Italian pot roast low in carbs and prep time

May 19, 2015

In trying to expand my tastes to include low-carb meals, I also try to utilize time-saving devices like my crockpot. The key to any crockpot meal is planning ahead and, many times, I forget to prep the ingredients early enough to allow six to eight hours of cook time.

But this pot roast is worth it. You can prep it the night before, so all you have to do is take it out of the fridge and plug it in on your way out the door.

Low-Carb Italian Pot Roast

-2½ to 3 pound beef roast (I prefer the leaner cut)
-2 c. carrots, peeled and sliced
-1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
-1 large zucchini squash, sliced
-1 large spaghetti squash, sliced
-2 c. fresh green beans (tips and strings removed)
-1 16 oz. can of organic fire-roasted tomatoes
-4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
-1 t. dried basil
-1 t. dried oregano
-1 t. dried thyme
-1 t. garlic powder
-Pinch of red chili flakes
-½ t. ground cinnamon
-2 c. beef stock
-2 T. tomato paste
-2 T. corn meal
-¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
-Salt and pepper to taste

Trim the roast of excess fat and cut into three- or four-inch wide chunks. Set in the crockpot. Wash your vegetables thoroughly and add the carrots, onion, zucchini, green beans, garlic, and spices.

Add the beef stock and crushed tomatoes. Then add the tomato paste and give everything a good stir. This will produce a fair amount of sauce. If you want a thicker sauce, reduce the beef stock to one cup.

Cover and cook on high for four to six hours. The meat is done when it falls apart easily with a fork. Stir in the cornmeal one tablespoon at a time to desired thickness.

Rather than serving this with carbohydrate laden potatoes or bread, I serve it over spaghetti squash—a low glycemic index food, meaning it takes longer for your body to break it down into sugar, keeping insulin spikes at bay. For those watching their blood sugar or dieting, it is a great alternative to potatoes or pasta.  

It will take 45-60 minutes to cook the spaghetti squash, so plan ahead. Slice the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and innards, and rinse. Place the squash meat-side down on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, until fork tender.  

Use a fork and in long strokes from one end of the squash to the other, scrape the meat. It will look like spaghetti. Add a dollop of butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with your roast, vegetables, and sauce. Add another sprinkle of Parmesan on top and serve.

Leftover sauce can be frozen in individual servings in a freezer-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid. But don’t freeze the squash. Make a fresh one next time you serve it.

Spaghetti squash is also good as a side dish with butter or olive oil on top, a sprinkle of garlic sea salt, cracked black pepper, and topped with Parmesan. You could stir in some roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, or bell peppers, for more color and fiber. If you add a little protein, such as grilled chicken breasts or savory chicken sausage, it makes a complete healthy dinner.

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