Spaghetti and Meat(and carrots and zucchini)balls

March 29, 2009

Spaghetti was one of my family’s go to meals in the late 90’s, in the days of fat-free everything, but from a cal-counting perspective it doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. See: Macaroni Grill’s spaghetti & meatballs plate clocking in at a mere 1810 calories. 1810! But, spaghetti is a classic quick meal and with a few tweaks can actually be a pretty healthy meal.

Tweak as follows:
1. Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey breast. (Regular ground turkey often has dark meat, and isn’t much of a calorie/fat saver.)
2. Bind the meat with egg whites (instead of eggs) and make your own bread crumbs out of a whole-wheat, high fiber bread or grind up a cereal like fiber-one. Trust me, once it’s all mashed together, nobody gonna know.
3. Grate up vegetables like carrots, zucchini, or onions and mix them in. Ahhh yes, sneaky, I know. Veggies in meatballs!

The Ingredients, Ready To Get Mashed Up

The Ingredients, Ready To Get Mashed Up


4. Use a whole-grain spaghetti to get some extra fiber vs. a refined pasta. I like Barilla’s blue box brand.
Barilla Whole Grain Pasta

Barilla Whole Grain Pasta


Mash together the ground turkey, egg whites, bread crumbs, and veggies. Sprinkle in a little bit of Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. I use a pound of ground turkey, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, 2 egg whites and a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. The veggies I just do by eye-ball – whatever I’ve got on hand. The meatballs end up being about 90 calories each if you make 12, 70 calories you make 16.

Make the meatballs and stick them under the broiler for 10 minutes. Then add them to the sauce (which did I mention, was simmering on the stove top? Hope you read the whole post before trying.) Let them bask in the tomato hot tub for another 10 minutes or so.

Meatballs Soaking It Up

Meatballs Soaking It Up


Plop on top off your noodles, add some parmesan cheese, a lovely green salad and voila. Healthy Italian does exist.
Final Product!

Final Product!


Final stats: 1.5 oz whole wheat spaghetti (150 cals), 2 big meatballs (180 cals), 1/2 cup Classico Fire Roasted Tomato & Garlic sauce* (50 cals), 1 Tbsp of parm cheese (20 cals) = a mere 400 cals for spaghetti & meatballs. Take that, Mac Grill!

*This is the lowest sodium sauce I’ve found and it’s pretty tasty too.

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2 Responses to “Spaghetti and Meat(and carrots and zucchini)balls”

  1. Anne Allred Says:

    Easter is next Sunday. Do you have a low calorie dessert recipe—suitable for a family gathering????
    Thanks, Anne

  2. megcline Says:

    My usual healthy dessert pick for a group is angel food cake with lots of strawberries and cool whip. I’ll look through my recipe archives and see if I have any other more creative ideas! I’ll let you know what I come up with.


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