Healthy Turkey Veggie Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash is a lighter alternative to traditional spaghetti meatballs! Packed with protein, fiber and delicious flavor you will not know the recipe is low-calorie. Paleo + Gluten Free + Low Calorie + Low Carb
This post was originally published in 2015.
Is there anything better than spaghetti and meatballs for dinner? I absolutely love it and this recipe is made healthy and lighter for you. Your family will love this hearty and healthy recipe!
This healthy meatball spaghetti squash recipe uses ground turkey to make meatballs packed with lean protein, veggies and flavor. They are also made with no breadcrumbs!
YES ground turkey meatballs can be made with zero breadcrumbs. I'll show you how!
This healthy turkey meatball recipe is paired with spaghetti squash for a lower carb option. I adore spaghetti squash because it's easy, not expensive, packed with nutrients and well... it makes a high volume meal for very few calories.
You can always swap the spaghetti squash for regular pasta or zucchini noodles. Check out the substitutions section at the end of this post for more info!
What Makes This Spaghetti Squash Meatball Recipe Healthy
This turkey veggie meatball recipe with spaghetti squash is low calorie, gluten free, low carb, Paleo friendly and better for you! Here's more reasons why.
- Low Calorie - 385 calories for 1/4 of this recipe. The portion size (one-quarter) is a lot of food! Using ground turkey and eliminating eggs and reducing oil helps to reduce the calories from fat sources.
- Lower Fat - The saturated fat is only 4 grams per serving due to using ground turkey instead of pork or beef which is usually what meatballs are made from.
- Adequate Protein - This recipe has 37 grams of protein per serving which is the right amount of protein for the general population to consume at a meal. Protein is important for multiple processes in the body, but also for maintaining blood sugar and satiety.
- High Fiber - There's 9 grams of fiber in this recipe coming from the squash and veggies. 9 grams is a really high amount of fiber for a recipe. Fiber is so important for a healthy diet, but one big reason is for maintaining fullness.
Healthy Meatballs With Spaghetti Squash Ingredients
Here's what you need to make low carb turkey veggie meatballs with spaghetti squash! See the substitutions section below for substitute recommendations.
- Spaghetti Squash
- 93% Ground Turkey (I get mine from ButcherBox)
- Yellow Onion
- Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes, canned
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Italian Seasoning
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Parmesan, optional
You will also need a baking sheet for roasting the spaghetti squash and a large skillet for cooking the meatballs and spaghetti sauce.
How To Make Spaghetti Squash Meatballs
Step One - Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. I microwave mine 2 minutes to make slicing easier. Remove the seeds with a fork then place the sliced spaghetti squash facing down on the baking sheet. Cover with tinfoil.
Step Two - Bake 40 minutes then remove from the oven to cool.
Step Four - In a mixing bowl, combine the veggies, ground meat, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Mix together then form into 12 meatballs.
Step Five - Add the olive oil to a large skillet with the meatballs. Cook the meatballs 10 minutes then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes.
Step Six - Reduce the heat to low then add the crushed tomatoes with juices to the skillet with the meatballs.
Step Seven - Remove the spaghetti squash from the skins using a fork as the sauce simmers. Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet.
Step Eight - Remove from the heat. Top with fresh parsley and parmesan as desired.
How To Serve Turkey Meatballs
There are many ways to enjoy turkey meatballs. This recipe is a version of spaghetti and meatballs, but you can also just make the turkey meatballs and top them over a salad or enjoy them as a protein snack.
Can You Bake Turkey Meatballs
Yes, you can bake turkey meatballs. If you want to bake the meatballs for this recipe, you can follow this baked turkey meatball recipe of mine. I do recommend after removing the meatballs from the oven adding them to the sauce in a skillet. This makes them extra tasty!
Storing Spaghetti Squash Meatballs
- Refrigerator - This meatball spaghetti squash recipe will last in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- Freezing - You can freeze the cooked meatballs with the sauce in an airtight container or plastic storage bag up to 6 months. I do not recommend freezing the spaghetti squash.
- Reheating - You can reheat your turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash in the microwave, in the oven or toaster oven at 300 F or in a skillet on the stovetop.
