October 30, 2013

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
[Warning: For the next three paragraphs, or so, I’m going to oversell this dish. So if you dig it already - just by looking at the pictures - then feel free to scroll down without even bothering reading this. No, I'm just kidding. All I wanted to do is to start a post with square brackets, which I just did and it feels good!]
So, spaghetti and meatballs...what’s there not to love? It has to be one of the most fun dishes ever. Especially when you’re a kid.
Mounds of spaghetti, tasty meatballs, loads of tomato sauce splattering onto your clothes (and the walls...ugh!) It’s the perfect dish when, as a kid, all you wanted to do was to create a big mess at the table, and laugh your heart out.
I spent many meals trying to twirl spaghettis, cut meatballs and spoon tomato sauce all at the same time; and stuffing everything into my mouth; which of course never worked out. Endless hours of fun though.
Imho, spaghetti with meatballs is so awesome and I still have to find one person who doesn’t like it.
However, I’ve seen people screwing up this dish for years – always thinking of it as a “quick dinner”. Buying crappy store-bought sauce and frozen meatballs, and think they can just throw it together and voila! And then they’re like “Ew....this doesn’t taste anything like my mum’s!”.
So what I’m presenting you here, in not only a foolproof recipe for spaghetti with meatballs, it’s an improved and healthier version of it. Thanks to the one and only spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
Spaghetti squash is really awesome. I can’t get enough of it.
And in this dish, it totally lets you get away eating meatballs with sauce and cheese without an ounce of guilt.


Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
As you know, I’m all for replacing carbs with veggies whenever possible, and in this spaghetti squash with meatballs I can honestly say that the replacement is even better than the real deal. 
This is a pretty easy and (much) lighter version of spaghetti with meatballs but still remains spaghetti with meatballs. I know it can be confusing, but I think you got my point-

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Kids love it too. I actually have the impression that kids (especially my nieces and nephew) love this even more that the original spaghetti with meatballs. The idea of scooping “spaghetti” out of squash makes them super excited.

Plus, spaghetti squash with meatballs allows you to make even a bigger mess than regular spaghetti with meatballs. What’s not to love about that?

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs                                                                           Print this recipe!

Ingredients 
Serves 4

Spaghetti squash

2 whole spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
olive oil
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Meatballs

¼ lb / 4 oz / 113 gr grass-fed organic ground beef
¼ lb / 4 oz / 113 gr organic ground pork
¼ cup / 0.9 oz / 25 gr almond meal/flour
1 small free-range organic egg
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
A pinch of ground black pepper
A splash of milk (your choice of milk)

Tomato sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 14 oz / 400 gr can crushed red tomatoes
zest of half lemon
1 tablespoon oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
fresh basil, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Rub a drizzle of oil all over the cut side of each squash half and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is just tender enough to scrape into strands. Remove from the oven and scrape the squash with a fork and fluff the “spaghetti strands.
While the squash is baking, make the meatballs.
In a medium bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. With dampened hands scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture and roll into balls (they should be about 1-inch). Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
To make the tomato sauce, in a large skillet combine the olive oil, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir while you heat the skillet over medium heat, saute for about 2 minutes or so until everything is fragrant. You don’t want the garlic to brown though.
Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Lower the heat and taste it. If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Then, stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.
To assemble squash, fluff the spaghetti in each squash and add 1 serving of tomato sauce and 1 serving of meatballs. Gently mix to combine. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese.
Return the squashs to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and everything is heated through, about 10 minutes.
Top with fresh basil and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving (half squash) yields 362 calories, 16 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbs and 30 grams of protein.

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19 comments:

  1. Hell yeah that looks amazing!

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  2. I have been meaning to try a spaghetti squash for ages and this makes me need to even more, looks delicious : )

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  3. This looks amazing. I can't eat tomatoes anymore...would it work with a pesto or cream sauce, do you think?

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    1. Absolutely, I think pesto would be perfect. I also like to eat spaghetti squash with just a dollop of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese; easy but super tasty!

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  4. Well - you have stumbled on the one person who is not a fan of traditional spaghetti and meatballs! I thinks it's the spaghetti that ruins it for me - so your spaghetti squash replacement has me drooling! This dish is so delectable and your pictures are gorgeous Mike!

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  5. Have only tried the spaghetti squash thing once before...did not like, no flavor and stringy. Perhaps I will give it another go. Thanks.

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    1. Second time's the charm Vivian with spaghetti squash, I promise!

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  6. This looks awesome! I plan on making it this weekend. Also; your website in general is amazing, Mike! (and I love the "randomness" much more than structure.) Cheers!

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    1. Janna, you just made my day! Rock on randomness then and let me know how you like the spaghetti squash.

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  7. Wow, a healthy light version of spaghetti with meatballs with great taste and looking so tempting!
    I think even my husband and sons who always think for healthy food you have to sacrifice taste will be convinced by this yummy recipe.

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    1. I'm sure they will Daniela, this is honestly super yummy!

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  8. Can this be prepared ahead of time and reheated later?

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    1. It most certainly can. I do it all the time and the only issue I have is with the cheese that can get a tad hard when you reheat. Other than that, it's a perfect meal to make ahead!

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  9. These were amazing!! Made them this evening and a big hit!!!

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  10. Cooked this tonight and we are both crazy about this dish! Now I will have to go looking for another spaghetti squash because this is a dish that could do with some repeating. Thank you for sharing!

    I am off to look at the rest of your recipes.

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