The start of a new year is a time for resolutions for many people. Exercise and get in shape, spend more time with family and friends, travel to new places, and eat a healthy diet top the list of resolutions after the first of the year. These decisions for self-improvement can quickly be derailed when people aim high and establish goals that are too lofty.
Position yourself for triumph by setting small, specific goals that are more likely to be attainable. Making the all-encompassing decision to “eat a healthy diet” can be overwhelming. Faced with the steps that go along with changing one’s eating habits like menu planning, grocery shopping, preparing unfamiliar recipes, and trying new foods can seem like a daunting task. I suggest adopting a goal that you can easily achieve and set you on the road to a healthier you. A great place to start is to eat at least one vegetarian dinner a week.
The options are endless for including a vegetable-based dinner in your weekly dinners. Veggie and quinoa burgers, spicy chili loaded with fresh produce and beans, hardy shepherd’s pie filled with lentils and vegetables and topped with mashed cauliflower are just a few ideas to keep eating vegetarian entrees flavorful and interesting.
A favorite vegetable-based recipe of mine is Roasted Italian Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Bolognese. The chunky sauce includes a bounty of vegetables including onions, red peppers, carrots, zucchini and yellow squash. Mushrooms add a savory and meaty quality the dish. A boost of protein is achieved from chickpeas. Traditional Italian ingredients of garlic, crushed tomatoes, oregano, and basil season dish.
Roasted spaghetti squash stands in for the conventional pasta. It has a mildly sweet taste like a yellow squash.
Roasting the oval squash results in strands have a slight crunch to them. They are an ideal accompaniment to the vegetable sauce as the squash absorbs the flavors of the ingredients.
Resolving to eat a healthy diet in 2017 is an attainable goal. Starting with small, manageable healthy eating changes to your diet sets yourself up for success. As each change becomes second nature, add more healthy steps to your new diet in the new year.
- For the roasted spaghetti squash
- 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend (a blend of oregano, thyme, basil)
- For the vegetable Bolognese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (10-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, cut in quarters
- 1 small yellow squash, diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (a blend of oregano, thyme, basil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 6 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
- Drizzle each half of the squash with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon Italian herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place cut side down on the baking sheet.
- Roast the squash for 40 to 50 minutes or until the squash gives slightly when pressed with a finger.
- Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash to form "noodles."
- While the spaghetti squash is roasting, prepare the vegetable Bolognese.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to a shimmer.
- Add the onion, carrots, garlic, red peppers, and mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the yellow squash and zucchini and continue sautéing for five to six minutes.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, 1½ teaspoons of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh basil and serve the sauce over the spaghetti squash.
© 2017 amycaseycooks