Bear with me. I know this sounds weird and gross and completely unappealing, but it is so friggin tasty. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a Girl's Night Out sponsored by the local radio station, where Giant Taste, Skinny Waist debuted its new line of healthy baking mixes. We were set up out in the food tent and it was crazy fun! So many people! Lots of food and tons of free samples. Snap Daddy's was there sampling their chocolate meatballs. I had to try one just out of morbid curiosity.
Then I tried another. And another. I wanted to buy some but they wouldn't let me - kept insisting I could have as many free ones as I wanted. I was fairly sure they put crack in them (but they insisted this was a narcotic-free food). Toward the end of the night the girl just gave me a Dixie cup full because I kept going back. Who would have known a chocolate meatball would end up being a Food-Without-Breaks? It was crazy good. Then the guy gave me his recipe: one part of their barbecue sauce to one part Nutella, slathered over Collosimo's meatballs.
Oops. Well, that explains the hangover I had the next day.
I knew I wanted to make something similar to this, but obviously I wanted to skip the Nutella and have something that was Whole30 compliant 'cause that's how I roll. As with everything here at GTSW, we want to be able to indulge without the guilt.
Swap noodles for spaghetti squash - check. Piece of cake. I don't even like pasta. I already have a pretty darned good meatball recipe so all I was missing was the sauce. The chocolate meatball sauce was not overly chocolately or overly sweet - in fact, if you didn't know it had chocolate in it you never would have tasted it. The sauce had a little bit of kick to it but not much.
Hmm. Clothes Make The Girl has a chocolate chili recipe on their website and in their book, Well Fed. I've tried it, and while it's tasty, it wasn't really what I was looking for. So I did what I do, threw a bunch of stuff in a pot, and voila - chocolate meatball sauce.
The time to make this recipe is fairly intense if you make the spaghetti squash and meatballs in the same night (unless you have one of those cool double ovens that I covet and can bake them at the same time). You can cut down on this time by using zucchini noodles in place of the spaghetti squash. If you already have some spaghetti squash or meatballs prepared, that will cut down on cooking time as well. Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients - most of them are spices for the sauce. This recipe will make quite a bit. If you're just cooking for a couple of people, feel free to cut it in half.
1 batch meatballs, about 2 dozen (click here to use mine)
1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash
Olive oil (for drizzling)
Sea salt & ground black pepper
For the sauce:
2 cans tomato sauce, 15oz each
1/4 cup stock (beef or chicken)
1 T. Dijon mustard (check your labels for Whole30)
1 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. cocoa powder
2-3 T. chili powder (adjust according to spice preference)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dried chipotle chili peppers (sub red pepper flakes or omit)
2 T. honey (omit for Whole30)
1 T. coconut aminos
2 T. nut butter of choice (I used cashew butter)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. For the squash, poke holes all around it and microwave for 5 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Slice off the ends, cut in half and remove the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Put squash, cut size up, in a baking dish, and add water to the dish to prevent it from burning. Bake about 40 minutes or until fork tender.
While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare meatballs. When spaghetti squash is done cooking, remove from oven and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Bake meatballs according to recipe directions.
While meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat and whisk to combine. As the sauce heats the coconut oil and nut butter will start to melt and dissolve into the sauce. Continue simmering, whisking occasionally, until meatballs are cooked.
Shred spaghetti squash with a fork. Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash and top with sauce.
Variation: Substitute Zoodles for the spaghetti squash. Use a Spiralizer or cheese grater to shred zucchini. Either serve raw, or saute for a few minutes in ghee or coconut oil. If sauteing, put cooked Zoodles in a strainer over a bowl for a few minutes to let some of the moisture release.