Paleo and vegan hash browns made with only one ingredient. Grain-free, nut-free, gluten-free, flourless, refined sugar-free, egg-free, dairy-free and oil-free. I mean, it does have only one ingredient.
(Hint: It’s not potatoes. These hash browns are potato-free baby.)
Now, you might be thinking: Only one ingredient? How can that possibly constitute a recipe?
Well, you should know I have a sweet spot for simplicity. (Just look at my 1 Ingredient Popsicles). I’ve said before that simplicity often equates to healthy eating and I stand by that premise.
Just think about how complicated the refining process of packaged food is. Preservatives and dyes and other toxic, artificial ingredients are added. Ingredients are extracted and modified so far beyond their original form. Or ingredients are engineered altogether with no trace of natural occurring substance anywhere in sight. Do we really know enough to be toying with nature like that?
Imagine all the processing and refining a potato has to go through to become an oil-drenched deep fried chip. Scary stuff.
Things like MSG trick your tastebuds into thinking food tastes better than it actually does. Think about it: if something tastes rancid or stale, our taste receptors are telling us something! It’s probably gone bad, or it wasn’t healthy to begin with, but you wouldn’t know that if it was pumped full of refined sugar. Think of McDonald’s; their food is essentially tasteless sludge flavored to make it palatable. We really shouldn’t toy with something as natural and basic and human taste. Eating is one of our primal instincts, taste along with it. We naturally crave foods that contain the nutrients our bodies need and that are healthy for us. Unfortunately, that’s skewed by all the artificial and unnatural additives. We could very well be eating poison without even knowing it (and sadly, most Americans are poisoning themselves, whether the decision is conscious or not).
Aaaanyway, you can probably tell this topic strikes a nerve. But back to the original point:
It’s a beautiful thing.
And as if health wasn’t reason enough to eat simply, lack of complexity in recipes is also beautifully time-efficient and easy. Great for busy moms or just
lazy people anyone wanting a chill day in general. Don’t feel like fiddling with a thousand ingredients? This recipe is perfect for you! You don’t even have to bother with more than one ingredient, let alone a slew of hard-to-find, expensive, exotic (and oftentimes finicky) ones.
Don’t like simplicity? Don’t worry; this recipe is for you too! Complicate it as much as you like. Different spices and herbs can make these simple hash browns as extravagant and original as you wish. Beyond the typical salt and pepper, you can experiment with chopped veggies, cheese (if you’re into that), cilantro, an Italian herb blend (basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley) and just about any other herb/spice you can think of.
Eggs and hash browns are kind of like a pair, right? Definitely try that.
Oh, and nuts. They make everything better. I’m sure you can find a way to work them into this recipe… serve the hash browns alongside a handful of almonds. Or grind them up real fine and fold them into the hash browns before sauteeing.
Go nuts. I’m all about nuts: eating them, being them… incorporating them into recipes that may seem completely ridiculous to all the non-nutty peeps out there.
OKAY so what’s the ingredient in this simple recipe??
Not sweet potatoes…
Not some artificial processed barely-resembling-food mush made of who knows what…
*unnecessarily long drawn out drum roll*
Some people think they need egg to bind the hash browns together. Nope – but do keep in mind, these won’t stay together quite like “real” hash browns.
Some people think they need oil to get it crispy and fried. Nope – oil does help, but it isn’t necessary.
Some people think you can’t make hash browns without potatoes. They’re wrong. 😉
Behold: 1 Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns. Paleo hash browns made without potatoes.
These hash browns taste good. Hint hint: a great way to sneak vegetables into your kid’s diet. My little brother is super picky, often deciding whether he likes a food by the look and smell before it ever even crosses his mouth (I think kids have a heightened sense of taste… anyone else willing to back me up on that?), so I’m constantly having to adapt recipes to be healthy as well as taste bud satisfying for the little guy’s picky tastes.
This = JAK JAK approved.
I made these one ingredient hashbrowns with nothing but spaghetti squash, salt and pepper; he actually ate them! Kid approved. Just go easy on any additional veggies/spices that your kid is sensitive to or particular about if you want these healthy hash browns to be kid friendly.
I’ve been fiddling around with spaghetti squash lately (see my Spaghetti Squash Chinese Stir Fry) despite my preference towards the similar (and superior, IMO) zoodles. But, a few days time and several recipes later and me and spaghetti squash have come to an understanding. The unique squash is just like the thin little delicate noodles of angel-hair pasta and uncannily similar to Chinese noodles. It definitely has a place in the world.
They’re a bit sweet (spaghetti squash dessert recipe coming soon!) which is probably why I’ve never been too keen on them (in general, save the sweet things for dessert and savory tastes for dinner… you with me? or do you enjoy a touch of sweetness in your meals?) but you can’t really detect the sweetness in these hash browns. The double-cooking process and the addition of salt (and spices, if using) fizzles out the sweet note and enhances the savory taste to make it more hash brown-like.
Fun fact: I didn’t know hash browns was two words until Google corrected me today. Doesn’t hashbrowns look more natural? Or do I not get out enough? Nevermind, I’m nuts, don’t listen to me. 😉
Just make the paleo hash browns and don’t worry about spelling or proper words or whether a space belongs in between hash and browns. That burden is for me alone to bear.
Flavor them with whatever you want. Turmeric, curry powder, Italian herbs (thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley), crushed garlic, red pepper, etc. Simple salt and pepper tastes great too.
