yom Kippur as part of atoning and asking for forgiveness. I personally always walk away from these holidays feeling renewed and ready for the rest of the year to come.

Fall also signals a transition into heartier, comfort-food fare. Since it’s still September and right in the middle of the Reformation Health Keto Challenge for this month (look for the hashtag #RHKetoChallenge on Instagram), I am still experimenting with meat-based recipes. This slow cooker bolognese takes only ten minutes to prep, and only 3 hours on low in the slow cooker! It’s also such a warm, comforting dish infused with fresh rosemary to take on the chill (well, everywhere except L.A. where I live, hahaha). Make sure if you recreate this to use grass-fed beef only. Commercially raised beef is high in inflammatory Omega 6’s, where as grass-fed beef is high in ANTI-inflammatory Omega 3’s. They are also more humanely raised.

Since ketogenic diets are extremely low in carbohydrate macros, aiming for 20-25g net carbs daily, spaghetti squash noodles replace regular pasta here. And while I’m eating more dairy, I still prefer non-dairy forms of fat, so this dish is topped with a non-dairy garlic parmesan made of cashews! Yes, really!

I used Jovial Foods crushed tomatoes in this recipe. Their product line is free of food allergens, and their tomato sauce is gluten-free, USDA certified organic, and very low in naturally occurring sugar (8g in this entire recipe and no ADDED sugar).

Hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did, and Shana Tova (Happy New Year) everyone!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

serves 4

Slow Cooker (or simmer on low on the stovetop until reduced) and Food Processor

- 1 Large spaghetti squash

- 1/2 Yellow onion

- 1lb Grass-fed lean beef

- 2 Sprigs rosemary

-  2C of Jovial Foods crushed tomatoes (or NO sugar tomato sauce of your choice)

- 1T Garlic Powder

- 1/3C Raw Cashews

- 1 Garlic Clove

- 2T Nutritional Yeast

- 2T Hemp Hearts (I use Manitoba Harvest)

- 1/2tstp Garlic powder

- 1tsp Sea Salt

- Avocado oil (okay to sub olive oil)

- Salt & pepper

- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

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LET’S DO THIS:

- Pierce the spaghetti squash several times all around with a fork. Wrap in paper towels, and microwave for 16 minutes. Remove (wear potholders to handle) and split in half lengthwise. Set aside to cool.

- Dice the onion.

- Heat 1T avocado oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the ground beef, breaking up with a spoon or spatula as it cooks. 

- Once the meat has cooked through, spray a slow cooker with cooking spray and then add the onion/meat mixture into the slow cooker. 

- Top with the tomatoes and 2 sprigs of rosemary, add 1T of salt and 1tsp of pepper, and then stir to combine the ingredients. Set the slow cooker on low for 3 hours. (make sure to remove the rosemary sprigs when it's done).

- In the meantime, to make the dairy-free parmesan “cheese”, dump the raw cashews into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until crumbs form. Add the garlic clove, the nutritional yeast, hemp hearts, garlic powder, and salt into the bowl with the cashews, and pulse again until finer crumbs form, and it resembles the texture of parmesan cheese.

- Once the spaghetti squash has cooled, use a fork to “shred” the flesh of the spaghetti squash. This will create spaghetti-like strands! Heat 1T of avocado oil in a clean skillet, and sauté the squash “noodles” until heated through. 

- Remove from heat and serve in bowls topped with the meat sauce and garnish with the vegan parmesan “cheese” and fresh chopped parsley.

Bon apetite!