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Pile of keto meatballs on spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Spaghetti squash and meatballs are a great way to enjoy a classic dish without all the carbs! Tender, earthy spaghetti squash is delicious topped with marinara and our homemade low carb meatballs!

Spaghetti squash and meatballs on white plate.

My kids LOVE pasta and request it at least once a week. Some days I make the kids pasta and I microwave a bag of frozen steamable spaghetti squash for myself and other days we all eat the spaghetti squash as a family.

It’s a compromise that I feel good about. The kids are pretty happy with it too, because they actually really like spaghetti squash! They don’t necessarily want it in place of pasta, but they do like the flavor and all the creative ways we serve it up.

Our spaghetti squash casserole is a riff on their all time favorite baked spaghetti recipe and the whole family loves it!

This spaghetti squash and meatballs is obviously a low carb take on the classic spaghetti and meatballs – just a bit healthier, lower in carbs, and grain and gluten free!

Ingredient Notes:

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Ingredients for spaghetti squash with meatballs.

Spaghetti Squash – You’ll need about a two pound spaghetti squash. A ripe spaghetti squash should be firm with a golden yellow or dark yellow color. They can be tough to cut in half but I’ve got a neat trick for making it easier that I’ll explain below. We’ll season it with just a touch of garlic salt.

Ground Meat – You’ll need both ground beef and ground pork sausage to make these homemade meatballs!

Crushed Pork Rinds Most meatball recipes use Italian breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs. To keep things low carb we’re using crushed pork rinds! They have a similar texture and taste great. You can buy a bag and crush them yourself or you can even buy them pre-crushed online made just for low carb recipes like this!

Egg – It’s a great binder that helps hold all the ingredients in the meatball together and keep its shape.

Almond Milk – This is going to add some moisture to the meatballs and flavor to help keep them from drying out when they bake.

Seasoning – I’m using a simple mix of garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano to season these homemade meatballs!

Sugar-Free Marinara – We love Rao’s Marinara! It’s perfect for using as a spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or dipping sauce! There are no added sugars, and it tastes great! You can use any sugar free brand of marinara for this recipe.

Minced Parsley – For topping the spaghetti squash and meatballs just before serving.

Why We Love This Recipe:
  • It’s not quite the same as classic spaghetti and meatballs, but the spaghetti squash is a good substitute. The marinara sauce and keto meatballs will add lots of good flavor too.
  • The homemade meatballs are great for more than just this spaghetti squash recipe! They make great snacks or appetizers too. Toss them in any type of sauce you like and dig in!
  • You can easily make wheat pasta for the family members who prefer that and save the good stuff for yourself!

How To Roast Spaghetti Squash:

Collage showing how to roast spaghetti squash.

  • Prepare – While your oven preheats you can get started by washing the spaghetti squash and scoring it length-wise with a sharp knife. Microwave it for 5 minutes to soften the squash up and make it easier to cut. Slice the squash in half lengthwise after microwaving. Scrape the seeds out from the center and either discard or save them for roasting and eating as a snack! They’ll cook just like our air fryer pumpkin seeds!
  • Bake – Sprinkle some of the garlic salt on the inside of the squash and then place them on a prepared baking sheet cut side down. The squash will take about 30 to 45 minutes to bake, or until a sharp knife can be inserted easily with little resistance. You’ll want to start preparing the meatballs about 30 minutes before the squash is finished baking. See the how to below on making the meatballs.
  • Scrape – After baking you can use a fork to scrape the strands of spaghetti squash! Scrape it width-wise for longer strands or lengthwise for shorter strands. When you’ve finished scraping it into strands set it aside for now while you make the meatballs.

How To Make Keto Meatballs:

Collage showing how to make keto meatballs.

  • Combine – You’ll want to start making these meatballs about 30 minutes before the squash is done. Add all of the meatball ingredients including the ground meat, crushed pork rinds, egg, cream, water, and seasoning to a medium mixing bowl and mix with clean hands until it is all well combined.
  • Roll – When you’ve finished preparing the meatball mix separate it into 18 chunks. Try to keep them about the same size so the meatballs all cook evenly. Roll each chunk into a meatball!
  • Bake – Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and add them to the oven with the squash at the same temperature. These homemade meatballs will take about 12-14 minutes to bake or until they’ve cooked through. Try to time it so that the meatballs finish at about the same time as the spaghetti squash or just rewarm the meatballs in the marinara sauce before serving.

