Spaghetti squash. I’m still amazed that my kids all like this unusual-looking vegetable. Packed with vitamin C, niacin, potassium, and fiber, and such a pretty yellow color, I am psyched every time they eat it. However, I learned when they were younger that, just because they like something today, there’s no guarantee they’ll like 2 months from now. So we serve them the stuff they like frequently so as to imprint its acceptability into their brains for the long run.
Except for, like, candy and stuff. Cuz nobody ever said to their kid: “Why won’t you eat the Rolo? You LOVE chocolate and caramel! Come on, just one little taste, for me?”
Usually we just eat our spaghetti squash with butter, salt, and pepper. You can also stuff it, saute it, or turn it into succotash. Today, however, we are going with quite the literal translation.
Eat it like spaghetti.
That’s right. Cook it up, throw some meatballs and sauce on it, and pour the vino! Red checked tablecloths, candles stuffed into empty wine bottles, and Billy Joel singing “Italian Restaurant” in the background. You’ve got yourself a new twist on a classic Italian meal.
Don’t take this to mean that I am anti-carb or philosophically against pasta, because I am certainly not. You know I’m a lover of whole grains, and pasta is somewhat of a staple here. I am, however, strongly pro-vegetable and this is an easy way to ramp up our intake. The double-whammy of tomato sauce and squash all at one meal helps to make up for a less-than-ideal vacation week diet
As for the meatballs, this turkey meatball recipe has been my go-to for years. I am shocked I haven’t shared it with you until now! I usually bake them in the oven, but went with the stove top method this time since they were going to finish cooking in the sauce. To keep prep time to a reasonable level, I used store-bought sauce, a basic marinara with only 360 mg of sodium per serving (sodium being the primary issue with store-bought sauce, aside from authentic flavor if you have actual Italian blood in you…). If you are looking for a good jarred sauce to use in a pinch, check out Cooking Light’s taste test results.
Now, on with the show. Sing it, Piano Man!
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
Meatballs and Sauce:
20 oz ground turkey (1.3 pounds)
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
24 ounces prepared spaghetti sauce
1 medium spaghetti squash
1/4 cup water
1) In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, egg, milk, onion, cheese, salt and pepper. Add ground turkey and mix until well combined. (I use my hands for this step)
2) Form the turkey mixture into meatballs approximately the size of a golf ball (will make 22-24 meatballs). Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Once they are browned, pour the spaghetti sauce over the meatballs, cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
3) While meatballs are simmering, slice the squash in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds and set aside*. Set the halves in a microwave-safe dish side by side, cut sides up. Add about 1/4 cup water to pan, cover loosely with wax paper, and microwave for 12-15 minutes on HIGH. Squash is done when it can be easily pulled from sides with a fork.
4) Serve 3-4 meatballs with sauce on top of 3/4 cup of squash.
*Spaghetti squash seeds can be roasted much like pumpkin seeds. Rinse and dry them, then spray them lightly with olive oil. Roast at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, then sprinkle with salt. They didn’t last long at our house!