spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs

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spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

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?

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

You’ll need: Worcestershire sauce, spicy marinara, spaghetti squash, chili flakes, italian seasoning, cinnamon oregano, hot sauce, panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, ground turkey, garlic, shallot, sea salt.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Spaghetti squash has pretty tough skin and it can feel like you’ll need an axe to cut through it. Here’s a trick – pierce the squash  5-6 times around its center with a sharp knife and microwave for 3 minutes. This will soften up the squash just enough to make it a little easier to cut in half. I still struggled a lil bit but I’m sure not nearly as much as I would have had I not nuked it first.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Prepare the squash for roasting by rubbing the meat with a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper. I love love roasted garlic, so I decided to throw a few unpeeled cloves into each half. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes, or until a knife can be easily inserted and removed from the thickest part of the squash.

While the squash is roasting, start on the turkey meatballs.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Mince up a couple cloves of garlic and a large shallot. I used a shallot because that’s what I had on hand – you can replace with a small onion.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Combine ground turkey and all of the seasonings – garlic, shallots, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, chili flakes, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash or two (or four) of hot sauce.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Add in milk, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. I had panko bread crumbs on hand so that’s what I used – you can use regular or seasoned. If you’re using seasoned breadcrumbs,  reduce the amount of Italian seasoning you use by 1/2 tsp.

 

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Roll meatballs into ~1 1/2″ balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment for easy clean-up. Pop them in the oven with the squash – 400F for 20-25 minutes, until no longer pink.

 

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Squash is done!

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

And so are the meatballs! Yay!

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Let the squash cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, then start shredding the squash meats with a couple of forks, raking in all different directions to separate the “spaghetti”. You can use a little force, here – the skin is quite thick so don’t be afraid of forking through it.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Pretty veggie spaghetti times.

 

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Top the squash with a few of your turkey meatballs. You should have enough meatballs for 4 per squash. I used 5 ’cause I’m greedy.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Top with about 1/2 cup of marinara of your choice – I chose a spicy version by Barilla. Add 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and a few sprinkles of Parmesan before throwing it under the broiler to melt – about 5 minutes – but keep an eye on it because I don’t know your oven like that.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

Ta-dasies! You know how I feel about burnt cheese.

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs

adapted from iowa girl eats and lovestohost
makes 4 servings in 50 minutes

Ingredients

for the spaghetti squash

2 spaghetti squash
olive oil
salt
pepper
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)

 

Directions

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!

Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs
Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs
by

Prep Time:20 minutes

Cook Time:30 minutes

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