One of my favorite ways to come up with a new recipe is to take a classic dish and transform it into a healthy, gluten-free, vegetarian meal that doesn’t lose any of the deliciousness. And what’s more classic than Spaghetti & Meatballs? (Let’s all just take a moment to get the giggles out of our systems…unless that’s just me)
ANYWAY, I was having a major craving for some comfort food, had a gigantic (think: small watermelon) spaghetti squash on my counter. The idea popped in my head for a spaghetti & meatballs remix, and I had to give it a whirl.
You can use pre-made spaghetti sauce, or make a quick from-scratch version in a food processor (tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes).
Preheat your oven to 375. Cook the spaghetti squash one of two ways:
1. Pierce squash several times with sharp knife (to avoid squash explosion). Bake on a cookie sheet for 1 hr 20 min at 375, flipping squash once halfway through.
2. Pierce squash several times with sharp knife (again, no spaghetti bombs). Heat in microwave on a plate for 10-12 minutes.
Once your squash is cooked, slice off the very end with the stem. Then, halve the squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and gooey bits and throw those away. Scrape the remaining flesh of the squash with a fork to get out all of the wonderful spaghetti noodles. Place noodles in a large bowl and set aside.
For the Black Bean “Meatballs” (Seriously, should I call them something different? Black Bean Spheres of Deliciousness?!):
Ingredients (makes ~20 “meatballs”)
1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 regular cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 egg (to make vegan, replace egg w/ olive oil and applesauce OR small amount mashed potato)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs OR gluten-free oats
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
In a food processor, pulse onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add 2 cans black beans, cilantro, parsley, egg, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne and pulse to combine.
Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the remaining cans of black beans and the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and mix until well combined.
Form into roughly 1″-1.5″ diameter bean balls with your hands. It’s up to you how large they are, just be sure to cook them longer if they are giant!
Bake for roughly 30-40 minutes, or until the black bean balls are firm and hot all the way through.
Plate your spaghetti squash, some fresh spinach, pasta sauce, and Black Bean Spheres of Deliciousness (soon to be trademarked), along with asiago cheese for topping (if desired). Enjoy your comfort food, guilt-free!!