Tag Archives: spaghetti

Spinach “Meat” Balls and Spaghetti (Squash)

spinach "meat" ball Spaghetti and Meatballs… a classic. When I was a kid, this was one of my favorites. Before I converted to vegetarianism as a defiant 11 year old, I was all about Sunday Night Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs. The smells of a simmering pot of sauce gently cooking little orbs of deliciousness are deeply ingrained in my mind. So last Sunday, when I asked Mark if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs for dinner he looked at me with disbelief. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made him spaghetti and meatballs in the past 4 years. Since I no longer eat meat, I go lighter on the pasta and I’m lactose intolerant, this recipe differs from that of my childhood. The spinach balls sit atop spaghetti squash, a vegetable Mark and I have been obsessed with for the last 6 months.spaghetti squash with roasted veggies and cauliflower tomato sauce

Top those squash noodles with some balls of spinach and I’m in vegetable heaven! The “meat” balls are made of spinach, a bit of bread crumbs (gf if need be), quinoa, a binder (egg or flax egg,) onions, garlic and spices… you won’t even miss the meat. But because I’m a nice girlfriend I made Mark some pork and turkey meatballs.

Spinach “Meat” Balls over Spaghetti Squash

makes about 10-12 balls and enough spaghetti for 2-3 people


1 teaspoon of oil

1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa

1 1/4 cups of water

Spinach Dumplings (makes about 10)

1 tablespoon of oil

1 12 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted and all excess water squeezed out with an old kitchen towel

1/4 cup of bread crumbs (gf if need be)

1 egg or flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and allowed to sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 of an onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like spice)

1/4 cup of cooked quinoa (from above)

1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce

1/2 cup of water

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

Start by cooking the quinoa. Add the oil to the bottom of a small pot. Let it heat up for a minute over medium high heat then add in the quinoa and water, stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, put a lid on the pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

While the quinoa is cooking, start to prepare the spinach balls…take a medium sized bowl and add in the spinach, bread crumbs, egg, spices, garlic and onion. When the quinoa is cooked add 1/4 cup to the spinach mixture, and stir it to combine all of the ingredients. Heat a mediums size pan over medium heat and add in about a tablespoon of olive oil. This is also a good time to preheat your oven to 375 F for your squash.

Form the spinach mixture into 10-12 balls with your hands. Place the spinach balls in the pan and brown on all sides. Once nicely browned, add in the sauce and water and cover the pan with a lid, let it simmer gently for at least 45 minutes, but I think the longer the better. Stir it around occasionally

While the spinach balls are bubbling away, line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the spaghetti squash, cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The squash is ready when the flesh can easily be pierced with a fork. When it is done let it cool a little bit, then scrape a fork along the inside, from stem to stern. The squash should come apart in strings that resemble spaghetti (hence the name). Plate up your squash and top with spinach balls and sauce.


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Pasta with Wilted Greens and Roasted Vegetables

This past Saturday, I had my first house guest, my friend Tracy. We’ve been trying to get together for dinner for a while; she only lives ½ an hour away. Finally, our schedules matched up and I offered to have her over for dinner so she could see the new apartment and we could save a bit of money. She suggested pasta. So pasta it was. I made a spinach salad and some spaghetti with balsamic roasted vegetables. Tracy eats only select veggies, I got her to eat her salad but she opted for pasta sauce instead of veggies over her pasta… at least I got some veggies in her.  I though the veggies were delicious… perhaps I’m biased by my love for vegetables and balsamic vinegar. Afterwards, we headed over to her house for a pre-Father’s Day bonfire which was a lot of fun.

Pasta with Wilted Greens and Roasted Vegetables

Serves 2

¼ box of whole wheat spaghetti

½ pint cherry/grape tomatoes cut in half

½ bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, sliced into thin strips

¼ medium onion, sliced into ¼ inch medallions, and rings separated

2-3 cups of spinach, or greens or your choice (arugula, chard, etc)

1 clove of garlic minced

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop up the veggies… halve the tomatoes, cut peppers into strips, slice onion and separate rings. Place on cookie sheet, add oil, vinegar and black pepper, toss to coat and pop in the oven for 20 mins or until the veggies are soft and start to brown.

In the mean time, boil the pasta water and cook the pasta according to the box directions. In a small frying pan place spinach and garlic and a small splash of water, place the pan over medium heat and put a lid on it to wilt the spinach. Cook for 3 mins until the spinach is wilted and the garlic is cooked through, stir it occasionally to make sure all of the spinach wilts down. Drain the pasta once it has cooked for long enough and run a bit of cold water over it to stop the cooking process. Plate the pasta, top with the spinach and the other veggies, then sprinkle with Parmigianino cheese, you can do this family style or on individual plates. If pasta is not saucy enough for you feel free to add more oil and vinegar on top or throw on some pasta sauce… Enjoy!

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