basic b bolognese (with sunflower seaweed crumble)

basic b bolognese (with sunflower seaweed crumble)

Last week I had the esteemed and awkward pleasure of sitting microphone-to-microphone with Lucia Hawley to talk food and health (and sprinkles? WTF) on the super rad You Have a Body Podcast. It was simultaneously special and terrifying to talk openly about my life-long health struggles, and made me realize how far I've come from the days of gluten-free kitchen #fails, broken hearts, broken bones, and health scares. This homely weird lil recipe is one of the first I concocted during these formative years of learning to cook nutrient-dense foods to nourish and heal my misfiring, depleted body. I've dusted it off from the archives, re-tested it, and it's ready once again to share with the world (or anyone who is willing to read/listen). 

For the bolognese:
• 1 spaghetti squash
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1/4 lb. bacon, chopped
• 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely diced
• 2 large carrots, finely diced
• 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
• 4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
• 1/4 lb – 1/2 lb. chicken livers, pureed in a food processor or blender (see NOTE)
• 1/2 lb ground pork
• 1/2 lb ground turkey or chicken thigh
• 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
• heaping 1/3 cup tomato paste (4-5 oz)
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 1-2 tsp. dried basil
• 1 tsp. dried oregano
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
• salt and pepper, to taste

For the sunflower seaweed crumble:
• 1 small pack roasted salted seaweed (around 0.2 oz)
• 1-2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
• small handful roasted salted sunflower seeds
• a pinch or three of sea salt (to taste)

• sauteed kale for extra greeny-ness (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Whack open the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife (don't hurt yourself), and separate it into two halves. Scoop out the seedy bits on the insides, drizzle the halves with 1 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Place halves flesh-side down on prepared baking sheet, and roast until flesh is very soft when pierced with a fork, 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the bolognese: In a large dutch oven or similar pot, heat the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook until bacon is just starting to brown. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are getting sweaty and soft. Add the ground meats and chicken liver puree, and cook, stirring every so often, until meat is almost cooked through. Add the coconut milk, tomato paste, 1/4 cup stock, basil, oregano, thyme, and nutritional yeast, and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid has cooked down and the bolognese is thick and meaty, 30-45 minutes. You can add an extra splash or two more of chicken stock during this time if you feel the sauce is getting too thick. Taste the sauce at this point (don't burn your tongue though, please), and add more salt and pepper to your liking. 

Meanwhile meanwhile, make the sunflower seaweed crumble: Pulse the seaweed, nutritional yeast, salt, and sunflower seeds in a small food processor or chopper/grinder/blender device of your choosing, until the seaweed and sunflower seeds are broken up into smaller bits. Alternatively, you could chop the seaweed and sunflower seeds by hand and combine them with the salt and yeast in a small bowl. 

Assemble the dish! Using a fork, scoop out the flesh of the spaghetti squash from the skin so that it forms spaghetti-like strands of goodness. Add a large heap of squash into a bowl or on a plate, and top with sautéed kale (if using), and a massive spoonful of meaty bolognese. Sprinkle with sunflower seaweed crumble, and enjoy: warm, umami-rich, comforting nutrient density to the max. Your body will thank you. <3  

NOTE: The flavor of chicken liver is not for everyone. If you've never had it before, I might suggest using a little less in this recipe for a less pronounced liver flavor. That being said, the liver cooks down into a velvety, creamy texture and really elevates and adds an extra layer of flavor to the bolognese (not to mention it's really good for you!)

an in-between broccoli and butternut salad (with miso-turmeric dressing)

an in-between broccoli and butternut salad (with miso-turmeric dressing)