I have been dying to try spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement since Hubster started the keto diet back in May. The only problem was that I could not find any! I had no idea what this particular squash looked liked, and, at the time, our local grocery store had labels for butternut squash and “assorted squash.” Really?! Assorted squash….because that is helpful. Not! Well, as I was skimming the produce section last Sunday I finally found spaghetti squash.
I am going to guide you through cooking and stripping the squash, and a very yummy recipe for beef and spinach stuffed meatballs.
Let’s start with the squash:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep a 9×13 pan by adding about 2 cups of water.
2. Slice the squash lengthwise. I found it was easier to do this after slicing the tops (with the stem) off. Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Place the squash cut-side down into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
3. Use tongs to remove the squash out of the pan. I kept an oven mitt on my left hand and used my right to get the “spaghetti” out. Use a fork and strip the “spaghetti” out by starting at the top of the squash and dragging downwards. It will come out very easily.
4. Strain the “spaghetti” well (I didn’t do this step, but wish I had. When I added sauce, the sauce got fairly watered down). Place strained squash into a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.
Now onto the meatballs. You will need:
1 pound of ground beef (but you could really use a pound of any ground meat)
1/2 pound frozen chopped spinach, cooked
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 block mozzarella cheese, cubed (you can vary the cheese to your own taste. I plan on trying a variation of this with chicken and feta)
1. Keep the oven heated at 375 (from cooking your spaghetti squash). Line a cookie sheet in foil.
2. In a large bowl, mix the beef, egg, spinach, and spices.
3. Scoop out a kitchen spoonful of the meat mixture and flatten slightly in your hand.
4. Add a cheese cube to the center of the flattened meat.
5. Form a ball around the cheese cube.
6. Add the stuffed meatballs to the lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes. I found it very helpful to keep our meat thermometer handy for this, just in case. This would be crucial if you were using meats other than beef, since the cook time might differ. Ground beef or pork should be cooked to 160 degrees. Ground chicken or turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees.
Once your squash and meatballs finish cooking, you can combine them with your favorite pasta sauce and your delicious dinner is ready! I used a basic tomato sauce, but next time I think we will try Alfredo.
This was an awesome dinner that I am sure we will be repeating as often as I can find spaghetti squash. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.