If you’ve been following along with Her Tasty Life from the beginning you’ve probably noticed an obvious pattern developing around here:
- When I eat out, I EAT OUT. Sampling every delicious morsel without abandon (all in the name of research, of course).
- When I cook at home, I almost always cook something healthy or with a more waistline-friendly variation.
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
Rarely do I deviate from that pattern. Not only does it play into my mentality of “everything in moderation” but it also helps shift my thinking about food and how small, simple modifications to my favorite comfort foods can turn them into nutrient dense, healthful dishes that still taste 100% delicious.
My most recent favorite has been Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs. I’ve prepared it 3x in the last few weeks so naturally I had to share the recipe with you.
It scratches every itch for hearty, filling pasta without an ounce of the guilt. I’ve actually declared (and quite honestly) that I don’t miss the spaghetti one bit when this is on the table. With the spaghetti squash in tow, not only do you get the sensory experience of stringy, pasta-like goodness, but also tons of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and loads of fiber. None of that going on in spaghetti, ya hear?
If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash and meatballs before, not to worry. It’s quite easy to go from huge squash to pasta squash with a few tips and tricks. I’ll get you through it with this easy how-to list. Happy cooking!
Step 1: Spaghetti squash are inherently tough and hearty and, at times, are virtually impossible to cut through end-to-end. Pro tip: start at one end of the squash and cut rings like this above. Once you’ve got your rings cut, remove the seeds at the center and lay flat on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
Step 2: Brush the rings with good olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 40 minutes. I like to flip mine halfway through, but really it’s optional.
Steps 3 + 4: I’m combining these steps because if you have a kitchen helper, now is a good time to divide and conquer. Get the Marzano marinara sauce and meatball mixture started simultaneously.
Step 5: While your sauce is simmering away, hand-form your meatballs into nice, palm-sized balls and start pan frying them in vegetable or olive oil, your choice. Pan fry until the balls have developed a nice crust and are deep brown on all sides.
Step 6: Transfer meatballs into marinara sauce. You’ll be sure they’re cooked all the way through this way, and, you’ll keep them warm while your spaghetti squash finishes cooking.
Step 7: Now that the spaghetti squash is done cooking, use a fork to pull the flesh from the skin and the spaghetti squash will naturally form its “noodles” this way. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Step 8: Top noodles with sauce, meatballs, grated parmesan cheese and torn leaves of fresh Basil.
That’s it! And how good does that look? 8 steps to a meal that is all things beautiful, satisfying and tasty.
Serve with a green side salad and a glass of Tuscan – or whatever you like – wine to complete the meal. Buon appetito!
- 2 pounds spaghetti squash
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 16-ounce can San Marzano diced tomatoes
- 1 16-ounce can San Marzano tomato sauce
- 1 lb ground turkey meat
- 1 lb ground beef or sirloin
- 1 Cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 Cup grated parmesan
- 1 egg
- 1 bunch fresh basil, large stems removed, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- Vegetable or olive oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Cut the squash into rings from end to end, remove the seeds. Place rings on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the squash until softened, approximately 40 minutes depending on size.
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the tomatoes and simmer on low heat, about 45 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the sirloin, turkey, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg, basil and parsley and mix well. Form into 2-inch meatballs.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the meatballs until browned on all sides. Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through.
Using a fork, remove the squash flesh from the skin and stir the squash into the tomato sauce. Serve the squash topped with meatballs, grated parmesan and torn basil.