Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
with spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ / roasted balsamic broccoli
This isn't a classic Chicken Parm, but it has all the same layers of flavor and texture. It's served over a healthier base of spaghetti squash instead of regular spaghetti.
- Broccoli florets - 1 lb , chopped
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Vinegar, balsamic - 2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Shallots - 2 shallots , diced
- Parsley - 1 Tbsp , chopped
- Chicken, ground - 1 lb
- Eggs - 1
- Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs - 1/4 cup
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp
- Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
- Tomato paste - 2 Tbsp
- Oregano, dried - 1 tsp
- Basil, dried - 1 tsp
- Tomatoes, crushed (15 oz / 397 g) - 2 cans
- Cheese, fresh mozzarella - 5 oz , thinly sliced or shredded
- Cheese, parmesan - for serving
- Squash, spaghetti - 3 lbs (weighed before being roasted and peeled)
Shallots / Parsley - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make meatballs - Combine parsley, chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Gently mix together with a spoon or your hands. Form into 1” / 2.5 cm balls. (If the mixture sticks to your hands, rub them with a small amount of oil or water before forming the meatballs.) (Can be done 1 day ahead)
Spaghetti squash - Pierce spaghetti squash in several places with a knife. Place in an oven-safe dish and cook in the microwave on high for 6 minutes. (Pre-cooking the squash will shorten the roasting time.)
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Heat oven to 425F / 218C degrees. Move one oven rack to the lower third and one to the upper third of the oven.
Set out two sheet pans and brush them lightly with some oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Slice stem off the spaghetti squash and slice in half, base to stem. Scoop out and discard seeds. (Watch this video for tips.) Brush the inside of the squash with some oil and season with some salt and pepper. Place squash, cut-side up on one sheet pan. Transfer to the lower rack of the oven and roast until the squash is tender, ~35 minutes.
When squash has been roasting for a few minutes, on a second sheet pan, toss the broccoli with cooking oil, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, and some salt. Roast, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until tender, ~25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large oven-safe skillet or saute pan (use one with a lid) over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then shallots. Saute for 1 minute to start cooking. Add in tomato paste, oregano, and basil and saute until fragrant, ~1 minute more. Pour crushed tomatoes over top and bring to a simmer, whisking everything together to combine.
Reduce the heat under the sauce so it is at a low simmer. Gently stir in the meatballs so they are coated in sauce.
By this point the spaghetti squash should be done cooking. Remove it from the oven.
Top the meatballs with mozzarella cheese (you can just tear it into pieces and scatter it out over the meatballs). Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly and the meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Use a fork to loosen the strands from the rind of the spaghetti squash and toss them with some olive oil and some salt. Transfer the squash strands to a serving platter or individual bowls.
Top the spaghetti squash with meatballs and some parmesan cheese if you’d like. Serve with broccoli on the side. Enjoy!