I’ve found my new favorite fall meal. It’s pretty healthy but feels so so indulgent. Roasted spaghetti squash is topped with Italian turkey meatballs, marinara sauce, shredded parmesan cheese, and fresh basil leaves. Fall and winter squash season is here (I can’t wait to make this soup again) and I am so happy about it! Once you try this meal, you will be too.
Way back when, I posted this Italian turkey meatloaf (please excuse the ugly pictures, it really is much much tastier than it looks), which is one of my favorite weekday meals ever. One day a couple of weeks ago, I was lying in bed trying unsuccessfully to will myself to sleep (I get some of my best recipe ideas during random sleepless nights) and I thought “OMG, I should make that meatloaf into meatballs and serve it with spaghetti squash!!” I was a little bit too excited by this prospect, and proceeded to fantasize about this meal instead of sleep. Whoops. It’s okay though, because the real thing turned out way yummier than I could have imagined! So worth it.
How do you feel about spaghetti squash? I am obsessed with it. I love the texture and the fact that it comes out in perfectly-sized short strands when roasted. There is no complicated noodle-twisting and cutting and slurping (like with real spaghetti pasta), because every bite is the perfect size! Does anybody else find spaghetti hard to eat, or am I the only one who ends up with red splatter all over myself when the meal is over?
Another bonus is that this meal is somehow both filling and light, and so so flavorful.
Be careful when cutting the squash in half, the rind is really hard to cut (harder than a watermelon). Once you open it up, though, it’s super easy to make. Just scoop out the seeds and pulpy stuff, brush on some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper. You pop it in the oven and roast it for as long as it takes to get the right texture for you. With my medium squash, 45 minutes was ‘al dente’ for me.
When it comes out of the oven, all you have to do is gently scrape with your fork and these noodles appear like magic.
These little meatballs are pretty easy to make. I love the big chunks of onions.
I topped mine with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. This was about a quarter of the cheese that eventually went on top of this dish…BC is a parmesan monster!
I used store-bought marinara sauce because I wanted this to be a quick weekday dinner, but I’m sure homemade marinara would take this meal up a few notches.
- 1 medium-large spaghetti squash
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, for sprinkling
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free, if desired)
- 1 lb Italian seasoned ground turkey (regular ground turkey works, too)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
- Shredded Parmesan and fresh basil, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise.
- Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and pulpy bits.
- Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Place squash on foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 40-55 minutes or until squash reaches desired consistency. 40 minutes was ‘al dente’ for me. Let squash cool enough to handle, and scrape out ‘spaghetti’ strands.
- While squash is roasting, beat eggs lightly and add garlic, basil, salt, rosemary, red pepper flakes, parsley, and black pepper in a medium bowl.
- Add in onions and bread crumbs and mix. Add ground turkey and mix until all ingredients are evenly incorporated (I usually use my hands).
- Roll the turkey mixture into rounded meatballs (I used an ice cream scoop for this). You will have 18 meatballs.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs to the hot skillet and brown for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add marinara sauce, and cover pan. Simmer meatball-sauce mixture for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
- Top spaghetti squash with meatball-sauce mixture, parmesan cheese, and basil.