Enjoy healthy low carb spaghetti and meatballs with this recipe. There are 13 net carbs per serving in this grain-free veggie loaded meal and under 200 calories! Cauliflower bread crumbs keep the meatballs moist and grain-free. The zucchini noodles stand in as a low carb alternative to wheat pasta. Jar sauce without added sugars keep the recipe manageable while keeping it healthy and lower in carbohydrates.
Recently, I've reduced carbohydrates and sugar in my diet, and am focusing on eating foods that are more natural and nutrient packed. This Healthy Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe has quickly become a staple for me. It is very satisfying, delicious and has great texture, while being a low calorie meal. It is also gluten-free, grain-free nut-free, dairy-free and relatively low in fat.
If you look at all the ingredients in the whole dish, everything is lean meat, vegetables, a little olive oil and herbs and seasonings. It did take a bit of trial and error to get lean meat (I used a 99% lean ground turkey) to make tender meatballs, but as soon as a switched to using my "cauliflower breadcrumbs" (a little trick I've been using in recipes for a few years now), the texture issues dissolved away. I was able to keep carbs down by selecting a lower carb sauce without added sugars. This Marinara only has 5 grams of carbohydrate. Delicious sauce does not need added sweeteners.
Making Healthy Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs
Here is a quick visual walk-through of the process of making my low carb Spaghetti and Meatballs (full recipe below).
My secret to keeping a lean meatball tender is a bit of extra sauteed sweet onion and the use of cauliflower breadcrumbs. While the crumbs are very easy to make. Just pulse florets in food processor, then bake on low temperature, to dry them out and bring out their best flavor.
(A dehydrator could have made this step a bit easier.)
After the crumbs are ready, mix together the healthy meatball ingredients and form golf ball sizes meatballs. Pan fry.
Pour in a jar of no sugar added marinara and a little water. Simmer.
You could stop here, and just enjoy the meatballs, but I like to make zucchini noodles to serve as my healthy low-carb spaghetti.
The spiralized zucchini squash is cooked right in the pan with some of the sauce.
The healthy spaghetti and meatballs are ready to enjoy. I used 3 meatballs and ⅙th of the zucchini noodles as a standard portion, but 2 of these meatballs are usually enough for me.
While this is not a magical diet recipe, I am happy with the results I am getting so far and recipes such as this have been a big part of what is helping me succeed.
Low carb Spaghetti and Meatballs : Healthy Grain-free RecipePrint Pin Rate
- 1 small head of cauliflower breadcrumb substitute
- 1 sweet onion peeled and diced
- 1 tbs olive oil 1 teaspoon + 2 tsp
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey I used 99% lean, feel free to substitute any lean ground meat you prefer
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbs chopped fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher or Sea salt
- ½ teaspoon salt free seasoning of choice
- 1 jar Marinara (5 net grams carb maximum) , I used Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara sauce
- 4-6 zucchini squash
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Cut off cauliflower florets, and pulse in food processor until broken into small crumb-like pieces.
- Spread on baking sheets and bake for 40 minutes-an hour. Toss around in sheet pan frequently so "crumbs" dry and roast evenly. When done they will be like slightly damp bread crumbs and lightly browned.
- Lightly saute onion and garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil, then place in large mixing bowl.
- Add the cauliflower "breadcrumbs", ground turkey, egg white, basil, salt, and seasoning. Mix with your hands until well blended.
- Form 18 meatballs, just a little smaller than a golf ball. Put remaining 2 tbs oil in 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Drop meatballs into hot skillet and flip after lightly browned on one side. Turn until majority of meatball surface is lightly browned, yet center is not cooked.
- Tilt pan to pool oil. Use a paper towel to soak up pooled oil.
- Add a jar of Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara sauce and ¼ cup water. Spoon sauce over any uncovered portion of meatballs. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
- Use spiralizer to make zucchini noodles. Remove meatballs from pan leaving most of the sauce in pan. Put the zucchini noodles in pan and increase heat to medium high. Stir noodles to coat with sauce and ensure even cooking. They should be done in about 6 minutes* (cooked, but not mushy).
