Is it possible to eat comfort food on a low carb diet? These amazing Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs are proof that miracles never cease.
Most people say they gain weight over the holidays. I can attest that some years I’ve had one too many Christmas bonbons, and need to shed a few pounds in January. Yet in reality, summer time is when I ALWAYS gain weight.
Let’s blame it on the kids, shall we?
After all, they are home from school snacking, snacking, snacking at every moment of the day. I’m much more likely to pop handfuls of Cheddar Bunnies when they are around.
Due to the summer schedule, I workout less and lay (in the sun) more. To top it all, I tend to have “vacation” mentality every day, which can only lead to trouble.
So you see, I go into bathing suit season comfortable with myself, and leave it feeling lumpy and dumpy.
Of all the diets and healthy eating plans I’ve tried over the years, I tend to do the best on a low carb diet.
Not the kind where you eat bacon and pork rinds all day long. The kind where you eat lots of salad and lean meats.
Although I love carbs, I notice quite a change in my energy level and metabolism when I cut them out. I hate to admit that, but it’s true.
Yet I still crave comfort food like you would believe… Dishes like spaghetti and meatballs.
How To Make Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs
Is it possible to make tender, flavorful meatballs without breadcrumbs soaked in milk, and cheese?
There was a time I would have said HECK NO. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is not only packed with flavor, it’s light, tender, and melt in your mouth delicious.
When developing Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs, I needed to find a filler that could offer what breadcrumbs and milk do for meatballs.
The milk-soaked bread breaks up the clumps and tenderizes the meat for a lighter, softer meatball. Meatballs without bread and milk tend to be tough and heavy.
After serious contemplation, I felt that beans might be a decent substitute, able to absorb the juices in the meatballs and break up the meat.
A puree of veggies, cannellini beans, and sun-dried tomatoes was added to ground beef and Italian sausage. The result was impressive. Beans have just enough starch to hold in the moisture and flavor; plus they create a velvety texture.
Although this Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is designed to fit within the perimeters of a low carb diet, the combination of tons of veggies and beach starch, make it absolutely sublime.
I will make this recipe again and again, served with fresh tomato sauce and roasted spaghetti squash!
Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 cup drained cannellini beans, white
- 2 small red onions, roughly chopped and separated
- 3 large carrots, roughly chopped and separated
- 9 cloves garlic, peeled and separated
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes, jarred
- 2 large eggs
- Reserved onion, carrots and garlic from above
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, separated
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2- 28 ounces cans crushed tomatoes
- 1-14 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the squash cut-side-down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the beans, 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 3 cloves of garlic in a food processor. Puree until completely smooth.
- Place the bean puree in a large bowl with the ground meats, red pepper, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, eggs and 3 tablespoons parsley. Mix by hand until the ground meat is completely blended.
- Shape into 8 large meatballs and place on a parchment paper lined, rimmed, cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
- While the squash and meatballs are baking, add the rest of the onion, carrots and garlic to the food processor. Pulse until chopped well, but not pureed.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped veggies and sauté for 5 minutes to soften. Then add all the canned tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, remaining parsley and basil. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Cover (mostly) and continue to simmer until the meatballs are done baking.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and carefully transfer them into the tomato sauce. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer another 15 minutes so the flavors meld.
- When the squash has cooled a bit, use a fork to scrape the flesh into “spaghetti” strands and place on plates. Top each pile of spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and meatballs.