Spaghetti and meatballs are a tried and true classic. I think you would be pretty hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy some form of this Italian staple, especially when we are talking about the homemade variety. Although traditional spaghetti and meatballs aren’t a terrible choice in terms of healthy Italian faire, it definitely can be modified into a cleaner and lighter version that keeps your healthy resolutions in mind, without sacrificing the taste you love in the process. As a matter of fact, this rings true for most foods, it just takes a little extra time experimenting in the kitchen, and luckily you have me to do that for you.
While I have obviously been using my spiralizer like crazy throughout the past several posts, I couldn’t resist whipping it out once more, as it just works so perfectly in making mile long strands of zucchini noodles in a flash. This is one of those kitchen tools that I honestly cannot say enough good things about. It really does make eating more vegetables easy, and even (dare I say) fun when it comes to dishes like this. It also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, so if you’re looking to expand your kitchen gadgetry, I highly recommend investing in one of these. You will not regret it!
While I am currently in the process of perfecting a slow cooker marinara sauce, this recipe simply calls for your preferred store bought variety. I wanted to keep this dish as simple as possible and easy to throw together. Not everyone has, nor wants to spend the time making their own marinara from scratch, but if you do, more power to you! Some of my favorite brands to use are Cucina Antica’s Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce or Garlic Marinara Sauce, and Eden Organic’s plain pizza sauce that I like to doctor up. I am always on the lookout for a good marinara, so let me know your top picks in the comments below!
- 1 lb. organic lean ground turkey
- 2 large cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. dried Italian herbs
- ½ cup julienned basil; save half for topping
- ¼ cup yellow onion; finely chopped
- ½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. almond meal flour
- High quality sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 flax seed ‘egg’ (1 Tbsp. ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp. water = 1 ‘egg’)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil for light pan frying
- 4 medium sized zucchini; julienned or spiralized into thin, spaghetti-like strands
- 2 (32 oz.) jars of your preferred marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds with 3 Tbsp. water. Whisk mixture and set in refrigerator for at least ten minutes, or until it reaches the consistency of an egg white.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly with clean hands, adding in finished flax egg last.
- Form turkey mixture into golf ball sized balls and saute in oil over medium heat until all sides of exterior are golden brown. This gives the meatballs their crisp exterior.
- With a slotted spoon, remove finished meatballs from pan and transfer into an oven safe baking dish. Pour marinara sauce over the meatballs and bake meatballs for about 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F. If you do not have a cooking thermometer, meatballs will be done when interior is opaque and no pink is visible.
- While meatballs cook, prepare zucchini. To slightly warm and soften zucchini strands without making them soggy, place prepared zucchini on a non-stick cookie sheet, and place in the oven for 2-5 minutes when meatballs are done.
- Plate zucchini noodles and top with meatballs and marinara. Finish by topping with prepared julienned basil.
- Serve and enjoy!