Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs
I will preface this entire post by saying this was my first adventure with spaghetti squash. This first run was how I learned you can’t trust the internet, or at least just what you want to believe from the internet. I knew this would take awhile to cook, so I wasn’t in for a 30 minute meal or anything, but I still woefully underestimated cooking time… alas, can’t win them all. BUT it still turned out pretty delicious, so here goes…
What you need:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- italian herb blend (oregano, basil, garlic, onion etc)
- tomato sauce (though I admit I generally use stuff out of the jar, for this I did the whole diced tomatoes, herbs, garlic, onions, simmered down and then used to cook the meat balls in… was DELICIOUS. Highlight of the meal actually)
- meatballs (I’ll put a few photos at the bottom, but I really just used this highly rated meatball recipe from Food Network – even includes a variety of ‘quick sauce’ on the page too… fancy)
For those who don’t know, this is a spaghetti squash
Step 1: Cut the squash/scoop it out
Like any other squash, use care in cutting this. My strategy was to cut off each ends, and then split it long way.
And then you get this! (which is probably what you expected to see…. but hush you)
So then you scoop. Out of this lovely squash, we got about a pint glass of seeds, inner goop etc. Mmmm refreshing, huh?
Step 2: Season & Bake
Alright, at this point, when my squash was scooped, I put it in a large baking dish. I rubbed the inside with the italian blend and a teaspoon of olive oil, and covered it with foil.
I was told by the internet to bake like this for an hour… But this was a blatant lie. If you go the baked route, put aside at least 90 minutes, and consider putting about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the pan to speed up the cooking/steaming process. Live and learn I suppose… but seriously, we were VERY hungry by the time this was actually done.
Step 3: Shred
If your squash doesn’t shred easily, it’s not fully cooked. It should be easy to get long strings of squash out of one of these.
Step 4: Cover with sauce & meatballs. As I noted, while the squash was cooking, I simmered 2 cans of diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and the meatballs in order to make our sauce. But jar sauce is fine here too. I would’ve written out all the meatball details, but honestly that recipe was perfect just the way it was, so no need to rehash. Here are some pics though for your mouth-watering enjoyment.
Next time I will try this with turkey meatballs or even vegan tempeh or quinoa based meatballs (worth a try!), but for this go, we used the traditional pork/beef cholesterol balls. Nom.
So our meal looked like this (the grated parm is mostly for looks when your sauce is this good)
This is a great way to eat a much less starchy version of a classic dish. The squash was a bit al dente, and though it doesn’t taste JUST like pasta (duh) it is a good healthy option to balance out fatty meatballs and enjoy a yummy sauce. Let me know what else you do with spaghetti squash — or how you cook it faster! Seriously… faster ways have to exist!
Could you clarify, for the meat-challenged out there… do you actually cook the meatballs in the sauce? They’re not already cooked when you put them in there? How do you know when they’re done?
Also, spaghetti squash is awesome. I must make something like this over the weekend – maybe using a crock pot for the squash so I don’t have to wait at home while it cooks, because you’re right. Those things are NEVER done in an hour.
omg. three words: MI. CRO. WAVE!!!! all the way! i friggin love spaghetti squash, and it absolutely always happens in the micro. still sliced in half, in a dish with some water, plastic wrap on top. i think it cooks for like 15 minutes or so, but look that up (i’m too lazy to do so for you). =)