Fresh Start Bariatric Cookbook: Healthy Recipes to Enjoy Favorite Foods After Weight-Loss Surgery

Ratatouille over Spaghetti Squash


You want the pasta, but you don’t want all those carbohydrates. You also don’t want to leave the meal feeling like an overinflated balloon, since starchy foods tend to make most people feel overly full and uncomfortable after surgery. Spaghetti squash is an excellent alternative to pasta and comes in at a minuscule one-fifth of the calories. Instead of using store-bought spaghetti sauce, which tends to be high in sugar and lacking in diversity of vegetables, try making ratatouille with your bountiful summer vegetables. You can take it a step further by adding cheese, turkey sausage, or baked chicken to get in some protein.

Nonstick cooking spray

1 small (3- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

1 medium eggplant, skin on and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch slices

1 medium yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices

1½ cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped into ¼-inch dice

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

2 Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds.

3 Place the squash, cut-side down, on the baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

4 While the squash is roasting, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the basil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary, and mix until well combined.

5 Add the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash to the skillet, and sauté for about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Set aside.

6 Once the roasted squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to gently scrape out the flesh. The squash should naturally come apart in the shape of spaghetti noodles.

7 Serve the squash noodles with the ratatouille mixture.

Ingredient tip: If you buy a larger spaghetti squash, you make a bountiful amount of “noodles” to reheat and serve throughout the week with different toppings.

Per Serving (½ cup): Calories: 136 Total fat: 8g Sodium: 13mg Total carbs: 14g Sugar: 5g Fiber: 6g Protein: 2g

Post-Op Servings

image ¼ cup serving image ½ to 1 cup serving