Sometimes an idea just works and sometimes it’s so simple that you wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner. I love eating spaghetti squash but I never really enjoyed the process of making it. Do I microwave it? Cook in the oven? Ugh. Can someone just cook the squash for me and then I can eat it?!? Well, I no longer have that problem. From now on, the slow cooker is my best friend. Not only will it cook my meal for me but it will also steam my spaghetti squash until the flesh just falls away from the skin. For dinner one night, I decided that I wanted spaghetti with meatballs but I’m not eating pasta these days (eating gluten free and avoiding high-carb foods for my Type 1 Diabetes) so spaghetti squash would fill the void. I thought it would be fun to try cooking the meatballs, sauce AND spaghetti squash together under one roof and it was a great success. I love that everything came out hot at the same time and dinner was ready! No waiting for the spaghetti squash to finish steaming or the meatballs to finish cooking. I even made a homemade tomato sauce for this recipe but you can definitely use jarred sauce as well.
I began with the tomato sauce, which needed some time to simmer on the stove. I heated the olive oil over medium-high heat in a pan with high sides then added the onion, pepper and garlic and sautÃ©ed for 5 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown. I added the beef stock and scraped the bottom of the pan to pick up any bits from the cooked vegetables. I added the crushed and diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and spices and brought the sauce to a boil. I lowered the temperature to medium-low and simmered the sauce for 15 minutes.
While the sauce was simmering, I prepared the spaghetti squash and meatballs. I sliced the spaghetti squash in half width-wise and scooped out and discarded the seeds.
I placed half of the squash in the center of the slow cooker, cut side down. If you have a small spaghetti squash or a huge slow cooker, you can add both halves but only half of my squash fit. Make sure you have room for the sauce and meatballs!
I chopped the spinach in a food processor and added it to the ground beef.
I stirred the spinach and meat together with the onion, egg and spices. I poured the tomato sauce in to the slow cooker, around the spaghetti squash, and rolled the ground meat mixture into balls and placed them on the sauce. You might have to squish them in a bit around the squash.
I covered the slow cooker and cooked the meatballs and squash on high for an hour and a half.
I removed the spaghetti squash and scooped out the center with a spoon.
I placed the squash on to a serving dish, covered it in the homemade tomato sauce then topped with the spinach meatballs. I chopped up some extra fresh spinach to top the meatballs and add an extra pop of color.
Perfect for lunch. Perfect for dinner. Can I eat these for breakfast too?
TSFL Friendly Slow Cooker Spinach Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash
Serves 6, Per serving: 1 lean, 3 green, 3 condiments
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (makes around 6 cups cooked spaghetti squash)
- 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped finely
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 3 cups low-carbohydrate jarred tomato sauce (or you can make your own)
- Slice the spaghetti squash in half width-wise and scoop out and discard the seeds.
- Place the squash halves in the center of the slow cooker, cut side down. Make sure you have room for the sauce and meatballs.
- Chop the spinach in a food processor and add it to the ground beef. Stir the spinach and meat together with the onion, egg and spices.
- Pour the tomato sauce in to the slow cooker, around the spaghetti squash, and roll the ground meat mixture into balls and place them on the sauce. You might have to squish them in a bit around the squash.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook the meatballs and squash on high for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove the spaghetti squash and scoop out the center with a spoon.
- Place the squash on to a serving dish, cover it in the tomato sauce then top with the spinach meatballs.