- Serve with meatballs.
- volume of zucchini noodles in pan will reduce by about half.
- Select a low sodium sauce to lower the high sodium content listed in the nutrition info. The software calculates based on standard sauce. As you can see in images I made this very "saucy" it can easily be reduced by a ¼ or a ⅓ with good results.
[email protected] Crafty says
I've seen a lot of these veggie noodle recipes but I just haven't tried it yet. I'm a big texture person. How is the texture of the veggie noodles compared to regular noodles?
Robin Gagnon says
I like the texture. They aren't mushy. I can eat zucchini noodles reheated after they have been in sauce, but hate regular pasta after it has sat.
Cynthia @craftoflaughter says
I haven't tried making zucchini noodles yet, maybe I should get on that boat! The meatballs look delicious!
Robin Gagnon says
I don't know that I'll ever make them with regular breadcrumbs again.
WOW! I didn't realize you could make cauilflower bread crumbs! That is so cool!!! I have been gf for 4 years. I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to improve and improvise my cooking! This is great! I can't wait to eat MEATBALLS again!!
Robin Gagnon says
I made them for a couple recipes about 2 years ago, but really haven't seen others using them.
Carmen Perez (listen2mama) says
Ooh I love spaghetti and meatballs and I'm always looking for new sauce recipes. This look so good, now I'm hungry for lunch.
Mama to 5 BLessings says
My family loves pasta. I have been staying away from it myself because of the carbs, it is great to know there are options out there I can have!
Robin Gagnon says
When I saw how low the carbs were on the sauce it seemed like such a natural fit. Honestly, my eight year old hasn't warmed up to the idea of veggie noodles. She eats so many fruits and veggies anyway, there isn't a need for her to switch. I just make her regular pasta.
Yum. I haven't had meatballs in ages. These look amazing. Would love to make these for my family, my kids would love them!
Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green says
This looks really good. I make spaghetti a lot but never with meat balls. I'm going to give them a try the next time I make them.
Chasity Boatman says
This is a really wonderful recipe for my family. We just found out that my husband has Celiac disease, so we are having to make a lot of food switches.
This looks great and so great that it is low-carb and gluten free. My mom is visiting this week and this would be great for her. She tries to eat Gluten free due to allergies.
Yum! We usually have spaghetti once a week. We love to add meatballs but I've never made my own. Glad you can make a healthy version.
Vera Sweeney says
This sounds delicious! I had to switch to Gluten Free recently and am loving finding new replacements for noodles like this.
I need to try this. Many people have been talking about doing zucchini as pasta and I am convinced from these photos that it must be good. I will try it out.
Franc Ramon says
I love spaghetti. The meatballs here looks really tasty and it's nice they made it healthy too.
Felicita Moncada says
My kids love meatballs so i cannot wait to try this healthier verison! I love the idea of cauliflower breadcrumbs!
Susan Quackenbush says
This is a very fresh and innovative take on a classic recipe! I will definitely have to try this next time, thank you for sharing! 🙂
This looks so good! I am hungry now 😀 The zucchini pasta will go perfect for this too. I will go pin this now. Thanks for sharing.
I try to eat low carb but it's not easy because I love pasta. I've never considered eating zucchini as noodles. I've done spaghetti squash, and I find that it's just too wet. I'll have to try this. Thank you!
Yum! I love finding new gluten free recipes! This is such a healthy meal, I am going to add this to my 'to make' list. Thanks for sharing!
Rita Parker says
Can the cawliflower bread crumbs be stored some how. Can you freeze them?
Robin Gagnon says
I have stored them for the short term in an airtight container with a paper towel in the container to help absorb any moisture that remains. Freezing in a vacuum packed (or as close as you can get) in the freezer would be the ideal longer term storage for the cauliflower bread crumbs.