This italian-inspired dinner of easy turkey meatballs with shredded spaghetti squash is real food heaven, even for a not-so-great cook like myself. This recipe is grain-free, gluten-free, and free of refined junk, which is what I’m all about these days. Call it Paleo-inspired, Primal, or whatever you like. It’s just real food! This recipe emphasizes fresh ingredients, just like our ancestors would’ve eaten. (Well, they probably didn’t have almond flour back in “the day.” Which was a Wednesday, for the record. Anyway. Don’t get all nit-picky.) I made a simple homemade tomato sauce to go with it, thanks to the amazing roadside farmer’s markets in our new South Jersey stomping grounds. It feels weird to pull over to the side of the road for something other than getting caught speeding. That’s cool, though. Making new memories. While the squash bakes, make the sauce; and with about 20 minutes left on the squash cook time, add the meatballs to the oven. Both recipes below! First, make the Spaghetti Squash: Stab the whole squash a few times (get angry!) and bake it in the oven at 375° for about an hour. Slice and scrape out the meat with a fork, discarding the seeds. Spaghetti squash is more dynamic, flavorful and wholesome than any pasta!
Tomato Sauce: (You can also use a “clean” pre-made sauce if you’re short on time or patience. Look for something without industrial oils, like soybean or canola, and free of preservatives.)
2 lbs. peeled and chopped tomatoes (easy peel tip: pour boiling water over fresh tomatoes, then plunge into an ice bath, to loosen the skin). You can seed the tomatoes if you wish, but that’s a lotta work!
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 white onion, chopped well
1-2 large carrots, shredded or finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 c. Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
3-5 minced garlic cloves
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 6-oz can tomato paste, if desired, for color and thickness
Cook onion, carrot, celery, parsley, pepper, and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until soft. Add tomatoes and basil and allow to simmer at least 20 minutes. Add tomato paste if desired. Season with more spices! You can simmer the meatballs in the sauce if you like.
Turkey Meatballs: (If dairy doesn’t work for you, feel free to skip the cheese.)
1 lb. ground turkey (you can certainly use beef, but I had turkey on hand)
I’ll remember the part about putting down a tarp!
As a southern NJ transplant to Kansas, finally someone agrees with me that NJ tomatoes are the best!