Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Vegan Lentil Meatballs


Before I ever knew about spiralizing, I used to make spaghetti squash all the time in place of pasta. You don't need a special gadget to make it, and all you need are a knife to slice the squash in half and oven to bake it in — and maybe a spoon to scoop everything out! 

This play on spaghetti and meatballs is vegan and gluten-free, and I even made a special dairy-free Parmesan cheese to top off your meal!

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups marinara/tomato sauce 
  • Dried parsley (or fresh, if you prefer!0
  • Black pepper

Ingredients for Vegan Meatballs

  • 1 cup cooked lentils (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1/2 small/medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, choppe
  • 3/4 cup white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for Vegan Parmesan Cheese

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place face-down on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until spaghetti squash is soft in the middle and can be easily scooped out. 

2. While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare lentils for the meatballs (you can also used precooked lentils here). Cook according to package. 

3. While lentils are cooking, heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan on medium-low heat. Chop up mushrooms and then add to pan along with onions and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes until mushrooms are soft and onions are translucent.

4. When lentils are ready, add to a medium bowl along with the mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Add the mustard, flaxseed, and spices. Mix together, and then transfer to a blender. Blend together until mixture is smoother and more even, but still has some texture. You don't want to the meatballs to be too blended, so it's okay to have chunks of lentils, mushrooms, or onions in your meatball mix to give it a meatier texture.

5. When spaghetti squash is finished, scoop out the inside of the squash and add to a separate bowl. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the baking sheet with some new aluminum foil and spray with some oil or nonstick spray. Form lentil mixture into 2-inch balls, and place onto the baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes until meatballs begin to get firm. They should be crisp on the outside, but still a little soft on the inside.

6. While meatballs are cooking, prepare the vegan parmesan cheese. Add cashews, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder to a food process. You can also use a blender or a Nutribullet, but if you are using the Nutribullet, be sure to use the flat milling blade. Blend together until a fine meal is achieved. 

7. When meatballs are almost ready, heat up 2 cups of marinara sauce in the medium pan. Add spaghetti squash and mix until evenly coated with the sauce. Sprinkle with a few dashes of dried parsley and pepper. Add meatballs, top with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese, and serve warm.