Lean Spinach Beef Meatballs with Garlicky Spaghetti Squash

Wow, that post title isn’t even as long as I was originally intending it to be.

You see, what I’m sharing with you today isn’t so much one recipe, or one technique. This post is about the sum of its parts.  Hence the extraordinarily (some might say obnoxiously) long title.

All that is to say that I’m sharing a meal I made this week that was pretty impressive if I do say so myself. But, for the record, I’m pretty sure my Taste Tester would agree.

So here you have it:

If you look back through my posts, you’ll notice that I’ve made spaghetti squash (instructions here) plenty of times for the blog.

I’ve made meatballs before, too.

The one thing that I’ve been itching to make is Lindsay’s Creamy Cauliflower Sauce. I mean, I love garlic, I love cauliflower, and I love not eating my weight in cheese and cream (read: traditional alfredo sauce) on a weeknight because I also love fitting into my pants.

So, seeing as I had 2 giant spaghetti squash (squashes? squoosh?) sitting on my kitchen counter, I decided that it was finally time to execute my grand plan of making spaghetti squash with this cauliflower sauce to have a dinner of veggies and more VEGGIES!  Oh, and some protein…

But the truth is that these meatballs turned out really well. Maybe even surprisingly so. I used the leanest ground beef that I could find (96% lean/4% fat) and skipped the gravy. You really don’t need it when your squash “noodles” are covered in this creamy, garlicky sauce.

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Lean Spinach Beef Meatballs with Garlicky Spaghetti Squash
serves 4

1 large spaghetti squash, prepared using these instructions
1 recipe Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (ps, go buy the book!)
salt+pepper, to taste
1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed to remove excess liquid
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 egg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 oz freshly grated parmesan
1/2 T grass fed butter (I like Kerrygold)
1/2 cup beef broth, as needed

1. Prepare and place spaghetti squash in oven and roast as instructed in above link.  Once you remove it from the oven, separate the strands of squash and set aside.
2. Prepare the cauliflower sauce per Lindsay’s instructions (link above).  I would even encourage you to add an extra clove or two of garlic since we’re increasing the veggie quotient and you want all the flavor you can get. Plus, I ❤ garlic.
3. Place beef in a large mixing bowl with spinach, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.  Using your hands, mix until just combined.
4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted, roll the meat into golfball-sized balls and place in skillet.
5. Cook the meatballs, gently turning so that all sides are browned.  If you want them fully cooked, slowly add broth and cover until no longer pink in the middle.
6. Remove meatballs from skillet, reduce heat to low, and pour the cauliflower sauce into it.  Add spaghetti squash strands and toss to combine.
7. Serve meatballs on top of squash or add back into the skillet and gently toss to combine.

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I mean…it really does look creamy, doesn’t it?  It’s hard to believe that there’s no cheese in it. (Though if you sprinkled some parm in there, I wouldn’t hate ya.)

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Give ‘er a little toss….

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Fry up your meatballs…

These meatballs, you guys. They’re real good. I wouldn’t kid you.

I usually put spinach in my turkey meatballs, but not usually the beef variety.  But, turns out, it was a very good addition!  It makes me question everything I believe in.

Like, should I add it to my grilled beef burgers in the summer?

Would it be good in beefy meatloaf?

Perhaps I worry about things like this too much. But someone’s gotta do it, right?

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A small note: because this “pasta” dish is comprised of entirely vegetables, the water content is very high and you may notice it separating slightly.  Don’t worry about it, it will still taste delicious and the liquid will mix back in if you give it a little stir.

And in fact, make lots of this, because the leftovers are even better.

Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “Lean Spinach Beef Meatballs with Garlicky Spaghetti Squash

  1. i believe the plural is spaghooti squoosh. you were on the right track. this looks like perfection. i’ll have to try the meatless version and tell you how you meat-eaters still do it better. 🙂 thanks for the amazing recipes!

  2. I’m with Emily — wowza!! This looks amazing. I really can’t believe their isn’t cheese in there. I feel like “I can’t believe it’s not cheesy” could be a great marketing campaign…though it may have been done before? 😉 I definitely need to try this.

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