Monday, January 10, 2011

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs


is it all an illusion? can I really eat this and not have my insulin skyrocket?

I know, I know. You realize the benefits of taking grains out of your diet, but you're still itching for some old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. Maybe you look at the picture above and think I'm playing a bait and switch on you, but that's actually all made with paleo/primal friendly ingredients. Maybe you've never even heard of a spaghetti squash before, but read on to find out my recipe for making Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs.  

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash

 Squash is a fantastic winter vegetable that is low in calories, but high in nutrients. I'll admit, I used to never go near any king of squash in the grocery store, but now that I know how to cook them, you can't keep me away! This is a spaghetti squash, but other popular types include butternut squash and acorn squash. Although there are many different ways to cook spaghetti squash, I'm going to show you the easiest and quickest way.

 First cut the squash in half lengthwise. You'll see some seeds that remind you of a pumpkin. Scoop those out. 

 Once you do, you're left with two bowl-like halves. Some recipes tell you to cook it whole, but doing so has you trying to figure out handling a steaming hot squash and trying to cut it and scoop out the seeds. No bueno.

 Turn them face down onto a plate and cover with saran wrap. 

Place the plate of squash in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 7-10 minutes. This squash was very large (about 9in. long by 5 in. around) so I went with 9 minutes. It's fine to not be exact.  

 When you take the squash out, be careful! It will be steaming underneath the saran wrap, so lift it off with a fork and handle the squash with utensils instead of your fingers. All you have to do is scrape the squash with a fork which creates the "strands of spaghetti." 

This plate is just from this half of squash! This whole squash made enough for 6 big servings. 

Let's move on to the rest of the recipe, 

2 lbs. ground beef (or combo chuck and ground)
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 eggs
1/2 chopped onion
lots of basil, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Here are two pounds of grass-fed beef. Typically a mix of chuck and ground beef makes the best tasting burgers or meatballs, but this is all I had on hand.  

Instead of breadcrumbs, use almonds! Place about 1 cup worth of almonds in the food processor or blender.  

Grind until you get the consistency that you want. I'm good with a mix of fine almond "crumbs" and bigger ones. 

Chop up 1/2 onion.  

 Add the almond crumbs and chopped onion to the beef. Also add 2 eggs, basil, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Amounts will be up to you, but as you can see I'm pretty liberal when it comes to spices. Mix everything together and shape into meatballs. 

Heat up a pan to medium-high heat and add coconut oil. If you haven't used coconut oil before, it can be found in most grocery stores. It is a very stable fat which is why I use it almost exclusively to cook with. (and it doesn't make the food taste coconut) Add the meatballs and cook on all sides for a total of about 7-10 minutes.

As you can see in the background, I had some tomato sauce simmering while I was cooking. 

1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
1/4 chopped onion
5-8 garlic cloves, chopped
garlic powder
italian seasoning

Pretty simple recipe here. Just combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and let it simmer while you cook! If you are more prepared than I, you can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned diced ones. 

 Stir every once in awhile just to get the flavors mixing. Like the meatballs, the amount of seasoning is up to you, I put about a teaspoon of each in.  

 And the finished products....
spaghetti and meatballs

Finished product! 

There are differing opinions on "paleo" versions of conventional food, but I think there is a difference between this and "gluten-free oreos." If you are really hankering for some old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs, I think this will satisfy your craving. If you have any recipes you'd like to share, submit them in the upper right hand corner of the blog and I will post them ASAP!


  1. Perfect timing, I have a spaghetti squash that is ready to be cooked. Thanks for all 3 parts of the meal!

  2. i made this the other night but with chicken sausage. MMMMMMMM!

  3. Plentus, I am going to cook mine in the oven (I have a weird thing about plastic in the microwave). I'll let you know how it comes out -it may be my snow day project!

  4. Definitely a big fan of this as I seek variation in meals during the paleo challenge. This would actually be a meal that when I make multiple servings, I'd want to have a few nights in a row.

  5. Making it tonight...think I can convince Vinny it's real pasta?

    Also, how well does it keep for leftovers?

    ~Sarah J.


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