Twist on a classic: Spaghetti (squash) and meatballs

Michelle Dudash
EatingWell

With this spaghetti squash and meatballs recipe, you can reduce the carbohydrates and increase the vegetable servings by skipping pasta and serving the Italian-seasoned turkey meatballs and quick, homemade marinara sauce over thin strands of cooked spaghetti squash instead. Cooking the squash first in the microwave and then in a skillet, to cook off the extra moisture, gives the squash a more spaghetti-like texture.

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

1 3-pound spaghetti squash

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

1 1/4 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pound 93 percent-lean ground turkey

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place face down in a microwave-safe dish; add water. Microwave, uncovered, on high until the flesh can be easily scraped with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape the squash flesh into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is evaporated and the squash is beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley. Remove from heat, cover and let stand.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add turkey; gently mix to combine (do not overmix). Using about 2 tablespoons each, form into 12 meatballs.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, reduce heat to medium and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 4 to 6 minutes. Push the meatballs to the side of the pan, add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper to taste, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to coat the meatballs. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Serve the sauce and meatballs over the squash, sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serves 4.

Per serving: 409 calories; 18 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 39 percent calories from fat); 31 g carbohydrates; 14 g sugar; 74 mg cholesterol; 581 mg sodium; 32 g protein; 8 g fiber.