This is one of my go-to healthy comfort-food meals. We all love it and once you get the meatball making down, it’s quick, easy and really satisfying.
This roasted Spaghetti Squash with Grain Free Meatballs is a huge bowl of food for ONLY 7 Weight Watchers Points Plus and really feels like you are digging into something much richer.
We have been experimenting with eating grain-free for a couple of months now. Making great grain-free meatballs is not as obvious as it seems since bread crumbs are more often than not included in the meatball ingredients.
Since we are already using Spaghetti Squash in place of pasta, I wasn’t willing to compromise much when it came to the meatballs. My goal was a meatball that was reminiscent of my childhood, with the classic taste and flavors I am used to, and held together nicely as if there was 1/2 or 3/4 cup of bread crumbs inside.
After some playing around, I was able to get the right texture and taste with a combination of egg and ground flax. There is not so much flax that it changes the taste of the meatballs but just enough to act as a binder and hold them together.
- Some of my in-process photos got deleted during editing so if you have any questions about the rolling or cooking of the meatballs, feel free to message me through here.
- This Roasted Spaghetti Squash with White Bean and Mushroom Ragout has step-by-step instructions for how to Roast Spaghetti Squash.
- If you don’t use a non-stick frying pan, you will have to use a generous amount of high-heat oil. Make sure to account for the Points Plus.
- Note that different jarred pasta sauces can have different Points Plus values. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara. Try to find a sauce that is low in sugar and added fat.
- Do yourself a favor and make two batches of meatballs at once. It’s easier to cook in bulk! Roll them into golf-size balls and spread out in one layer on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze. When completely frozen, toss in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag and defrost when ready to use. Major Time Saver!
- 1 large roasted spaghetti squash (see NOTES for instructions)
- 1 1-pound, 9-ounce jar organic pasta sauce (or homemade)
- grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- crushed red pepper flakes for serving
- ¾ pound lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ small yellow onion, grated
- 1 medium clove garlic, grated
- ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley leaves (some stems OK)
- Click here for easy instructions on how to roast spaghetti squash.
- Combine ground beef, egg, ground flax, spices and parm cheese in a medium sized bowl. Grate the garlic and onion into the mixture.
- Chop parsley and measure ⅓ cup into beef mixture. Using your hands, mix until well combined.
- Grab a large plate and begin rolling golf size balls of the meat mixture. I like to spray my hands with non-stick cooking spray right before I do this so the meat doesn't stick to my hands as much as it normally would. You should get 12 meatballs.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Give the pan a quick sprinkle of kosher salt. Add meatballs in one layer, being careful not to crowd the pan or they won't brown. Cook them in two batches if you have to. Cook meatballs about 10 to 12 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times to brown all sides.
- Once browned, remove from frying pan and place in a saucepan large enough to hold all 12 meatballs and jar of sauce.
- Simmer browned meatballs and sauce over a very low heat for 30 to 45 minutes until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has had a chance to absorb some of the flavors.
- When ready to serve, spoon meatballs and sauce over roasted spaghetti squash. Top with a bit of grated Parmesan Cheese, some crushed red pepper flakes (optional) and freshly chopped parsley if you have any left over. Enjoy!
I submitted this recipe to “Fight Back Friday” on Food Renegade – April 5th, 2013