Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Book Reviews,Nuts & Nut Butters,Poultry,Red Meat,Turkey

Spaghetti and meatballs can be made gluten-free with one of the delicious gluten-free pastas on the market. My students and I have enjoyed Tinkyada (brown rice pasta) and Andean Dream (quinoa & brown rice pasta. If you’re diabetic, have blood sugar issues, insulin resistance, cancer, an autoimmune disorder, or some other health challenge that has motivated you to limit or avoiding pasta and other flour products, you don’t have to miss out on spaghetti and meatballs. You can replace pasta with spaghetti squash. Anyone wanting to add more vegetable servings to meals can benefit from using spaghetti squash in place of pasta.

Bill Staley and Hayley Mason show you how to make grain-free twists on many classic ethnic dishes, including spaghetti and meatballs in their recently released book, Make it Paleo. My friend and former cooking assistant, Anne, made and gifted me with three recipes from their book. The meatballs were my favorite. I liked the flavor and texture and found that the recipe reheated well in the toaster oven and made a great accompaniment to cooked leafy greens.

6a00e552ad01da8834016760916b5b970b-320wiHere’s my picture of the dish and meal.
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes        Cook time: 35 to 45 minutes         Serves: 4

I really enjoyed this dish. I like that their recipes list prep time, cook time, and yield, just as my books do! The only thing missing from the recipe is how to bake spaghetti squash in the oven. The authors recommend microwaving it; however, microwaving destroys more vitamin C and antioxidants that baking or steaming and creates unique and toxic compounds so I suggest avoid it altogether.

Meatball Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground turkey, or choice of ground meat
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 egg, whisked
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (you can sub low sodium, wheat-free tamari soy sauce)
1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, and pepper

Meatball Process:

  • Preheat oven to bake at 350.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Form ground meat mixture into 1-inch balls, and place on two parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  • Serve.

Marinara Ingredients:
2 cans salt-free Muir Glen diced tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil (avocado oil also works here)
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (dried) oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinara Process:

  • In a sauce pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat.
  • Once onion and garlic have reduced and infused the olive oil with flavor, add two cans of diced tomatoes.
  • Add salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley to sauce and stir, blending all ingredients.
  • Bring sauce to a boil, turn down to simmer, and let simmer for 20 minutes covered. If sauce starts to boil when covered, then remove lid.
  • Toss (cooked) spaghetti squash* with sauce, top with meat balls, and serve.

* The authors recommend that you
Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, microwave each half for 10 minutes, and scoop out squash with a fork into a bowl.**

** Note: I recommend that you avoid microwaving anything and that you bake spaghetti squash. You’ll preserve more of the nutrients and avoid hazardous compounds that microwaving creates. As an example, microwaved broccoli loses 97% of crucial antioxidants compared to only 11% or less lost by steaming. For an easy tutorial on how to bake spaghetti squash, click here (allow 40 to 60 minutes to bake it; you can do that in advance of the meal).

6a00e552ad01da8834016760917679970b-320wiThe other recipes I tried
I’ve got more recipes flagged in their book that I want to make, including Grilled Olives, Oysters Rockefeller, Sunflower Sprout Salad, Artichoke & Avocado Salad, and Barbecue Sauce. I also want to make their Lamb Meatballs.

I made their Garlic & Herb Mashed Cauliflower recipe. It required a little more time and ingredients than the mashed cauliflower recipe in Paleo Comfort Foods. Still, I enjoyed trying a new twist on the popular low-carb take off on mashed potatoes.

Anne and I both found the Carrot Souffle both too salty and too oily. I’d like to try the recipe with only a tablespoon or two of oil or with 1/2 cup of coconut milk (and no oil) and with one quarter to one half the amount of salt. I love carrots and think it’s a great idea for a recipe.

The Banana bread had a lot going for it in terms of ingredients—coconut flour, omega 3 eggs, coconut oil, and a super low sugar content with 4 dates and only 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup. Tastewise though, I wasn’t impressed. If I were to make this recipe again, I would change several things. I would try adding a whole cupful rather than just half a cup of banana. This would also add more moisture. I think the recipe needs more sweetness. I would try adding a dropper full of plain or vanilla stevia liquid and one or two tablespoons of maple syrup or honey. I would also use only 3 eggs. With 6 eggs, Anne and I both found the eggy flavor too strong, a problem that afflicts some recipes that use coconut flour as the only flour in the recipe.

To try
A woman who owned a cooking school I used to teach in said that if you find three recipes that you really like in a book, you’ve gotten your money’s worth. I think you’ll find more than that here. I still want to try more of the salads and sides. I think you’ll find more than three favorites here. If you’re not on a diet that restricts sweeteners, including honey and maple syrup, and you want to wow family and friends, particularly those who are used to conventional desserts, try their Peppermint Patties, Pistachio Bark (I had something like this a couple of years ago at a friend’s Christmas party), birthday cakes, and almond flour cookies (I’ve made some like this and they were a huge hit), frozen desserts (I’m a fan of coconut milk ice cream alternatives; I don’t think you can go wrong here).

I think Make it Paleo is a great book for anyone who wants to explore paleo, primal, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, produce-rich, anti-inflammatory recipes that use high quality ingredients.  Of all of the paleo and primal cookbooks I’ve perused and cooked from, this one has the MOST beautiful photographs. You could leave it on a coffee to wow your guests. Let me know what you think of the book and what you make and like from it.


  • Ellen
    January 26, 2018 at 07:21

    Anytime I don’t know what to cook for dinner, spaghetti and meatballs is my dish. My kids love it and my husband loves it! I’m always using a different recipe. I can’t wait to try yours. Although I will substitute the meat with grass fed beef. I order it from the La Cense Beef website. Their cattle are 100% grass fed. It’s a lot healthier than grain fed meat. You should try it.

  • Peggy
    January 26, 2018 at 15:57

    Looks very yummy — I bake spaghetti squash whole, too, but poke a few holes in it first. I’ve never had one explode and don’t even know if it could, but just in case. I can’t imagine preparing it any other way, so easy. 😉

  • Suzanne
    January 27, 2018 at 07:06

    I can’t have nightshades (or any other inflammatory foods) because I have Hashimoto’s. Do you have any suggestions for a nightshade-free sauce for these?

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