Do you remember that scene in “Lady and the Tramp” when Lady and Tramp shared a plate of spaghetti and meatballs under the stars? Of course you do. I bet you even tried slurping your spaghetti at least once, much to your mother’s dismay, and thought about sharing one long spaghetti with a special someone. That doesn’t work by the way, the Godfather and I tried it and it’s really rather difficult.
Thankfully, spaghetti squash will spare you the embarrassment because while it does have a spaghetti-like appearance, there are no extra long strings of carb-laden pasta goodness. What you get instead is a very versatile, nutrient rich fruit (yes, it’s a fruit), that averages only about 40 calories per cup, and is an easy substitute in almost all spaghetti recipes if you are watching your carb intake, or just want a healthier option than traditional pasta. We have enjoyed it for years, prepared in all sorts of ways, but our favorite way to enjoy spaghetti squash is this – a simple preparation that allows the flavor of the squash to shine, accented with delicious meatballs made by the Godfather (usually beef or turkey, like today’s).
To prepare the spaghetti squash today, I baked it, but there are many other ways to prepare spaghetti squash including the slow cooker and the microwave, so please feel free to use your preferred method if you have one.
If you are allergic to nuts, you may substitute panko bread crumbs for the almond meal (it will not be Whole30 anymore), or 2 tbsp coconut flour. You may also omit it altogether, but your meatballs may end up a little more dense and dry since you must cook ground poultry to well done (160 F) for food safety reasons and it’s very very easy to accidentally over-cook. The nut meal/panko/coconut flour retains some of the moisture, making it more difficult to dry out the meatballs.
- 1 lbs medium spaghetti squash, about 3
- 1/2 cup water or broth
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2/3 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/4 c almond meal (or 1/4 c panko bread crumbs, or 2 tbsp coconut flour)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp mild New Mexico chili powder
To prepare the squash:
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Carefully cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Place the squash in a baking dish, cut side down. Add the broth to the dish and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced by a fork.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool until you can handle it and then scrape out the strings of "spaghetti" with a fork.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the spaghetti squash, salt, and tomatoes and cook until warmed through.
- Adjust salt to taste and serve warm, topped with fresh parsley.
- Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended.
- Shape meat into 1 1/2" balls (approximately the size of a golf ball) and place on the baking sheet. This recipe makes about 15 meatballs
- Bake 15 minutes, until cooked through, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.