If you’re in the mood for a seriously comforting (but also healthy) dinner, look no further—I have the recipe for you: sneaky “spaghetti” and meatballs. What makes this so sneaky, you ask? Well, the spaghetti is actually spaghetti squash and the meatballs are made with ground chicken or turkey. So sneaky!

Spaghetti squash is a highly underused veggie—I only discovered it myself a few months ago, but it has become one of my staple dinner ingredients. It’s surprisingly easy to prepare—all you have to do is bake it in the oven with some salt and pepper, and then use a fork to shred out the strands. When you serve it with your favorite pasta sauce and some juicy meatballs on top, you’ll be so glad you gave this simple squash a chance.

Ingredients

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or 2 small ones)
  • 2 lbs ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 oz Pecorino Romano, plus extra for grating (Parmigiano Reggiano works fine too!)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt (plus a little extra for seasoning the squash)
  • 1 tsp pepper (plus a little extra for seasoning the squash)
  • 2 25 oz jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 4 oz champagne or white wine (optional)
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)
  • Step 1: Prepare the Spaghetti Squash

    Start by cutting your spaghetti squash in half (be careful—it’s really tough!) then scooping the seeds out.

    Spaghetti Squash

    Lightly oil or spray each half with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

    Spaghetti Squash

    Step 2: Make the Meatballs

    While the spaghetti squash is cooking, heat up your pasta sauce on medium low.

    Tip: I like to shake a little bit of wine in each jar after pouring it into the pot to get every last bit of yumminess out. I also like to add an extra can of diced tomatoes to add more texture to the sauce.

    Whisk together the eggs, garlic, basil, Pecorino Romano, ketchup, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Then add the ground chicken or turkey and mix (your hands are best for this) so everything is thoroughly combined.

    Spaghetti Squash

    Roll into golf ball sized meatballs (you’ll probably be able to make 18-20) and place each one into the simmering sauce. Place a lid on the pot and continue to cook on medium low for 30-40 minutes until the meatballs have been cooked through.

    Meatballs

    After 45 minutes has passed, take the spaghetti squash from the oven and use a fork to shred the strands of squash from the skin. Your squash will be very hot, so use an oven mitt when you hold it!

    Spaghetti Squash

    Serve immediately with meatballs, sauce, and a healthy grating of Pecorino on top.

    Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

    Recipe serves 4

    Photos courtesy of Niki Lowry.