While we all want to make healthy food choices, it can be tough and time consuming to identify the best ingredients. Fortunately, making one or two changes can have a big impact on the nutritional value of a dish.
“Swapping an ingredient or two in a favourite homemade meal is one of the easiest ways to meet your family’s nutritional goals,” explains Lauren Baker, a registered dietitian at Loblaws. “If your store has the Guiding Stars nutritional rating system, identifying the most nutritious ingredients is as easy as looking at the shelf tags and picking the item that has the most stars.”
In this spaghetti and meatball dish, pasta is swapped out for spaghetti squash. If you’ve never cooked with spaghetti squash, you’ll be amazed at how the cooked flesh pulls apart into spaghetti-like strands.
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
• 1 large spaghetti squash
• 32 lean meatballs
• 1/4 cup (50 mL) grated parmesan cheese
• 2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 4 cups (375 g) button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
• 1 bag (8 oz/227 g) fresh spinach, trimmed and chopped
• 1 jar (700 mL) tomato and basil pasta sauce
• 1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper flakes (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Cut squash in half. Remove seeds. Place cut side down on baking sheet; bake in centre of oven for 30 minutes. Arrange meatballs in single layer on same baking sheet; bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until meatballs are heated through and squash is tender. Using fork, scrape squash strands into a bowl; stir in parmesan cheese. Transfer to serving dish; keep warm. Cover meatballs to hold warmth.
3. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, mushrooms, and hot pepper flakes (if using) for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are golden. Add spinach in two batches; cook for about 2 minutes or until slightly wilted. Stir in pasta sauce and hot meatballs; reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Spoon over squash.