So, we all know by now that I have a slight obsession with spaghetti squash. The truth is, I probably won’t give it up until I have created every noodle-y dish known to man using this fabulous vegetable. And even then, I will probably go back to the beginning and make them all again, because it just never.gets.old.
I was raised on Italian food. My dad doesn’t cook and he loves pasta, so it was normal for us to go out to fancy Italian dinners multiple nights per week. Sure, there are some healthy options when you go to an Italian restaurant, but let’s be honest–we really want pasta. All of the pasta. And then more pasta.
Well, you guys know I AM ALL ABOUT THE SAUCE. Pasta is a vehicle. A mostly tasteless way to get to some alfredo sauce or spicy marinara. Or pesto. Or…MEATBALLS.
Honestly, when you have huge delicious meatballs, do you even need spaghetti??? Well, I like a side of spaghetti with my meatballs. A nice side of spaghetti squash to hold onto some sauce, give me some texture, and fill out the rest of my bowl because, let’s be honest, I am always looking for the maximum amount of food possible, and veggies are the way to get there. Bonus points for them being better than “real” pasta.
OMG and can we talk about these meatballs???? They are ridiculous. I’d actually never made meatballs before, but I went with a combination of spicy turkey sausage and lean ground turkey. I added some chopped garlic, some onions to keep them juicy, and some oats to help keep them together. Fun fact–did you know you can sub oats for breadcrumbs in recipes like meatballs and meatloaf? I always do, and it always comes out great!
Sometimes using lean turkey can cause dishes to come out dry, but between the turkey sausage and the onions (my friend Kristi gave me the onion tip!), these meatballs were perfectly juicy and tender.
The classic comfort of spaghetti and meatballs with a lightened up, gluten-free and grain-free twist. Served with spicy Italian meatballs and spicy marinara sauce.
- 1 large spaghetti squash, halved
- 2 tsp olive oil
- pinch each salt and pepper
- 1 lb lean ground turkey (93% or higher)
- 1 lb spicy turkey sausage
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 egg. lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup oats (use gluten-free if that's important to you)
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings (preferably homemade)
- small pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
- 2 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less depending on desired spiciness)
- pinch each salt and pepper
- freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- To make the spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400. Scrape the seeds and stringy center from the spaghetti squash. Drizzle each half with 1 tsp olive oil. Use your fingers to rub oil into squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay each half face down in a large baking dish and cook until tender, about an hour.
- To make the meatballs, place a wire rack inside a large cookie sheet. Spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, gently combine all your meatball ingredients.. Do not over mix, just combine. Roll into approx 2" balls (or however large or small you like them). Transfer to prepared wire baking sheet. Bake at 400 (you can throw them in at the same time as your squash!) until cooked throughout, about 25 minutes.
- To make the sauce sauté onion and garlic in 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add crushed tomato and remaining spices. When sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- To plate, scrape the insides of the spaghetti squash. The squash when fully cooked will come out easily in spaghetti-like noodles. Top with sauce and add meatballs. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Looking for more spaghetti squash recipes?