Do you ever have a craving for a warm, hearty, creamy, delicious plate of beef stroganoff? And yet, you feel just a little guilty thinking about eating all that creamy, meaty, goodness, and the carb-heavy pasta that typically goes with it? What if I told you you could have the same delicious flavor and satisfy that craving for this hearty dish, but with a lighter, lower carb version? Yep, that’s right. This recipe is all about a lighter low-carb beef stroganoff!
So, how do you make a recipe that centers around noodles coated in a creamy and delicious sauce low-carb? Keep all the great flavor of the sauce (lighten it up a bit if you like), and replace the noodles!
Vegetable “Noodle” Substitutes
There is a lot of recipe hype these days about using spiralized vegetables in place of noodles. And, while I still enjoy a delicious pasta every now and then, I try to lighten things up for our day to day cooking. Substituting vegetable noodles in place of pasta is one great way to easily lighten up a recipe, cut the carbs back, and add in some extra nutrition. Zucchini noodles known as “zoodles” and spaghetti squash are two common noodle substitutes people use. You can really spiralize nearly any root vegetable, lightly steam or saute it, and use it as a noodle substitute. I highly encourage you to experiment and see what you like!
I use the spiralizer attachment for my kitchen aid to spiralize my veggies into “noodles” but there are quite a few different kitchen tool options available (see some ideas here). You can also find already prepped veggie noodles in the grocery stores these days if you want to cut back on your prep at home.
How to Use Spaghetti Squash as a Noodle Substitute
I am particularly fond of spaghetti squash as a noodle substitute. My favorite method for preparing it is to slice open the squash length-wise, drizzle it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast it. This method takes a little longer, but the result is full of flavor, and the “noodles” that you collect aren’t soggy at all.
Roasting a spaghetti squash takes about an hour, give or take. If you don’t have that kind of time, a quick method for prepping a spaghetti squash is just to poke a few holes in the shell with a fork, and then microwave it whole until it gives a little when you poke it (about 5-10 minutes depending on the size, rotating it every few minutes.) Then just slice it open and scrape out the “noodles.”
But back to stroganoff!
Putting it Together for Low-Carb Stroganoff
I decided to take my favorite veggie noodle – spaghetti squash, and use it in this recipe. I had no idea if this would turn out as a good combination or not. But I am glad to report that it was quite tasty, and is even Hubby Approved 🙂 This recipe satisfied my craving for the creamy meaty rich Stroganoff sauce, but with a lighter, more nutritious, vehicle for that tasty sauce.
One More Thing to Keep This REAL Easy
I made one more switch-a-roo in this recipe to keep it really simple and easy (and use ingredients I had on hand). I used ground beef instead of the classic beef sirloin steak (or similar). This made it a breeze to cook, and eliminated any worry about tough or chewy meat (something I always worry about just a little!). Using ground beef also meant the sauce was thicker and quite meaty. This worked out well since the noodles weren’t wide egg noodles that are really good at soaking up sauce, but instead my substituted spaghetti squash noodles. Thicker sauce meant the dish still came together really well and the “noodles” still got nice and saucy without being too runny.
All together, this was a win-win for us! I highly recommend you give this modified low-carb stroganoff recipe a try next time you have a craving for this dinner classic.
There are lots of recipes out there for beef stroganoff. This one is derived from my mom’s recipe box. An old favorite with a fresh new twist! 🙂
- Saute pan
- Baking dish or cookie sheet
Veggies and Meat
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 8 oz mushrooms – white or mini portabella (sliced thick, and slices cut in half)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- White wine (a splash to deglaze pan)
- 20 oz ground beef (93/7 to keep this on the lighter side, or substitute ground turkey)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 14 oz can beef broth
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried)
- Crushed red pepper (optional, to taste)
- ½ cup sour cream (use light or fat free if desired)
- Garnish with parsley, chives, or microgreens; jalapeno slices if desired
Make the Spaghetti Squash Noodles
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place cut side down on the baking sheet.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, flip and check the squash. It should be starting to pull into noodles when you scrape it with a fork. If it is still firm, return cut side down and cook another 10 minutes, then check again.
- Once the squash is close to done, flip so cut side is up and roast another 10-15 minutes until flesh is starting to brown and easily pulls into noodles.
- Once finished, remove from oven and tent with foil to keep warm if still finishing the rest of the prep below.
- While the squash is cooking, make the meat sauce (below).
Brown the Meat
- Add a little EVOO to the saute pan, add meat, and cook until browned. Stir often to break into small pieces.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from pan to a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any left over liquid.
Saute the Mushrooms and Onions
- Wipe out the saute pan just used to brown the meat, and add about 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Once butter is melted, add mushrooms and onions.
- Add a generous pinch of salt.
- Saute until the veggies have released their liquid, and it has nearly evaporated.
- Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- A light fond should have developed on the bottom of the pan by this point. If not, continue to saute until lightly browned.
- Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine, and cook another minute until the alcohol has cooked off.
- Transfer the mushrooms and onions to the bowl with the meat.
Make the Gravy
- In the same saute pan, melt another 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and 2 tablespoons flour.
- Whisk to form a paste (your roux), and cook until the roux is a light brown and smells like cooking pastry.
- Slowly add the beef broth, whisking as you add.
- Add half the thyme (add all, if using dried thyme).
- Add crushed red peppers, if desired.
- Whisk briskly while the gravy simmers, until it thickens slightly to desired consistency. This should only take a minute or two.
Put it Together
- Add the browned meat, mushrooms and onions into the gravy and mix to combine.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and the rest of the fresh thyme.
- Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
Prep the Spaghetti Squash Noodles
- The spaghetti squash should be finished cooking by now.
- Scrape the spaghetti squash from the shell to remove the noodles and transfer to a bowl.
- Taste, and season with a little salt if desired.
- Serve about 1 cup of noodles on each plate.
- Top with ¼ of the meat gravy.
- Garnish with something green: parsley, chives, or microgreens. Add jalapeno slices if you like a little extra heat!