I was looking for something healthy and low-carb, but still filling and comforting with some stick-to-your-ribness quality to it. Spaghetti and meatballs came to mind first… but how could I make it healthy and relatively light? Replace the pasta. Use turkey instead of beef. Season the hell out of it. Lo and behold, spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs!
It just so happens that it takes about 20 minutes to prep the meatballs, and 40-45 minutes to roast the spaghetti squash, so it’s easy to time this out:
Prep squash and place in oven to roast.
Prep meatballs in first 20 minutes of squash roasting.
Place meatballs in oven for remaining 25 minutes of squash roasting time.
Broil for burnty cheese times.
Voila, magic! A fancy looking, low-carb squash and turkey meatballs in under an hour!
If you’re short on time, you could also use pre-made meatballs, then you’re just roasting the squash. But really, since you’re roasting the squash anyway, why not make the meatballs?
While the squash is roasting, start on the turkey meatballs.
Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs
for the spaghetti squash
2 spaghetti squash
garlic, unpeeled (optional)
for the meatballs
1 lb ground lean turkey
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 small shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use 1/4 tsp if you don’t like things spicy, up to 1 tsp if you like more of a kick)
1 dash cinnamon
1 dash hot sauce (to taste, I used 3 dashes of Slap Ya Mama)
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cups of marinara sauce (I used Barilla Spicy Marinara)
1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, gouda, fontina, jack, whatever you like)
for the squash
Preheat oven to 400F.
Pierce squash 5-6 times around its center. Microwave for 3 minutes.
With a sharp knife, cut squash in half and remove the seeds.
Rub the meat of the squash with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Optional addition: place a few unpeeled garlic cloves inside the squash to roast as well. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash can be inserted and removed easily.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the meatballs.
for the meatballs
Combine turkey, salt, shallot, garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add in milk, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs.
Shape into ~1 1/2″ balls. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, until no longer pink inside.
put it all together
Once the squash is cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes) use a couple of forks and rake the tines in different directions, breaking up the strings of “spaghetti” squash. The skin is tough, so don’t worry about breaking through it.
Top squash with 4 meatballs. Top the meatballs with about 1/2 cup of marinara, then 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and a few sprinkles of Parmesan.
Broil to melt the cheese – about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it.
I like my cheese super burnty so I also hit it with the brulee torch. Bam!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes