*This post is sponsored by Newman’s Own. All opinions are my own.
When you think of spaghetti and meatballs, the ultimate childhood comfort food comes to mind. It was one of my all-time favorite meals, right behind my mom’s barbecue ribs with her homemade Zippy barbecue sauce. That magical combination of flavor and texture that can usually win over even the pickiest kids. I don’t eat much pasta anymore, but when I do eat noodles, I try and opt for a higher protein version like lentil, quinoa, edamame or black bean pasta.
Another healthy carb alternative that I love to replace for pasta is spaghetti squash and zucchini. This Zucchini Spaghetti has been a favorite in our family for years and when cooked properly, you can still achieve that al-dente texture. Have you tried veggie noodles yet??! If not, you definitely need to give them a try! This Spaghetti Squash Meatball Casserole is a wonderful smart carb alternative to heavy, calorie-laden, pasta dishes and a great source of muscle-building lean protein. It’s full of incredible flavor and loaded with good nutrients to keep your body properly fueled.
I’m excited to partner with Newman’s Own Organics for this recipe. They are a company after my own heart, giving generously to charitable causes through the Newman’s Own Foundation. I’ve been a loyal consumer of their products for years, so I was thrilled to have an opportunity to work together on a couple of recipe posts.
This casserole recipe is made with the Newman’s Own Organics Marinara sauce. I love their sauces for whipping up a quick, nutritious and easy meal. Not to mention, their sauces are really delicious and made with no added sugar! To check out their full line of tasty organic pasta sauces, be sure and visit their website.
The first step in preparing this dish is to bake the squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise and brush a little olive oil or olive oil spray on the inside. Place squash inside portion down and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. While squash is baking, make the meatballs and refrigerate until the squash is done. When squash comes out of the oven, raise heat to 375 degrees F.
Scoop out and discard the seeds after baking, then shred the squash with a fork.
Next, brown the meatballs in a little olive oil in a skillet and transfer them to a baking sheet to cook for 20 minutes. While meatballs are cooking, add a little more olive oil to the pan and cook the onion and garlic until onion is soft. Add in shredded squash, cheese and seasonings.
Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.
Top with squash.
Arrange meatballs on top of the shredded squash mixture.
Pour sauce over the dish, making sure to coat all of the meatballs. Next, add the sliced mozzarella.
Bake casserole at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.
Spaghetti Squash Meatball Casserole
For the meatballs
- 2 lbs lean ground beef (90% or less)
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg white
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten free)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the casserole
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 (23.5 oz) jar Newman's Own marinara sauce
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice spaghetti squash down the middle, lengthwise and brush the inside part with olive oil.
- Lay squash, seeded part down onto a cookie sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- While squash is baking, mix all meatball ingredients together (except olive oil) in a large bowl, working it well with your hands.
- Roll into golf ball size balls and refrigerate until your squash comes out of the oven. You should have about 18-20 meatballs.
- When squash is done, flip it with the flesh side up and set aside to cool
- Turn oven up to 375 degrees F. and heat 1 tbsp olive oil a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Brown meatballs on all sides and place them onto a baking sheet.
- Bake meatballs for 20 minutes, until cooked through.
- Wipe out your skillet and add the remaining tbsp olive oil.
- Cook onion and garlic on medium heat until onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- while onion and garlic are cooking, spoon out the seeds in the squash and shred squash with a fork (it should look like thin noodles)
- Add shredded squash to skillet, along with parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stir until just blended and remove from heat.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish
- Top with squash mixture, then arrange your meatballs on top
- Pour remaining sauce over and top with slices of fresh mozzarella.
- Lower oven heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
by Amee Livingston