taco spaghetti squash boats

aip paleo taco beef


Who doesn’t love a good boat? I personally love boats in all forms, food-stuffed, motor yacht-y, ones that pull up to island bars. We have a cabin cruiser on Lake Travis here in Austin that my father-in-law is letting us use. It has been pure glory.


The lake is huge even to feel all your own, especially on football Sundays when everyone in Texas is indoors watching the television. When they’re doing that, I’m at Whole Foods enjoying the hot bar all to myself and not waiting for someone to decide for several minutes whether they want to add shredded carrots to their salad.


 Last night we took an evening cruise with Grace and Rafael, relaxing music playing the whole time, engine off, and turn-taking long lake swims. I’ll really miss that aspect of our time here in Austin. It’ll be hard to leave here, especially since I grew my baby while in its perimeter. Even more reason to live it up while we’re still here.


This morning when I woke up at 7, I checked the weather and it said 72 degrees! So I fed Grace, grabbed a Thunderbird Coffee bar (my newest obsession) and off we went to walk around downtown and the lake before my noon gym class. I just LOVE getting out early in the morning for our walks. It keeps my sanity for the rest of the afternoon that we mostly spend at home playing.


I’m cognizant to not overwhelm her with errands every day, and while I’ve definitely “fit her” into my lifestyle, it’s also incredibly important for me to have a lot of time every day at home where she’s not stuck in a stroller or car seat. In fact, I saw her first pincer grasp today which is about 4 months earlier than typical, so maybe it was an accident, but it was so much fun to watch! [OT Mommy here, can’t help myself]


After our walk, I needed a quick hit of protein before my ass-kicking class (it did end up kicking my ass but I survived). When I think “quick”, I think INSTANT POT. You will never, ever, EVER turn your oven on again for almost an hour to get tender, shreddable spaghetti squash. SIX minutes. Six minutes, people. That’s about as long as it takes to read this blog post!


And you’re not even doing anything during those six minutes except watching the timer tick down, if that gives you the thrills like it does me. Since you already have your IP out, you’ll also use it to quickly cook the creamy ground beef mixture that is seasoned with nightshade-free spices reminiscent of taco beef.


Now without nightshades, it won’t be exactly like taco beef, but an AI girl can dream. It’ll still be damn delicious, especially if you top it with avocado cream, cilantro, green onions, olives and nutritional yeast if your little heart desires so. I didn’t use nutritional yeast, but it does add a zesty cheese-y flavor for the dairy-free crowd. 




  • Replace the mayo with an equal amount of coconut cream or Avocado Mayo from The Healing Kitchen OR another AIP-friendly mayo. 


  • Make 3 tablespoons worth of Taco Seasoning from The Healing Kitchen  which is seed-based spice free as well (no cumin but has some extras in it that this recipe doesn’t like ginger)


  • Have you considered introducing seed spices like cumin, fennel and mustard? They tend to be successful reintroductions for many people with autoimmune disease, especially because the quantity in which you consume them is so low, compared to say sunflower seed butter. If you’re wondering the best way to reintroduce foods, I suggest Eileen’s guide called Reintroducing Foods on the AIP




aip paleo taco beef




Tonight’s taco night is ALL about the veggies!




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Nightshade-Free Taco Boats

  • Author: Alaena Haber
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x



Spaghetti Squash:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound spaghetti squash, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup water

Taco Beef:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mayo (for AIP, use coconut cream or mayo substitute)
  • for serving: chopped cilantro, white parts of the sliced green onion above, sliced black olives, nutritional yeast, avocado cream


For the Spaghetti Squash

  1. Half the spaghetti squash widthwise. Check to see if both halves will fit inside your Instant Pot insert. If not, then half again into quarters. I was able to fit 3 quarters of my squash in my 6-quart Instant Pot insert, which is plenty for this recipe.
  2. Add the water to the insert and seal the lid.
  3. Set the Manual timer to 6 minutes and release the pressure once the timer goes off.
  4. Use tongs to remove the squash to a cutting board and dump the water out.
  5. While you cook the ground beef, use a fork to remove the squash from its skin. Keep the skins if you want to serve the taco beef mixture in them.

For the Taco Beef

  1. Turn the Saute function on and heat the olive oil. Add the green parts only of the green onion and the diced yellow onion to the insert. Saute for 5 minutes until fragrant and softened.
  2. Crumble the ground beef into the insert and cook with the onions until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add all of the remaining seasonings except ½ teaspoon of sea salt to the pot and stir to coat the ground beef.
  3. Stir in the mayo and the 6 cups of cooked squash. Continue to cook for a couple minutes until everything is well combined.
  4. Remove insert from heat and stir in remaining ½ teaspoon sea salt.
  5. To serve, spoon Taco Beef mixture into spaghetti squash skins or in individual serving bowls, taco shells, or lettuce cups. Top with chopped cilantro, sliced green onion, black olives, nutritional yeast, and avocado cream.