Simply Healthy Family: Roasted, Buttered Spagetti Squash with 2 Bean Croquettes aka Veggie Meatballs {12 Weeks of Winter Squash}


Roasted, Buttered Spagetti Squash with 2 Bean Croquettes aka Veggie Meatballs {12 Weeks of Winter Squash}

Let's cut to the chase and just call it what it is shall we? In the words of my very outspoken 8 year old "Are you trying to tell me these are meatballs?"  and then under his breath  "I know these aren't real  noodles, it's spaghetti squash."  The jig is up. At least my kids know what spaghetti squash is, I suppose I should be thankful for that, even if it's not quite as good as the 'real thing' in there eyes.

Let's clear the air right now, if you don't like beans in general, you probably won't like these croquettes. I call them croquettes or in Italian, crocchettes because that's what they are.  Not "meatballs"  (motion finger quotes here). The texture is not firm like meat, however they are dense, 'meat like' albeit  a bit mushier and very flavorful and satisfying. The marinara, fresh Parmesan and creamy spaghetti squash make this healthy meal hard to remember that you are 'missing' meat.  In fact, I much prefer these to the taste and texture of ground beef. Hands down!

 Although typically croquettes are deep fried in most countries, I always choose to bake mine. Partly because it's much healthier and mostly because deep frying things scares the bejesus out of me. (Picture a grown woman who isn't afraid of much of anything shrieking "Eeeeeek! at the top of her lungs every time the grease splatters.)  Not pretty. 

So, even though this 'spaghetti' dinner didn't fool my kids, all but 1  of them loved it. 1 out of 4 aint bad folks.
This may or may not have to do with the fact that Santa Clause is making out his naughty and nice list.

Coincidence I say. Sheer coincidence.



1 medium size spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons butter
1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas) drained and rinsed
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (or 3/4 - 1 cup fresh bread crumbs)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg
1 small handful fresh parsley
 1 big handful chopped baby spinach
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
non stick spray

3 cups crushed tomatoes or sugar free marinara
freshly grated Parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Poke several holes in the skin of the spaghetti squash to allow steam to escape while cooking. (I made a rookie mistake once and didn't do this and it EXPLODED all over me, not pretty.) Place squash in a baking pan and cook for 30 minutes to soften skin. Carefully remove from oven, let cool for 30 minutes.

{You can try cutting the uncooked squash but it isn't easy and will dull your knives.}

When cooled, cut lengthwise in half and place cut side up in baking dish with a tab of butter in each half. Bake an additional 30 minutes at 375F. Remove and let cool while you make the meatballs.
In a food processor, add beans, onion, garlic and red bell pepper. Pulse till just combined. Do not over process or mixture will be soggy.

Scoop mixture into a medium size bowl. Add cooked quinoa, egg, spinach, cheese, parsley and spices. Mix to combine.

Scoop small, golf ball size pieces into wet hands and shape into balls. Place 1/2" apart onto foil lined, greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes until browned.

Using a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash into a large pot. Top with marinara and cook covered on medium-low for 15 minutes or until warmed through.  Adding 2 bay leaves if using crushed tomatoes.

Serve meatballs on top of spaghetti squash. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with a simple salad.

Bon Apetite!

We are on Week numero Cinco of #12WeeksofWinterSquash my friends. This pasta, is my submission. I strongly encourage you to check out the other recipes for this fun roundup, I hear Heather is making a Pumpkin Fry Bread as we speak!



  1. ha ha ha...the jig is up! But I love the sound of your crochettes, and I may just have to try making them today. With the spaghetti squash, of course, because it's my favorite. :)

    Oh, and p.s...YES! The Pumpkin Fry Bread is up ;).

  2. This looks awesome! I've never made croquettes or "meat"balls out of beans before, but these look fantastic. We really love eating spaghetti squash, too, so this one looks like a real winner. Yum!

  3. Gwen, this looks so good and I'm craving meatballs but am anti meat so this is PERFECT! PS - be sure to head over to my blog and check out some of the great giveaways I have going on these days!!!

  4. This is perfect for Meatless Mondays!! I actually love veggie "meatballs" myself, so I'd be down for trying this :)

  5. This is such a great dish - love the idea of using beans to make the "meatballs".

  6. I had bean meatballs at a restaurant the other day and they were awesome! I've been dying to recreate them. have to try your version!! Had to laugh at the kids calling you out on your healthy substitutions....they learn so quickly!

  7. I love Indian recipe, it looks very delicious and healthy, this sunday i am going in restaurant for eating that kind of food.
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