You can whip together this comfort-food dinner on a weeknight and feel good knowing the meal was healthy and delicious.

By Megan Soll
Updated: August 01, 2017

Whoever said a healthy dinner couldn't include meatballs and cheese is probably doing it all wrong. There's nothing like a great classic Italian recipe-and remember, not everything is made with heavy cream and bacon (we're looking at you fettuccine carbonara). There are plenty of ways to make lighter pasta dishes as well as using alternatives to pasta such as zucchini and squash. With this recipe for spaghetti squash and meatballs you can satisfy your cravings for a hearty Italian meal while keeping your ingredients healthy, clean, and light.

All you need are some basic ingredients, many of which you likely already have in the kitchen, and you're set for a tasty evening meal (with spare leftovers for the next day). You'll flavor your meatballs with dried herbs such as parsley and oregano and bind it all together with an egg and cracker crumbs mixture, before rolling them into balls and popping them under the broiler for 20 minutes. You'll microwave a spaghetti squash split in half, and make a simple tomato sauce by heating fresh tomatoes with vinegar and olive oil. Scoop out the strands of sweet squash, place the meatballs on top, cover everything with the sauce and sprinkle on Parmesan to top it all off. We won't blame you for going in for seconds.

Check out the Shape Up Your Plate Challenge for the complete seven-day detox meal plan and recipes-plus, you'll find ideas for healthy breakfasts and lunches (and more dinners) for the entire month.

Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Makes 1 serving (with extra meatballs for leftovers)

Ingredients

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

12 brown rice crackers, smashed into breadcrumb texture

8 ounces lean ground beef

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 small spaghetti squash

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler. Mix egg, milk, and cracker "bread" crumbs together and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add ground beef, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper to egg mixture and mix until well combined.
  3. Form meat mixture into 10 small meatballs, place on baking sheet, and broil for about 20 minutes, until meatballs are 160°F.
  4. Cut squash in half, remove seeds, and place in microwave-safe dish, cut side down, with 1 inch of water. Microwave for 12 minutes until tender. Drag fork over squash flesh to get spaghetti-like strands.
  5. Heat tomatoes in small pot for 5 minutes until saucy, and stir in vinegar and olive oil. Put aside 5 meatballs for tomorrow's lunch. Top squash and remaining meatballs with tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese.
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