Ask any child to list their top 10 favorite meals, and spaghetti and meatballs is likely to end up on that list. I’ve met very few kids in my day who are opposed to a spaghetti and meatball supper. There’s something so fun about winding a noodle around a fork. And meatballs, whats not to like about a meatball? While spaghetti and meatballs can be a decently healthy dinner, it’s easy to eat an enormous amount of refined carbs in one sitting.
As an alternative to traditional pasta allow me to introduce a lovely alternative – the spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash, the vegetable (believe it or not), looks a lot like its high carb cousin, but with fewer calories and carbs and more potassium and calcium. One cup of regular cooked spaghetti has around 200 calories and 42g carbs, while 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 42 calories and 10g carbs. It’s a significant savings. It terms of taste and texture, spaghetti squash is lighter and more mild than you might assume, but less likely to wind itself around your fork. Nevertheless, a great substitute once its covered in sauce, Parmesan cheese and (meatless) meatballs!
Fun cooking activity: Ask your kids to use a clean fork and scrape out the spaghetti squash “noodles” from the cooked squash – it’s a lot of fun! Also, ask your kids do a taste test comparing regular spaghetti with spaghetti squash. See what the experts have to say!
- To roast the spaghetti squash, first, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and slice in half (lengthwise). Scoop out the seeds from each half and either throw them away or save to roast separately.
- Place each squash halve in a baking/casserole dish (cut sides facing down).
- Add 1/2 cup of water to the dish and bake for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and use a fork to scrape out the squash strands. The squash strands will look like spaghetti!
- In a food processor, combine the cannellini beans, roasted red pepper, onion and garlic.
- Transfer the mixture to a large clean mixing bowl. Add the egg, breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, garlic powder, pepper, basil, sea salt. Blend well with a spatula.
- Form small meatballs (about 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball) and place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and lightly oiled.
- Bake the meatballs at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes until they are firm to the touch and slightly browned.
- Once the meatballs are done, transfer them to a pot with the Italian tomato sauce. Allow meatballs to flavor the sauce (about 15-20 minutes).
- Serve over spaghetti squash and top with sauce, freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
Meatball recipe was inspired by and adpated from this great recipe