Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of our favorite comfort foods. But with all the heavy eating and drinking that goes on during the holidays (not complaining!), a high-calorie bowl of spaghetti isn’t exactly helping us fit into our Christmas dresses! Have no fear, spaghetti squash is here! Spaghetti squash is a low calorie, nutrient rich vegetable that tastes a lot like spaghetti with the same texture as pasta (more of an Angel Hair texture, if you ask us).  Spaghetti squash is the star of this post and we’ll show you everything you need to know to make this guilt-free comfort food. Today we share two recipes, as usual, a vegan and  non vegan take on spaghetti squash with meatballs and homemade marinara.

Let’s eat!

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First we must complete a proper introduction. Meet spaghetti squash! Located in the produce department of most grocery stores, near other squash like butternut, delicata, and more.

There are many ways to cook spaghetti squash, but the most frequently used approaches are roasted in the oven, and for those of us who are more pressed for time, the microwave!

To prepare in the oven place the squash in a shallow pan and poke with a fork a few times. Bake at 350 for one hour.

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Let the squash cool enough to handle, and slice in half.

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Scoop out the seedy middle and use a fork to scoop the spaghetti like strands out.

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Click the link below to find our recipes for marinara sauce and meatballs!


Spaghetti and “Neat” Balls

(VEGAN)

If you’re skeptical about replacing your beloved spaghetti with squash, you’re not alone. I am a carb queen and I was very hesitant to try spaghetti squash (although I guess it is a carb too). I was pleasantly surprised, however, at how filling and delicious this dish turned out to be. The marinara is rich and flavorful from the white truffle oil, and the neatballs are super easy and delicious too. The overall process can be a bit time consuming, so I recommend baking the spaghetti squash the night before to speed it up a little.

Ingredients

Marinara Sauce:

Makes about 4 servings.

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 handful of chopped or dried herbs (basil, parsley, oregano, etc.)

Neatballs:

This makes about 30 neatballs (great for freezing/meal prep) so feel free to halve the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz firm tofu, with water pressed out
  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely ground (Alternatively you can use almond flour/meal)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown/green lentils
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown or dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons parsley, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, sage, and rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

First, prepare your spaghetti squash (instructions above).

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 While your squash is in the oven you can get started on making the neatballs.

Preheat your oven to 350 (or leave it at 350 when your squash is done.) I cooked the neatballs in a greased muffin tin; a mini muffin tin works best.

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Sauté the onions, garlic, and mushrooms until they’re tender and cooked.

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In a large mixing bowl, mash your drained tofu, similar to mashing for a tofu scramble. Add the other ingredients: cooked veggies, lentils, oats, ground walnuts, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and herbs. Stir well to combine.

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Using your hands (yes very messy step!), form the mixture into small balls and place in the greased muffin tin.

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Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. They should be browned and heated through (cut one open and do a little taste test!). Leave them in the muffin tin until you’re ready to use them.

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While the neatballs are cooking you can get started on your marinara sauce.

IMG_2825In a large deep pan, sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.

Empty the can of tomatoes into the pan and crush the tomatoes with a fork or spatula to break them apart.  Add the white truffle oil and stir. Add the bay leaf, herbs and spices and stir to combine. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. IMG_2840 IMG_2848

When the neatballs are cooked, gently scoop them out of the pan with a spoon, and lightly turn them over in the sauce one or twice before placing on top of the spaghetti.

Pour your sauce over your spaghetti squash and serve! No bowl of pasta is complete without a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on top.

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“SPAGHETTI” and Meatballs

Ready for some delicious comfort food? Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorite dishes, and this meatball recipe is the best I have ever had! It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but I promise all your hard work will be worth it in the end! These meatballs call for three different types of ground meat, which might seem a bit overboard, but this really makes the difference in taste and texture. Also, the sauce recipe I’m using is one that you will use over and over for many different pasta dishes and you will never go back to canned sauce again!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium/large spaghetti squash

For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Okay, put your big girl (or boy) pants on and crank up the holiday tunes, let’s make some meatballs!

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 WARNING! MEAT!! Vegans shield your eyes!

Okay but seriously, mix all of the meatball ingredients (except the oils) in a large mixing bowl. Combine using your hands- you’re going to get down and dirty here! Make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed in.

Once the ingredients are combined, form mixture into 2 inch meatballs, you will have about 16 meatballs total.

Now, pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil.

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In batches, place the meatballs in the oil. Do not crowd the meatballs (they like their personal space). Brown them on all sides, over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch (so pour yourself a glass of that wine we’re using for the sauce!).

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Look at that golden-brown beauty!

Once they are browned well on all sides, take them out and put them on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat this process until all the meatballs are browned. Once you are finished with the meatballs, discard most of the oil but try to leave the “brown bits” as much as possible. It is okay if you keep a little oil (no more than 1 tablespoon) along with the brown bits in the pan , as we will be using both for our sauce. Speaking of which, let’s get going on that!

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First things first, let’s talk about the wine. For this recipe (and many other Italian recipes that call for wine), I am using a Chianti. It is a dry red wine. Make sure to select a wine that you actually like the taste of, because you will be able to taste a bit of it in the finished product (which isn’t a bad thing!). So on that note, pour yourself a glass (if you are 21 or older, of course)!

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Meanwhile, it’s time to get our sauce going.  First, heat the olive oil in the same pan that you used for the meatballs. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

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Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or so.

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Now for the best part, the WINE!

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Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up the “brown bits” from the meatballs until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Also finish your glass and pour yourself another, you deserve it!

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Next, stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

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Return the meatballs to the pan and cover them with sauce. Cover the pan and let simmer on the lowest heat for at least 25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. In the past, I have let this sauce and meatball combo simmer for as long as 2 hours, and everything still turned out great. As long as it is on the lowest heat, more time equals more developed flavor. Perfect time to get your spaghetti squash ready!

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Once your spaghetti squash is ready (see instructions at the beginning of the post), plate with meatballs and sauce. Top with fresh parmesan cheese. YUM!

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One thought on “Spaghetti Squash

  1. Pingback: Childhood Favorite Lasagna | Bacon and Brussels

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