When Gary and I first got together I was on a pretty strict no flour/sugar diet. I almost never ate sweets and I NEVER ate pasta. Come to find out Italian food is one of Gary’s favorites. Lucky for me I am married to the best man ever and he has met me in the “middle” (the term middle being questionable, I think I got the better end of the deal). I decided I wanted to be able to make spaghetti and meatballs that we both liked, that our kids would be willing to eat, and that allowed me to steer clear of flour and sugar (they are my “trigger” foods). Thus was born spaghetti Squash and Quinoa meatballs. It has been a hit at our house and is one of my favorites…(ok, so I have a lot of favorites…I just love food).
Some people really love noodles but for me they just taste empty. I over eat them and then feel yucky afterward. I really appreciate the flavor that noodle substitutes add to meals and prefer them over traditional pasta. If you are trying to make healthier choices in your food but come from a pasta loving family, spaghetti squash may help make the transition a bit easier.
Spaghetti squash is a simple food to prepare and is such a tasty substitute to regular noodles. We also use zucchini noodles and sweet potato noodles as other pasta substitutes. Try them all and let me know which one you like best!
Cut a spaghetti squash in half and remove the guts. The “meat” of spaghetti squash is stringy and will separate easily after cooking. I like to cover both faces of my squash with a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and sprinkle them with seasoned salt. Place the squash face up on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. I bake the squash at 400 degrees until I can easily stick a fork in. While the squash is cooking I prepare my meatballs.
Most meatball recipes have a lot of flour in them to help the meat stick together. Although it is convenient to use it isn’t necessary. I mean, lets be honest. We just need them to look round and stay put until we’re ready to cut them up anyway…its not like we are going to be playing catch with them.
My meatballs can hold together without flour or you can use a bit of flour substitute or corn starch if you are having a hard time getting the mixture to stick together. The quinoa is like a “filler” that helps the meatballs to stay light and adds a healthy form of complete protein.
- 1/2 lb ground beef/turkey
- 1/2 lb sausage
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c quinoa
- 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (3/4 cup for meatballs, 1/4 cup for topping)
- (optional) 1/8-1/4 c of flour substitute, corn starch, or flour if you aren’t GF.
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- 1/4 t everything seasoning
1. Mix everything except the diced tomatoes in a bowl. You can mix it with a fork or just use your hands until everything is combined well.
2. Roll into 25-30 meatballs and place in a 9 x13 baking dish
3. Cover meatballs with the diced tomatoes. I don’t like a lot of sauce on my meatballs so one can is enough for me. If you like a lot of sauce, go ahead and double the sauce.
4. Bake @ 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes until the inside of the meatballs are no longer pink.
You can cook the meatballs on the stove in a large saucepan. They taste great either way. If you don’t have a double oven or oven large enough to cook the spaghetti squash + meatballs at the same time then cooking on the stove is a great option.
5. Remove from oven/stove and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top
6. Serve your meatballs on top of your spaghetti squash and enjoy!
If you get a chance to try this yummy dinner I hope you’ll give me your feedback! If you like it, please share the recipe with others! I’m all about spreading the goodness.