Spice is the spice of life, right?
I think I said that wrong…
I trust you know what turmeric is? That yellow Indian spice (sometimes known as Indian saffron), commonly ground into a powder, one of the main components of curry powder, a spice that everyone seems to pronounce differently, a super healthy superfood of sorts… ringing any bells?
Well, to refresh: turmeric is highly praised for its health benefits. It’s been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb for its healing properties. This powerful spice is commonly used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. It must be pretty healthy, right?
I recently learned that in order for your body to absorb turmeric, you should pair it with a fat (like coconut oil). Turmeric is fat-soluble, which means the active ingredient can’t fully dissolve unless in the presence of a fat; when eaten with a fat, the active ingredient in turmeric (cucurmin) can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream, which is where you’ll get all the benefits. It is crucial to pair turmeric with a fat to get full absorption and all the benefits.
I was mixing a tablespoon of turmeric powder with a tablespoon of honey to make it more palatable, thinking I was getting all the health benefits. Little did I know that the turmeric likely wasn’t even absorbing properly…
Also, you may already know that black pepper is essential as well when consuming turmeric powder. They should always be paired together (just like avocados and tomatoes; guacamole and salsa not only taste great together but they work synergistically to give your body the full absorption of nutrients and maximum benefits). The bioavailability of the cucurmin in the turmeric is said to increase by 2000% when combined with black pepper. That’s a crazy high percentage – you might as well not even bother with turmeric unless you pair it with black pepper.
THIS is my favorite turmeric powder. Not only is it certified organic, sourced directly from India, dye-free, gluten-free and free of any additives, but it has a high curcumin content. Curcumin is the active component in turmeric that’s responsible for its incredible anti-inflammatory properties.
And, you know, it tastes great. Really fresh. They say quality ingredients make a quality dish. They’d be right, whoever they are.
These can even get crispy, just like real hash browns! Make sure your heat is high enough and follow the tips below.
Tip #1: Squeeze out as much water as you can after you’ve cooked the spaghetti squash. The first time I made them I used my hands for this step. It’s do-able, but with the aid of a cheesecloth or nut bag it’s much easier.
Tip #2: I cook mine on high heat and flip multiple times to get a nice browned, crispy effect. If you like your hash browns
soggier softer, turn your heat on low. The hash browns will need to cook a little longer that way.
Tip #3: I sauteed the hash brown patties in a bit of coconut oil. You can use any fat or oil of choice. Or none at all – I like the flavor and texture the oil gives it, plus the easy clean-up since there’s less stick, but it’s certainly not necessary (especially if you have a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet!).
Try #4: Try Italian flavored hash browns by adding basil, oregano, thyme and parsley to your hash browns before cooking.
Tip #5: Or Indian hash browns with turmeric, cumin, garlic, black pepper and a dusting of chili pepper.
Tip #5: You can precook the spaghetti squash and store the noodles in the fridge for later use. Especially helpful if you don’t use a whole spaghetti squash at once or if you want some hash browns ready to throw on the skillet for a quick breakfast. Cooking more at once is more energy efficient! Which is easier on your wallet 🙂
Avoid cooking stress and eat simple!
- Spaghetti Squash
- Coconut oil, for sauteeing (optional)
- Optional: salt, pepper or other spices/herbs.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (If using already cooked spaghetti squash, skip to step 6.)
- Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and place on an oven rack, face/flesh side up.
- Cook the spaghetti squash in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the squash is soft and can be easily scraped off with a fork.
- Scrape spaghetti squash meat/noodles into a bowl. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the cooked spaghetti squash using your hands or a cheesecloth.
- Add spices to spaghetti squash (optional).
- Heat up skillet to medium-high with a bit of coconut oil.
- Form the spaghetti squash into patties with your hands, rolling them into balls and flattening them out between your palms. They should hold together moderately well but might be a little hard to handle.
- Place patties on warmed skillet. Flip after 5 minutes. You want the hash browns nice and browned, but not burnt. Adjust cooking time accordingly. If your top side didn’t quite get cooked long enough, flip again and saute for a few minutes.
- Eat right away. Serve with homemade ketchup, scrambled eggs, bacon/ham, roasted potatoes, or eat by themselves!
To get the browned effect, cook on high (using oil helps) to get the hash browns nice and crispy.
You can substitute coconut oil for another fat or oil. Or none if you have a nonstick pan.
Serve with any number of other breakfast items. A fruit salad, cauliflower grits, potatoes, eggs, bacon, ham, ketchup, etc. I think it goes without saying that eggs and bacon/ham are not vegan. 😉 Store-bought ketchup is likely not paleo due to the refined sugar that is added, or the high fructose corn syrup, or ever evasive “flavoring”. Make your own ketchup if at all possible or buy natural organic kind if available.
Storing: you can precook the spaghetti squash and store it in the fridge. It can be taken right from the fridge and thrown on the skillet for a quick meal. Squeeze out the water after taking the cooked squash out of the fridge as it releases liquid as it sits. This option is great for time sensitive/restricted cooks or parents. Or if you cook multiple spaghetti squashes at once while the oven is hot to save time/energy.
I wouldn’t suggest storing the already sauteed hash brown patties in the fridge as they might get soggy and lose their crispiness.
Are you a simple cook or do you prefer complex recipes?
Also… did you know hash browns was two words or did you think hashbrowns was one word like me?