Main Dish | April 9, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs

“Now please, take a bite…so that I can watch you enjoy. That’s my favorite part.”

“Well, I’ll go with the right one. That looks good. That’s a good meatball!”

Every time I think of meatballs, I can’t help but think of that scene from The Wedding Singer with the little old lady slapping those two huge meatballs in Adam Sandler’s hands as payment for voice lessons. So. Freaking. Great.

Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs

This is a spaghetti squash. If you’re looking for gluten-free or low-carb options, or just want to see what the weird noodle-replacement tastes like, this is for you. I’m not lying to you when I say I truly enjoy this meal. And I’m not even on a diet.I know this looks like a pain in the behind, but it’s seriously not. I attempted a spaghetti squash several years ago when we were first married, and it was a total fail. I thought I’d try it again a couple months ago, and hallelujah! They have a slight sweetness to them, very similar to yellow squash, and if cooked properly, the noodles are soft with a tiny bit of bite to them. You can twirl them around your fork and enjoy a nice mouthful of noodles without the guilt. It was a glorious carb-free meal AND  my 2-year-old gobbled it up. I just lied to his face and told him it was pasta. He’s a believer.

Spaghetti Squash with spoons inside

After you rinse and stab the spaghetti squash, bake it for a while, let it cool for a bit, scoop out the seedy goop in the middle, you’re left with these noodles basically begging to be scraped out. I hardly had to apply any pressure to get these out, they were practically falling out. Ooodles of noodles! Except it’s a vegetable. Don’t tell my little man.

Sometimes you just really want a meatball, yeah? Carnivore to the max, right?! I have a secret ingredient that keeps those meatballs from turning into tough chunks of hamburger.

ingredients in bowl


meatballs in pan

Makes ’em fluffy and moist. Throw in some fresh basil and parmesan and you’ve got a juicy, flavorful meatball. You can pan-fry them, bake them, drop them directly into your sauce, so many options. I’m a firm believer in flash-frying meat to get that salty crust of flavored meat on the exterior. Tastes so good. You can finish in the pan, bake in the oven, or drop into the sauce to bake them through. I dropped them into the my sauce. The whole meal can be gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs, or I’ve heard cornmeal is another great substitute.

Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs being put on spaghetti squash

Goat cheese is kinda my jam lately. Salads, sandwiches, it’s whatevs. Carly got me hooked on it. I added it to a simple marinara sauce a while back and my eyes instantly lit up. It made it creamy (always a good thing) and added this delightful little tang to it. Tasted pretty similar to a yummy vodka sauce, without the vodka! I threw in some grated carrots for a little sweetness and more veggie goodness. So easy, nutritious, and a nice twist to the usual spaghetti.

Pile your plate high with spaghetti squash, spoon the meatballs and sauce over the noodles…

Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs

and garnish with parmesan and fresh basil.

Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs with basil garnish

How many vegetables have you had today?

fork picking up bite of spaghetti squash recipe

5 from 1 vote
Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr

Jam packed with vegetables and your little ones will be none the wiser!

Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy spaghetti squash, goat cheese marinara, homemade meatballs
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 359 kcal
Author: Stephanie
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 yellow onion minced
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • handful fresh basil chiffonade
Goat Cheese Marinara
  • 30 oz. tomato sauce 2 15 oz. cans
  • 15 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes 1 can
  • 2 c shredded carrots
  • 1/2 yellow onion minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 t salt
spaghetti squash
    spaghetti squash
    1. Rinse spaghetti squash, stab with fork or knife several times all over. Set on plate and cover with damp paper towel, then microwave 4 minutes. Flip squash over and microwave another 4 minutes. Squash is done when it is pierced easily with knife. Depending on size, you may need to continue to microwave another minute or two. Remove from plate with hot pads and set on counter to cool.
    1. Set meats out in large bowl to get to room temperature.
    2. Saute onion and garlic in 1 T EVOO. Remove and place on plate or bowl to let cool.
    3. Combine all ingredients and form into balls. Any size is fine, just as they are all similar.
    4. Heat 1/8 c EVOO in large frying pan on medium-high. When water sizzles when flicked into pan, begin to place meatballs in pan to fry. Once meatballs have begun to form crust on bottom and require only a little nudging to remove from bottom, flip to other side. Once most of the meatballs have been flash-fried (insides will still be pink), remove from pan and set aside.
    goat cheese marinara
    1. Saute carrots, garlic, onion, and spinach in 1 T EVOO until soft.
    2. Add remaining ingredients to pan, bring to a simmer. Drop meatballs into pan, continue to simmer at least 20 minutes.
    spaghetti squash
    1. Slice squash in half lengthwise.
    2. Scoop out seedy guts with spoon. Discard.
    3. Use fork to remove noodles from skin. Discard skin.
    to assemble
    1. Spoon spaghetti squash into large bowl, top with plenty of freshly-grated parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon goat cheese marinara and meatballs over spaghetti squash, serve immediately.
    Nutrition Facts
    Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs
    Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
    Calories 359 Calories from Fat 189
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 21g32%
    Saturated Fat 8g50%
    Cholesterol 91mg30%
    Sodium 1726mg75%
    Potassium 869mg25%
    Carbohydrates 20g7%
    Fiber 4g17%
    Sugar 10g11%
    Protein 22g44%
    Vitamin A 8225IU165%
    Vitamin C 15.6mg19%
    Calcium 196mg20%
    Iron 3.6mg20%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    One thought on “Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese Marinara and Meatballs

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    1. 5 stars
      so many vegetables in here BUT I KNOW IT’LL TASTE SO STINKIN’ GOOD! I really love the texture of the spaghetti squash!!