I love noodles and pasta of all kinds. There’s just something about a warm full dish of spaghetti, a true comfort food. Luckily, if you want to avoid traditional pasta you can still enjoy spaghetti dishes by substituting with spaghetti squash (or zoodles, more on that later). Its simple to make and the leftovers can be used for breakfast the next morning, for pre-packed lunches, and as a side dish. This meal delivers carbs (squash and sauce) and protein (meatballs), round it out with a glass of almond milk (fat).
I’ve had people ask, so not to insult anyone’s intelligence but this is a spaghetti squash, found in produce next to other squashes. The one I have here is a bit pale, usually they are much more yellow. If you can’t find them at your grocery store ask an associate, they may be out or they may have some out back they can get for you.
There are several ways to cook this squash, cooking whole takes longer. I like to halve it, scoop out the seeds, place it cut ends down in a pan containing half an inch of water, and bake on 400 for 30 minutes. I check it at 20 minutes and let it cook longer if needed. You know its done when you can pierce the exterior shell easily with a fork and you can also pull the strings apart easily with a fork. You’ve overcooked it if its more of a mushy consistency. If this is the case, move forward anyway, the final dish will have a different texture but will taste the same.
These meatballs substitute breadcrumbs with almond flour. I’ve tried it with flax meal in lieu of breadcrumbs and didn’t like it, the flax taste was too strong and made it taste too…. well, healthy I guess ha! You can add minced garlic and diced onions to your meatballs if you want, I went with the simple version here. Prepare and bake these as you would any other meatball, add all ingredients to a bowl, mix by hand, shape little balls onto a cookie sheet, and cook.
You can make your own sauce, Google “paleo spaghetti squash recipe”, or you can buy one to use. Personally, I buy sauce, its faster and there are some decent sauces on the shelves if you know what you’re looking for. A few tips for finding a sauce on the shelf:
- Check out the ingredients. If you have no clue what something is, you probably don’t want to put it in your body. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated oils, and any oil that is not olive, grapeseed, or sesame. This example below has citric acid and calcium chloride, I didn’t know if this was bad or if I could live with it but I couldn’t seem to find any without these additives. Upon further inspection, citric acid keeps the sauce red by preventing oxidation of the tomatoes and calcium chloride is salt. I’m ok consuming these, you can read about these and other additives using this handy guide from Paleo Leap.
- Look at the Nutrition Facts. This example has 6 grams of sugar which is the lowest amount I could find when comparing to other sauces. If you are concerned about calories and sodium, make sure you know what is acceptable for you and your family. I have feelings about “total calories” that I’ll share in another post : )) But basically, not all calories are created equal.
This recipe makes about 4 servings, divide leftovers into tupperware dishes for lunch or freeze for later. Leftover squash can be used as a side dish or for breakfast the next morning.
Have you found a great alternative Spaghetti recipe? Have you tried mine? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
- Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 30-45 minutes.
- Servings: 4
- Approved for: Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free, Whole30
- Macronutrients: Carbs, Protein
1. Halve and scoop seeds from spaghetti squash
4. Cool until you can handle the squash then rake a fork across the flesh, pulling the “spaghetti” apart and placing it in a bowl
6. Bake at 350 for 20 mins, cut one in half to see if its cooked through, cook longer if needed