After losing 50 pounds in nine months thanks to WW, the celebrity chef and foodie is sharing a spaghetti recipe that’s filling without being fattening.
Daphne Oz loves pasta. So, it’s no surprise that when HollywoodLife asked her for a healthy, Valentine’s Day recipe she suggested one of her favorites – Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe. “It takes very simple ingredients and elevates them and makes them celebratory and fun and something you can’t wait to tuck into,” the 34-year-old said in an EXCLUSIVE interview.
“I just took some liberties and swapped out the usual spaghetti you might have with this parmesan or pecorino and peppery cheese sauce topping, and subbed in spaghetti squash instead.”
That squash is a tasty alternative to spaghetti is a revelation to the mom-of-four. “It was underappreciated by me,” Daphne said about the ingredient, which is at the heart of the recipe, which you can see in full below. “I didn’t totally appreciate how much like spaghetti, spaghetti squash ends up being. I roasted it in the oven. I put a little garlic on top of it. It comes out in these gorgeously fluffy tendrils that taste and feel like you’re eating pasta, but you’re eating a vegetable, which is a win-win.”
The former co-host of The Chew especially loves that meal is healthy, without sacrificing taste. “You’re having the indulgent experience of tucking into a bowl of pasta and treating yourself to something really delicious and fun, but doing it in a way that’s hugely health supportive,” she said.
Part of the beauty of her Valentine’s Day meal is that if she serves it to her husband John Jovanovic (who technically doesn’t follow WW), he doesn’t feel like he’s on a weight loss plan.
“That’s one of the many reasons why I love WW,” Daphne said of the program formerly known as Weight Watchers. “You should never feel deprived. This is not a crash diet to get you in shape for something. It’s a lifestyle choice and one that is meant to be really pleasurable and flexible.”
Daphne is just one of many celebs who have embraced WW – from Oprah Winfrey and Ciara to Kate Hudson and most recently The Late Late Show host, James Corden. Essentially the program assigns a number of daily and weekly SmartPoints that users can spend. Each food and beverage are given a SmartPoints value based on the calories, saturated fat, protein and sugar the item contains.
Over the years WW has become even more individualized, offering people three plans to choose from – Green, Blue or Purple – with their respective daily SmartPoints totals of 30, 23 and 16. No food is banned and there is a range of zero-point foods (like most fruits and vegetables), that you can eat an unlimited amount of.
Daphne, who celebrated losing nearly 50 pounds in May 2020 just nine months after giving birth to her daughter Gigi, is proudly “team Purple,” which has the “lengthiest list of zero-point foods.” “For me, Purple works really well because wholegrains and most vegetables and fruits and chicken breasts and eggs and 0 percent dairy, these are all zero-point foods,” she said. “That’s not to say that you should just eat everything in your refrigerator but there are things that you can eat comfortably and not have to be overly concerned about tracking, which is something that’s really nice and comfortable for me.”
A typical day for Daphne starts with oatmeal or a slice of toast with almond butter and a banana for breakfast. Lunch tends to be a “big, healthy, delicious” salad with “tons of veggies” and a homemade dressing that includes “a bit of olive oil, lots of lemon juice, plenty of fresh herbs and a tiny splash of maple syrup to give it that little hint of indulgence.” “I throw a protein on there or chickpeas,” she said. “And then, at night I’ll do a portion of be it chickpea or maybe whole wheat pasta.” To that she’ll add parmesan, raw fresh arugula and homemade pasta sauce. Dessert is a piece of dark chocolate or a sorbet made with 0 percent Greek yogurt, a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup, lime zest and lime juice mixed well together and frozen on a baking sheet.
Today Daphne wears between a size 8 and 10, doesn’t obsess over her weight and is happy following the latest evolution of Weight Watchers, the myWW+ program, which offers meditation, virtual coaching and allows you to monitor your exercise, water intake and sleep.
“It’s really something that – for someone who lives and breathes delicious meals – has worked so beautifully for me,” she said. “To be able to make this journey something that feels relaxed and intuitive, comfortable and flexible, not like any of these rigid or punitive examples we’re told to expect when we’re talking about eating healthfully.”
For information on how to whip up Daphne’s Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe see the recipe in full below:
Daphne Oz’s Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe
4 SmartPoints per serving across all WW plans (Green, Blue and Purple)
Total Time: 1 hour (Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 45 minutes)
- Uncooked spaghetti squash – 1 medium, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 2 3/4 lb)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt 1 tsp
- 2 garlic clove(s)
- 8 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch, freshly cracked black pepper (or to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place both squash halves cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet, coat squash with a few sprays from an oil mister, and season each with 1/2 tsp of the salt. Use a Microplane-style rasp to grate 1 garlic clove over each half, then rub it into the squash.
- Roast the squash for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a fork easily slips all the way through and the flesh fluffs into spaghetti-like strands.
- Let the squash cool for 10 minutes, then shred it with a fork. Transfer the strands to a large bowl. Add the Parmigiano and olive oil, then toss and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serving size: 1/4 of squash and 2 tbsp cheese