Recipe File: Zpaghetti & Meatballs

I love a classic spaghetti and meatball night as much as the next parent, but I’m also keen on keeping things new and interesting. I recently tried out a new version of this dish, using zucchini noodles, or “zpaghetti” as it is known in our house, in place of traditional pasta noodles. (They are also known as zoodles.) I was glad to find that the kids enjoyed eating them as much as they loved making them!

A key piece of equipment you’ll need to make your zpaghetti is either a Spiralizer or a hand spiral slicer you can get at your local Target, Fred Meyer or Walmart. I’ve seen alternatives out there for less than $10. (And if you are short on time, New Seasons, Whole Foods and other stores carry “zoodles” in their produce sections.)

In terms of preparation, I recommend making the meatballs first, as they take a little longer to cook. Saving the noodles for last is a good idea, as they not only cook quickly but you’ll also ensure they stay nice and warm before topping them with mini meatballs and sauce. Feel free to add your favorite fresh herbs such as basil or parsley on top.


Mini Meatballs

Serves 4


½ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup breadcrumbs, such as Panko


2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

3 tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 pound of organic ground beef

4 medallions of ovoline (fresh mozzarella cheese), halved and then quartered


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Mix together first seven ingredients, onions through black pepper.
  3. Add in the beef until well incorporated. Shape into 1 – 1½-inch balls.
  4. Make a small indentation in the balls and stuff the mozzarella in the middle. Make sure the cheese is fully covered by the meat. Place meatballs on foil-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Zucchini Noodles

3 medium zucchini (the noodles will reduce quite a bit after cooking)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Store-bought marinara sauce

Handful of fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, coarsely chopped

  1. Spiralize the zucchini into thin noodles.
  2. Heat large pan with the olive oil until hot.
  3. Add zucchini and cook for about 1-2 minutes for al dente texture.
  4. Serve immediately and top with mini meatballs, marinara sauce and fresh herbs.

Judith Rich
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