Now, in regard to taste, I would say that this squash does have a slight sweetness to it, but is very subtle in flavor- doesn't have as much density or "nuttiness" as the butternut, or other squashes. Instead of just doing a traditional "spaghetti w/ meat sauce" dish, I opted to go a bit more complex with the flavors, and there is no sauce with this dish! I chose not to do one, in order to keep it more simple, and enjoy the flavors as they are without masking them. You've got the beautiful and delicate squash "noodles" combined with the "bite" of the sauteed kale and garlic, the crunch and smokiness of the bacon, and the juicy and tender turkey meatballs that are mixed with apple, onion, and cheddar cheese. A wonderful Fall dish that is healthy, colorful, and an incredible mix of different flavors and textures!
Yield: 6 servings
Turkey Meatballs w/ Apple & Cheddar:
1 1/4- 1 1/2# of ground turkey (or chicken)
1/2 cup of shredded apple
1/4- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (can use colby jack, etc.)
1/8- 1/4 onion (minced)
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs **For Gluten free- sub w/ ground oats, chia seeds, rice cracker crumbs, etc.
couple dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
some salt & pepper
2 t. parsley (dried or fresh)
**4 T. oil or butter
1) Before starting anything, the Spaghetti Squash takes about 1 solid hour in the oven at 350F, so get this going first, (or can be done ahead of time!) Squash can be hard to cut open, (I had my own personal battle trying to cut mine!) so please be VERY CAREFUL!! Split the squash open lengthwise, hollow out the seeds, and place flat-side down on a foil lined sheet tray. Bake at 350F for an hour, or until tender. Remove, and allow to cool at least 10-15min. before running your fork through it to pull up the "noodles."
***Note: I have heard of people "microwaving" this squash to cook. I personally have never done this, but you are welcome to try if you are shorter on time! Just be sure to poke it a bit to make sure it doesn't blow up on you! Whatever you do, DON'T CUT IT UP TO STEAM OR BOIL!!! (This would ruin the stringy "noodles" that make this dish what it is!)
2) Now onto the meatballs! In a bowl, simply combine all of the above ingredients: ground turkey, egg, apple, cheese, breadcrumbs, onion, etc. and mix to combine everything well. (The addition of the apple also aids in keeping the ground turkey very moist- and not dry!) If you think the meat mixture is too "wet", simply add a bit more bread crumbs to bind- you just want to be careful not to make it too "dry"- mixture should still be on the moist side!
3) In a Saute pan, heat the oil or butter on medium heat, and simply begin forming the meatballs- placing them in the pan immediately to cook. Using a spoon, turn your meatballs every 2-3min. When brown on all sides, turn heat down to low, and cover. (You could also bake these as well @ 350F in a roasting pan, or sheet tray lined with foil. Make sure to spread some oil or butter on the bottom so that the meatballs won't stick! Bake for about 1/2 hour, and check for doneness. Should temp. at 165F.)
1 Spaghetti Squash (Baked)
About 4T. oil & 2T. butter
2 small cloves of pressed or minced garlic (about 1-2 t.)
4-5 cups (or good handfuls) of chopped fresh kale (rinsed/ dried) **You can find bags of chopped and cleaned kale in your produce section! **Can also sub. with spinach or arugula as well.
***optional: some freshly squeezed lemon
Salt & pepper
4 slices of cooked bacon (chopped or crumbled)
handful of fresh parsley (chopped) or you can add 2t. of dried parsley
garnish: some grated Parmesan, White Cheddar, etc.
**optional: for some additional spice or heat, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes
1) To finish this dish, place the oil and butter on medium heat in a saute pan. Add the garlic and kale, and season liberally with salt & pepper! (If you wish, you can squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the kale as well.)
Stir together- kale cooks quickly! As soon as the kale "shrinks" down, and is nice and withered, (but yet still looks vibrant green), turn down, and add the "noodles". Season again with more salt & pepper, chopped parsley, and add a bit more oil and or butter- if necessary. Add in the cooked bacon and stir together.
2) When ready to serve, simply place some of the "noodles" on the plate, top with some turkey meatballs, and garnish with a "hit" of shredded cheese. Serve hot, and enjoy!!