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. By using Mezzettta Napa Valley Homemade Marinara, I was able to keep my ingredients list all natural and keep carbs down as well. This Marinara only has 5 grams of carbohydrate. Delicious sauce does not need added sweeteners.
Making Healthy Spaghetti and Meatballs
Here is a quick visual walk-through of the process of making my Healthy 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 Mezzetta Napa Valley Homemade 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 1/6th 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.
- 1 small head of cauliflower breadcrumb substitute
- 1 sweet onion peeled and diced
- 1 tbs olive oil 1 tsp + 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
- 1/2 tsp Kosher or Sea salt
- 1/2 tsp salt free seasoning of choice
- 1 jar 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 tsp 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 1/4 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.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Numbers will vary by portion size, brands etc.