I have a confession to make. The only reason I tried this recipe was because I was seduced by the magical powers of sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top of meatballs. The bright yellow spaghetti squash intrigued me and I knew the mushroom/spinach profile would be good, but MEAT & CHEESE sold me. I loooove meatballs. I'm 1/2 Italian. It's in my genetic makeup. My grandma's meatballs are what broke my 3 years of Vegetarianism. Seriously.
Is spaghetti squash like pasta? NO. There's really no comparison BUT! spaghetti squash does taste fabulous in its own right. It's soft & semi crunchy and a good vehicle for sauce---hence the pasta substitute. The strands aren't soo long that you hafta twirl your fork over and over again. This means you can get it into your mouth faster. Win!
So how was this dish? Pretty good! I really liked the mushroom sauce and might add more mushrooms and spinach next time. If you are vegetarian, cut out the meatballs and you'll still have a wonderful, hearty dish! People with children? You listening? I learned that you cannot trick a 2 year old boy into thinking that spaghetti squash is noodles. Cooper tossed them on the floor to show is disapproval. Someone is too smart for his own good....
Let's get started!
Cut up your spaghetti squash & clean out the seeds.
Sprinkle each half with salt & pepper and put them cut side down on a baking sheet. Pop them ino the oven.
When they're done, let them cool and scrape out the innards.
Let the squash sit in a colander to drain. Look at all that water that came out!
While the squash is cooking, chop up your garlic & onions.
Saute them in some olive oil until they are soft. Add in your oregano.
Add half of the onion/garlic mixture in with your meatballs, breadcrumbs & other spices.
Shape your meatballs!
Brown the meatballs in a hot oiled skillet on all sides. Takes about 6 minutes.
This is after the first batch cooked....
Add mushrooms to the skillet and saute with the meatball juices. Add some water...to get up all the good stuff.
Add your stock, meatballs & spinach to the mushrooms and let cook for a few minutes.
And then you have this lovely pan full of meatballs, spinach & mushrooms.
Put down a bed of spaghetti squash. Top with meatballs & your mushroom spinach sauce.
Sprinkle that bad boy with cheese. You know you want to.
Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine)
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise (about 3 lbs.)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano
- 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (the more, the merrier!)
- 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
- 5 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup organic chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
Preheat oven to 375. Season cut sides of squash with salt and pepper. Bake, cut sides down, on a baking sheet until tender, about 45 minutes. Let squash cool enough to handle and scrape flesh into a colander to drain. Set aside drained squash.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, until soft, but not brown. Add oregano, cook 30 seconds. Divide mixture between 2 bowls.
Stir a few tablespoons cheese into one bowl of onion mixture. Mix in breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, turkey, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Form into balls.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium. Brown meatballs on all sides, 4- 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat as necessary. Add the remaining onion mixture, chicken stock, and meatballs to the pan. Gently simmer, slightly covered, until meatballs cooked through, 5 min. Add spinach and cook until just wilted, 1 minute. Put a bed of squash on a plate, add your meatball mushroom spinach mixture on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese!