A healthy bowl perfect for Meatless Monday

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I'm a big fan of meat. Never one to shun a carnivore option, my love for lean proteins goes waaay back

But I also dig the idea of a Meatless Monday, for health and also because, well, meat is kind of gross to work with. I would prefer never have to dig my hands into a slimy bowl of raw meat at home ever again, but dang burgers are just too good. 

Enter the nutty meatball!

Yeah, I know, it sounds kind of weird. But trust me. You won't miss the meat in this recipe. 

This meal is so healthy, and I am not even sure how it also manages to be so delicious. It's filling yet fun, with "meatballs" made out of crushed nuts and strands of spaghetti squash. You could also, obviously, get some real spaghetti up in there. The whole thing freezes surprisingly well, too, just note that the squash will be a little watery upon defrost.

Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

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  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup almonds or walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • Marinara sauce, storebought or homemade, for serving
  • Fresh basil, for serving

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet covered with foil. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast squash for about 30 minutes, or until tender.

In a food processor, combine the nuts and garlic and pulse to a coarse crumb. Add the parsley, some salt and pepper to taste, Parmesan and breadcrumbs, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and process until the mixture holds together in a ball. Squeeze with your hands if it's still a bit crumbly. Roll into balls about the size of a golf ball, packing them just firmly enough so that they hold together. Place them on a plate.

In a skillet, heat about a ¼ inch olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the balls, turning them, until they're golden brown on all sides. Meanwhile, add marinara sauce to a saucepan and heat on low until warm.

Remove squash from oven and pull a fork across the flesh repeatedly to create spaghetti-like strands. Divide squash and balls between desired amount of servings, and top with marinara sauce, additional cheese and basil. Serves 2 to 4.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times; meatballs adapted from a recipe by Molly Yeh