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Vegetarian Spaghetti and Quinoa Meatballs Recipe

May 01 2012 - 11:28 AM

Spaghetti_meatballsSometimes we just want a hearty comfort food…without feeling uncomfortable after we eat it. Rarely do I indulge in giant plates of spaghetti, so when I came across this recipe on Aida Mollenkamp’s blog, I knew I had to make it. Instead of using pasta, it calls for a spaghetti squash. And in place of traditional meatballs, she substitutes in quinoa and meaty cremini mushrooms. It looked so perfect I barely did a thing to change it.

The meatballs are heathy but definitely don’t taste it. I’d make them again for a vegetarian meatball sandwich topped with marinara, or flatten them into veggie burgers. Don’t oversauce the “spaghetti” because the squash tends to water down the sauce a bit. Feel free to substitute in any traditional pasta instead.

Vegetarian Spaghetti and Quinoa Meatballs
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp

Serves 6

2 medium spaghetti squash
1 jar pasta sauce (or you can make your own from scratch)
3/4 cup  uncooked quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped basil
12 oz. cremini mushrooms
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the spaghetti squash with a knife in several spots. Put squash on a baking pan and roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile make your quinoa. Boil 1 1/2 cups water and add in quinoa. Cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. I used red quinoa but any kind will do. Set aside to cool.
  3. Saute onions in a large pan with olive oil. Meanwhile, dice your mushrooms When onions are translucent, add in the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and basil, and remove from heat after another two minutes. I put my mixture in a food processor to finely chop the mixture. if your chopped mushrooms are small enough, that won’t be necessary.
  5. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Then, add in the quinoa, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, bread crumbs and cheese. Reserve a good amount of the cheese to use as a garnish.
  6. Mix thoroughly and then, with your hands, roll into small meatball-sized balls. Put them on a prepared cookie sheet fairly close together. By this point your squash should be about done. Remove from the oven and turn it down to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake meatballs for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. In the meantime, cut squash in half, and with a fork remove the seeds. Use the fork to pull out the squash – it will come out in strings like spaghetti. Empty into a large bowl and toss with sauce. Top with meatballs and parmesan cheese.

–Marly Schuman