Recipes that celebrate our farmers markets: Stealth Spaghetti Squash

by | Aug 11, 2022

In celebration of National Farmers Market Week we’ve worked with NCDA&CS Marketing Division’s dietician, Freda Butner, to bring you healthy and delicious seasonal recipes that use plenty of ingredients bountiful at farmers markets across the state.  Check out her blog below for a a delicious way to make a meal out of spaghetti squash. 

Spaghetti squash fits perfectly into a between-seasons option. This cucurbit shares similar characteristics to its cousins –melons, cucumbers, and summer squash. It has thinner skin than pumpkins, and the best reason to purchase them often is that you don’t even have to peel them!

It gets its name from the crisp-tender white strands of flesh that look like spaghetti noodles. The flavor is mild, making it perfect for incorporating into almost any dish. Make it incognito – this high fiber, low-calorie filler added to soups, quiches, and other casserole-type dishes cannot be easily detected! Top a scoop with butter, bacon bits, cheese, or sour cream for a baked potato substitute or season and use as a side dish. If you are uncertain that these noodle-like strands will not be appealing, be stealthy by using half regular noodles and half squash or a similar ratio to gain acceptance gradually.

This (always) large squash is economical and easy to prepare. It is naturally gluten-free and fits into a Keto, Whole 30, and other calorie-conscious eating patterns. Mushrooms in this recipe add even more nutrients and fiber. They are exceptionally high in potassium and zinc — an essential trace element. The finely chopped method indeed underscores stealth health!
Purchase fruit with a hard rind, free of bruises and heavy for its size. At maturity, spaghetti squash is an ivory-yellow color and weighs around 2-3 pounds. Remove the stem for storage in a cool place for up to one month before cooking.

Spaghetti Squash with Ground Turkey and Mushroom Meatballs


  • 3 medium spaghetti squash
  • ½ teaspoon salt
    For the meatballs:
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms


1. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, being careful not to dig into the squash itself. Prick the skin all over like you would a baking potato.
2. Place the halves face down in 1/4 cup water in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 7-10 minutes, or bake at 350 °F for 30-40 minutes until tender.
3. After cooling, pull the ribbon-like strands from each side with a fork.
For the meatballs:
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and buttermilk. Let this sit for 5 minutes until soft.
3. In a food processor, finely chop mushrooms. Add the turkey, parmesan, egg, parsley, mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the mixing bowl with the breadcrumb mixture. Mix with your hands until the ingredients are combined, being careful not to overmix.
4. Use a tablespoon to portion the meatballs and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet—Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked to 160 degrees.
5. Remove from the oven and plate the spaghetti with the meatballs on top in an attractive large serving bowl or plate.
6. Top it off with your favorite Marinara or pasta sauce; garnish with fresh basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional).

Adapted from Lynn Wells and Our State Magazine