Nom Nom Paleo

Microwaved Spaghetti Squash

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Prior to going Paleo, I hated eating spaghetti squash. How the heck is this squeaky, bland vegetable supposed to be a substitute for pasta?

Now that I’m an enlightened cavegirl, I’ve had a change of heart. I’ve tried roasting it in the oven but an hour is a loooooong time to wait for cooked “pasta.”

Enter the microwave.

All my loyal readers know how much I love my microwave ‘cause it’s quick, easy, and doesn’t heat up your kitchen during the hot summer days. Don’t be afraid of this awesome appliance. Even Robb Wolf says it’s okay. Don’t believe me? Listen to the beginning of this podcast.

Here’s how you nuke a small spaghetti squash:

Use a sharp knife to cut it in half. Try not to cut through the stem ‘cause that’s a tough mofo and you might chip your knife. Scrape out the seeds…

…brush on your favorite melted fat, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.

Place the squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe glass container…

…and cover with a lid, making sure to leave a small vent.

Microwave for a total of 8-12 minutes but break up your cooking time. I normally nuke it for 5 minutes, check on it to see if needs to be rotated, add another 3 minutes, check, add another minute, check, etc. When the squash is soft to the touch I stop cooking it.

Let the squash rest for 10 minutes and then scrape up the “noodles” with a fork.

Top with your favorite meaty sauce and enjoy!

Microwaved Yams/Sweet Potatoes

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Baking sweet potatoes/yams in the oven USED to be my go-to method for cooking these spuds. Since I rarely eat them right out of the oven and I peel the skin, I’ve starting cooking them in the microwave instead. Using the microwave, I can cook the yams in a fraction of the time and there’s no risk of me burning down the house. Win win!

The different types of sweet potatoes/yams cook at various times – the yellow and orange ones are wetter and cook in about 10 minutes whereas the drier purple ones can take up to 20 minutes.

For all types of sweet potatoes, my method is the same:

I wash and dry similarly-sized sweet potatoes/yams…  

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…stab them all over with a sharp paring knife…

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…and arrange them in a circle in a Pyrex dish.

I cover the yams with a damp paper towel…

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…and nuke them on high for 5 minutes. (If you’re just making one yam, it only takes about 5 minutes.) Then, I rotate the yams and nuke them for another 5 minutes. I keep checking and nuking the yams until they are soft to the touch.

Orange and yellow yams are normally done after a total of 10 minutes. For the purple yams, I usually need to nuke them for a total of 20 minutes and I rewet the paper towel halfway through the cooking process.

Don’t be lazy and zap the spuds for a total of 10-20 minutes right off the bat – you’ll end up with unevenly cooked sweet potatoes. Break up the cooking time in 5 minutes intervals x2 and then shorter intervals (e.g. 1-2 minutes) as the spuds soften.

Once they’re finished, I let them cool to room temperature, peel them…

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…and stick them in the fridge in the same dish. Why waste your time washing a pan or dish when you can do it later?

Easy and quick post workout carbs!


Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).

Quick Nuked Green Beans Recipe

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I love me some Trader Joe’s.  I don’t always love the quality of their produce but it’s hard to pass up a 2 lb pack of pre-trimmed haricot verts.  Tonight, I wanted to eat some buttered green beans but I didn’t want to boil water.  Could I be any lazier?  Don’t answer that.

Plus, Mark Bittman and Harold McGee advocate microwaving veggies over steaming because nuking veggies delivers better color, texture, and vitamin retention — provided you watch it carefully.  So in the name of science (and not laziness), I nuked my green beans to test their hypothesis.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 lb of green beans, trimmed (I divided the TJ’s bag in half and vacuum sealed the other half for later consumption)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • lemon juice and/or vinegar (optional)
  • handful of toasted slivered almonds (optional)

I put the greens beans and water in my Corningware and stuck it in the microwave.  I nuked it for 2 minutes on high, stirred things around, and then another 2 minutes and stirred things around.  After that, I zapped the beans in 1 minute intervals to get the beans to the proper doneness (total of ~8 minutes) and drained the excess liquid. 

I threw in 2 tablespoons of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. As a variation, you can add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar and/or some toasted slivered almonds.

Not bad considering the green beans weren’t pristine and I didn’t have to boil water or wash a pot.  Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m exceptionally lazy.