How To Serve Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs:

Pile of keto meatballs on spaghetti squash.

  • Heat – You’ll need to heat the marinara sauce up first before serving, which you can do in a sauce pan on the stove. It shouldn’t take long to heat the sauce up. We love Rao’s just how it is, but feel free to doctor it up how you like or use a homemade sauce.
  • Arrange – When the marinara sauce is ready you can divide the strands of spaghetti squash evenly between 4 plates and top each one with half a cup of the marinara. Finally, top with the meatballs (there should be enough for 3 per plate!) and sprinkle on some parsley before serving hot.
Helpful Tip!

In a hurry? Try making your spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot!

Nutrition Info:

This recipe is naturally higher in carbs than most of the recipes we share, just because spaghetti squash is naturally higher in carbs.

This dish may not work for everyone, especially those following a keto diet.

I limit my carbs to around 20 net per day and do sneak this in, but am careful about what I eat the rest of the day. So, this dish works for me and my version of keto, but may not work for everyone.

Either way, it’s a healthy, low carb way to enjoy spaghetti and meatballs.

Serving Suggestions

Highly recommend serving this spaghetti squash and meatballs alongside our cauliflower breadsticks and a green salad topped with our keto Italian dressing, if you have the room in your carb budget! So tasty!

FAQ’s:

How to store spaghetti squash and meatballs?

If you have leftovers you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.

How to cut a spaghetti squash?

A spaghetti squash can be difficult to cut so to make the task easier you’ll first microwave it for a few minutes to soften it up. It’s important that you score the outside of the squash lengthwise with a knife before microwaving so that it can release steam.

Is spaghetti squash keto?

Spaghetti squash can be a good choice for a keto or low carb diet when eaten in moderation. A 1-cup serving contains 7 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of fiber. Spaghetti squash is a low calorie food and can be a very healthy option.

What does spaghetti squash taste like?

Spaghetti squash has an earthy, sweet flavor that pairs well with many different ingredients. It has more texture than a noodle, but it works well as a replacement in many pasta dishes.

More Spaghetti Squash Recipes:

Plate topped with spaghetti squash and meatballs.

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Overhead view of spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara on plate.

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

My kids often ask for spaghetti and meatballs and this is a favorite way to serve it up! It's a bit healthier for everyone with the spaghetti squash in place of pasta and the flavor of the squash pairs great with the marinara and meatballs.

Yield 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the spaghetti squash:

  • 1 spaghetti squash, about 2 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef, 85-90% lean
  • ½ pound ground sausage
  • 1 cup crushed pork rinds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano

For serving:

  • 3 cups marinara sauce, see notes
  • Minced parsley

Instructions

To make the spaghetti squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Wash the spaghetti squash and score the squash lengthwise with a sharp knife. Microwave for 5 minutes to soften the squash to make it easier to cut. Slice the squash in half lengthwise.
  3. Scrape the seeds from the center of the squash and discard (or save for roasting and eating as a snack).
  4. Sprinkle the inside of the squash with garlic salt.
  5. Place on the prepared pan cut side down and bake for 30-45 minutes or until a sharp knife can be easily inserted with only a little resistance.
  6. Use a fork to scrape strands of spaghetti squash. Scrape width-wise for longer strands or length-wise for short stands. Set squash aside.

To make the meatballs:

  1. About 30 minutes before the squash is done, add the ground beef, pork rinds, egg, almond milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano to a medium mixing bowl and mix well with clean hands to combine.
  2. Separate the meatballs into 18 separate chunks and roll into a ball.
  3. Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees or until cooked through. 

To serve:

  1. Warm the marinara in a saucepan on the stove.
  2. Divide the spaghetti squash evenly between 6 plates and top each plate with ½ cup of marinara. 
  3. Arrange 3 meatballs over the spaghetti squash and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Notes

Marinara Sauce: The nutrition is based on using Rao's marinara. It's a no sugar added sauce that you can find in most stores. It's our all time favorite sauce - good flavor and no funky ingredients.

Nutrition: This is a bit higher in carbs than most of our recipes, just because spaghetti squash is naturally higher in carbs. You could swap the spaghetti squash for zucchini noodles to cut carbs if preferred. This recipe works well for a low carb diet, but likely isn't going to fit into a keto diet due to the carb count.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1361mgCarbohydrates: 17gNet Carbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 32g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information is accurate.

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