large spaghetti squash (about 2-1/2 pounds), halved length-wise, seeds and excess threads removed
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
teaspoons kosher salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
lb 90% lean ground beef
cup Progresso™ panko bread crumbs
cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for serving
teaspoon ground nutmeg
large egg, lightly beaten
jar (16 oz) Muir Glen™ Organic Tomato Sauce
large egg whites, beaten
Place rack in the upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Brush cut sides of squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until easily pierced with a fork. Do not overcook.
Place the ground meat, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2-teaspoon pepper, nutmeg, and beaten egg in a large mixing bowl. Toss very lightly with a fork, until just combined. With your hands, gently form the mixture into small, bite-sized meatballs.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1-tablespoon olive oil over medium. Add the meatballs, cook the meatballs for 3 minutes until they begin to brown, then flip to cook on the other side. Add 1 3/4 cup tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, then cover and continue to heat until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the squash from the oven and scrape with a fork. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin.
Make a bed of squash in each muffin tin, and then gently press a well in the center to create a “nest” for the meatballs. Once the meatballs are cooked through, remove them from the sauce and place each one in each well.
Drizzle beat egg whites over the entire top of each spaghetti and meatball cup. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the egg is completely cooked through.
Serve warm with extra tomato sauce for dipping.
More About This Recipe
- These bite-sized cupcakes made from spaghetti squash are a tasty alternative to traditional spaghetti and meatballs.At the next birthday party I attend, I’m going to give the special birthday person her very own plate of Spaghetti Squash and Meatball Cupcakes.These plump, juicy meatballs, each neatly nestled in a spaghetti squash “wrapper”, are inspired by PaleoOMG’s Spaghetti and Meatball Bites and are a perfect little present of Italian-inspired delight.As much as I luuuuuuv a big plate of pasta (carbs are my spirit food), I recognize that it’s important to eat it in moderation. Though I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I know many others who are unable to enjoy classic noodles for a variety of reasons that range from gluten intolerance to dietary choices.Spaghetti squash is a tasty, healthy alternative. A pasta lover to the core, I found I enjoyed these even more with the squash than I would have with traditional noodles. The squash provides a natural sweetness and tenderness that blends beautifully with the hearty meatball and robust tomato sauce.Spaghetti Squash Meatball Bites might just be the best birthday gift ever. After all, what other present comes in its own edible wrapping paper?