Are you a spaghetti and meatballs fan? If you are, this recipe is for you! I’ll be perfectly honest and say I was never really someone who was drooling over a big bowl of pasta (like my mom and my husband would be!), but even so, I adored this dish. I hope you will too! (picture source – am I the only one who thinks of Lady and the Tramp when I think of spaghetti and meatballs?)
Bursting with nutrients, this dish is comforting, delicious, and super-healthy all at the same time. I admit that the meatballs don’t look exactly like “regular” meatballs, but if you can get over that, you’ll never know that these have no saturated fat (OK, 0.09g per serving), loads of antioxidants, and tons of protein! Spaghetti squash has about 40 calories per cup (about 20% as many as the same amount of pasta!), and also has tons of fiber and vitamins. I also swap the standard ground beef for extra lean ground turkey, zucchini, and lentils – a powerhouse combination of healthy protein!
Ridiculously Healthy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Serves 3 (these were smaller serving sizes, so you could easily make this work for two servings, and leftovers keep well in the refrigerator!)
- 6 ounces 99% lean ground turkey
- 1.5 medium-sized zucchini (or 1 large), grated
- 1/4 cup egg substitute, or 1 large egg
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1.5 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4t salt
- 1t oregano, dried
- 1.5t parsley, dried
- 1/8 cup fresh basil (or 1.5t dried basil)
- 1/4 cup dried lentils
- 1 small-to-medium-sized spaghetti squash
- 3/4 cup canned tomato sauce (lower sodium if preferred)
- added green veggies for topping (I used roasted kale, broccoli, and baby portobellos)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Poke a few holes in the whole spaghetti squash, and microwave for 4 minutes. It will be really hot when it’s done, so be careful! Slice it in half, lengthwise, and lay each half on a baking sheet covered in foil. Spray with olive oil or cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 40 minutes or until the edges are just starting to look crispy.
- Meanwhile, bring rinsed lentils to a boil in a scant cup of water. Turn heat down to low, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside.
- In a small skillet, saute onion and garlic until barely translucent. Set aside.
- Grate zucchini into a large bowl.
- To the zucchini bowl, add onion and garlic mixture, ground turkey, drained lentils, egg (substitute), and seasonings. Stir until combined.
- Using your hands (come on! just get them dirty!), form small meatballs (about 1/4 cup each?), and lay out on foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I made 15 meatballs with my mixture.
- Bake meatballs 20 minutes, or until no longer translucent (you can cut into one to make sure it’s done).
- While meatballs are finishing up in the oven, grab your spaghetti squash halves (with an oven mitt!). Using a fork, scrape downwards so that spaghetti squash “noodles” come away from the shell. Separate the flesh from the entire squash into 3 bowls.
- Top spaghetti squash with veggies (this part is optional, but why not?!?). Place 5 meatballs (or 1/3 of the batch) onto each plate, and top with 1/4 cup of warmed tomato sauce. (See Kevin digging in back there? That’s why I didn’t wait to take better pictures :)).
- I recommend adding a sprinkle of freshly shaved parmesan cheese, and mixing it all up like so! Less pretty, but so delicious!
If made according to these instructions (before adding parmesan or extra green veggies), each of the 3 servings contains 190 calories, 2g fat, 26g carbs, and 18g protein. You can’t beat that!
So tell me in the comments … Are you going to any Labor Day barbecues or parties this weekend? (If so, remember my tips for a healthy holiday weekend!) What’s one healthy thing you’re looking forward to doing (or eating) this weekend?
I love that you used lentils in the meatballs! These sound and look awesome 🙂 Such great substitutions. Hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend! In Montreal for a few days so am a bit tied up but promise I will be responding to your email soon!
Thanks, Davida! There’s NO rush – just enjoy your weekend in Montreal and respond whenever! 🙂
I NEED TO MAKE THIS! I already ADORE spaghetti squash so I know the rest of it I would be obsessed with too! Those turkey balls, MMMMMMM!! Maybe I will grill some in patty form on Monday! 🙂
Grilling is such a good idea – let me know how it goes! Only concern would be that these are a bit liquidy before baking (due to zucchini + egg) … maybe reduce the egg a bit and see if you can make it work!
What a healthy meal! Love this! I am a big BIG fan of spaghetti squash. I literally have it once a week every week in the winter! Delicious!
I’m a fan, too! Thanks for stopping by, Christine!
I’m so excited that spaghetti squash is coming back in season!!! The hubs is getting tired of zucchini noodles, though, I love the idea of mixing zucchini in the meatballs. He’ll never know! hehehe
Haha! What they don’t know won’t hurt them (and might help them!) :). Have a great weekend –
Definitely going to give this one a try.
You know, it looks delicious enough to stand as its own dish, not a spaghetti and meatball substitute.
I wish my local Kroger stocked spaghetti squash more regularly, sometimes they have it, sometimes not.
Thanks, Robert! I hope you like it. Bummer that you can’t always find spaghetti squash … I always find spaghetti squash and butternut, almost year round, but very rarely find acorn or kabocha (which I’ve been dying to try lately!). Maybe as fall comes around we’ll get luckier!
I love spaghetti squash! I don’t even like “real” pasta that much anymore.. weird?! I am excited to recipe test this weekend and do the Color Run! Hope you have a fabulous long weekend.
Amy, I am SO with you! Like I said, I was never the biggest “real” pasta lover, but now I would choose spaghetti squash over “real” pasta any day! Enjoy the Color Run – it’s certainly an experience! Super fun time, but make sure you have time for a shower before you go anywhere important :).
Love this! Will have I try this! If only Enoch ate turkey or ground chicken!:p
Hmm … does he just not like the idea of ground turkey/ chicken? I wonder if you could try it with crumbled tempeh … I don’t think tofu consistency would work as well. Let me know if you try it!