This is good old fashioned Spaghetti and Meatballs…except we’re keeping it on the healthier side. Ground chicken has a lot of versatility and to ‘healthy up’ a dish, can typically be used in place of beef. These meatballs are made with chicken and are VERY tasty!
Meatballs are one of my favorite foods in the entire world. Leave a tray of meatballs out in front of me and chances are there won’t be much left for others to enjoy. Sorry…I’m Italian…what can I say.
To keep this spaghetti and meatballs recipe on the healthier side, we fry some of our meatballs, but we bake the majority of them (see my YouTube video below to see how to do both) keeping them healthier without sacrificing taste.
I like making smaller meatballs because they cook quicker! There’s not a day that goes by in my house where someone isn’t getting “hangry” and a quick meal is just the thing to keep everyone happy after a hard day of work.
3 TIPS TO MAKING A GREAT MEATBALL!
- Try and make your meatballs all the same size - cooking times will vary based on the size of the meatball, so try and keep them all the same size.
- Don’t over-mix the meat - over-mixing the meat can lead to the meat getting a bit hard. Make sure to work the mixture until everything is mixed in and that’s it.
- Turn the meatballs over frequently when frying - if you’re frying your meatballs, be sure to constantly move them around the pan. Leaving them in one place for too long of a time can burn one side or worse, make them stick. That’s a no-no for meatball making.
Healthier Spaghetti and Meatballs
Make the sauce
- Heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add your crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper (and also the crushed red pepper if you're using). Bring to a boil and once boiling, drop the heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
Boil the pasta water
- While the sauce cooks, heat 4 quarts of water in a large pasta pot and add 1 ½ tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil.
Make the meatballs
- In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumb, garlic, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Using clean hands, mix everything all together until thoroughly combined. You want the mixture to be thick enough so it sticks when rolling the meatballs, but do not overmix and add more breadcrumb little by little as needed to get the right consistency.
- Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs. Cook each side of the meatball for about 1-2 minutes and then turn. Continue turning the meatballs to help prevent them from burning.
- When the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees, take them out of the fry pan and add them to the sauce.
Cook the spaghetti
- Once the water boils, add your spaghetti. Mix constantly for the first two minutes of cooking to prevent sticking. Following the directions on the box, cook until al dente.
- Serve the sauce and meatballs on top of the pasta!