Can You Freeze Turkey Meatballs
Yes, you can freeze turkey meatballs along with the sauce in this recipe. I often double the recipe and freeze half. Cook once, eat twice!
To reheat turkey meatballs, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight then use one of the reheating options above.
Frequently Asked Questions - Turkey Meatballs
Should I add eggs to make meatballs?
If you're using ground turkey or chicken, you don't need an egg for the meatballs for them to hold together. You can add one, but it is not necessary. If you are using ground pork or ground beef, you will need an egg to make meatballs.
Are turkey meatballs healthier?
Turkey meatballs are healthier than beef meatballs as they have less calories from fat content. Health is always individual though and depends on you and your goals.
How do you keep meatballs from falling apart?
A binder like an egg, oil, breadcrumbs or milk helps prevent meatballs from falling apart. It also depends on the type of meat you use. Higher fat meats like ground pork and beef will require a binder more than ground chicken or ground turkey.
Are meatballs better baked or pan fried?
Baking them gives them a little more flavor, but I also find if you are pan frying them and using a sauce, like this recipe, will give them just as much moisture and flavor as baking!
Why are my turkey meatballs tough?
When mixing the ground turkey with the other ingredients, combine them gently. Over mixing is what results in tough meatballs.
How many calories are in a turkey meatball?
Each turkey meatball is about 60 calories in this recipe.
Substitutions for Turkey Veggie Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash Recipe
Here's the substitutions you could make for this recipe. Remember these are general suggestions and that when you omit or change things in a recipe it does alter the nutritional values you see in the recipe card below!
- Ground Turkey - Any ground meat will work wit this recipe - lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground pork. If you do use ground beef you will need to add an egg to the batter to hold the meatballs together. If you are using beef or pork, you will need to let them simmer longer in the sauce to get tender.
- Vegetarian - Use tempeh, tofu or a meat-free alternative would work with this recipe. If you use tempeh or tofu, I recommend adding that to the sauce along with the roughly chopped veggies instead of forming meatballs.
- Spaghetti Squash - Acorn Squash, delicata squash, spiralized zucchini would work well with this recipe. If using spiralized zucchini, I would keep it on the side instead of adding to the sauce so the zucchini doesn't get soggy. You could also add whole grain pasta, gluten free pasta, plant-based pasta or low carb hearts of palm which are my favorite!
- Veggies - You can add or omit any of the veggies as you like. This recipe is very versatile!
- Spices - You can add or omit the spices as you like.
- Fresh Parsley - You can use dried parsley instead. If you use dried parsley, add 1 tablespoon.
- Parmesan - I always add a touch of parmesan or a cheese rind to my sauces and soups to add flavor.
- Dairy Free - You can omit the cheese, use a dairy-free cheese or nutritional yeast.
More Healthy Meatball Recipes
- Crockpot Turkey Sausage Meatballs
- Low Calorie Turkey Meatballs Baked
- Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Asian Salmon Meatballs
- Healthy Asian Meatballs
- Healthy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Turkey Veggie Meatballs With Spaghetti Squash
- 1 lb 93% Ground Turkey
- 1 Spaghetti Squash
- 28 oz Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Zucchini peeled and shredded
- 1/2 Yellow Onion finley chopped
- 1/2 cup Carrots shredded (2 medium carrots)
- 4 tablespoons Parmesan optional, omit for Paleo
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. I microwave mine 2 minutes to make slicing easier. Remove the seeds with a fork then place the sliced spaghetti squash facing down on the baking sheet. Cover with tinfoil.
- Bake 40 minutes then remove from the oven to cool.
- Shred the carrots, onion, zucchini and garlic by pulsing them in a blender or food processor.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the veggies, ground meat, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Mix together then form into 12 meatballs.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet with the meatballs. Cook the meatballs 10 minutes then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low then add the crushed tomatoes with juices to the skillet with the meatballs.
- Cook meatballs 10 minutes then flip and cook another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the spaghetti squash from the skins using a fork as the sauce simmers. Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet.
- Remove from the heat. Top with fresh parsley and parmesan as desired and serve!