Welcome to our latest culinary creation, the Trader Joe's Chicken Meatballs Recipe: Low Carb Spaghetti Bake. We're excited to share a quick meal that's not only delicious but aligns perfectly with a clean-eating lifestyle. Imagine tender, flavorful chicken meatballs, combined with the wholesome goodness of spaghetti squash and a medley of cheeses, all baked into a comforting, one-pan casserole. This easy dinner, ready in just 30 minutes, is a game-changer for busy weeknights and a great way to enjoy a low-carb version of your favorite spaghetti or lasagna dishes.
What makes this recipe a standout is its simplicity and the quality of Trader Joe's ingredients. The star, TJ's chicken meatballs, boasts a minimally processed ingredient list.
With ground chicken, sea salt, herbs like oregano and basil, and natural flavorings such as vinegar powder and garlic, these meatballs are a healthy meal choice and arguably my favorite Trader Joe's product.
This easy meal is proof that good stuff doesn't need to be complicated. Our spaghetti bake, with its perfect balance of cherry tomatoes, cheese, and meatballs, packs much flavor and will leave you coming back for more.
Shopping at Trader Joe's has become an art form for us. Over time, we've mastered selecting the healthiest foods that make family dinners simple and enjoyable.
For this recipe, we've gathered all the necessary ingredients, including spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, fresh basil, parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella, right from our favorite grocery store. This dish is a testament to how Trader Joe's products can transform into an easy weeknight dinner, full of taste and nutrition.
Inspiration for this dish came from various ways we've used TJ's chicken meatballs in the past, as well as our other Italian-inspired favorites like Keto Turkey Broccoli Italian Bake and the Spinach and Chicken Sausage Skillet.
We love to share our favorite recipes and personal creations, including this fabulous spaghetti bake. This meal especially showcases how effortless it is to prepare an easy lunch or weeknight meal that the whole family will love.
Before we dive into the recipe, I always encourage my clients and readers to take a moment to set healthy intentions. By doing so, we enhance the experience of cooking and eating, aligning it with our goals for wellness and mindful living.
This approach may be a new way to think about meal preparation, turning each recipe into an opportunity for nourishment and care. And, if you're keen to explore more about eating clean, adopting an unprocessed diet, or delving into clean keto, don't miss our articles on these topics. They're a great resource for anyone looking to embark on a journey towards healthier living.
As we begin, remember to check out our free guide on setting intentions, a helpful tool to enrich your cooking experience. Now, let's get started on this delicious journey with our Trader Joe's Chicken Meatball Spaghetti Bake – your next time in the kitchen is sure to be a delightful adventure!
Spaghetti Squash: The base of our bake, spaghetti squash is a nutritious, low-carb alternative to pasta. For best results, cook it in an Instant Pot for 7 minutes at high pressure, then let it cool and scoop out the strands. Chop these strands into small pieces to ensure a consistent texture throughout the bake. Pre-cooked spaghetti squash strands are also available in the freezer section of some grocery stores, offering a convenient option.
Marinara Sauce: The heart of any great Italian dish, a good marinara sauce is essential. Choose an organic variety from Trader Joe's, ensuring it's made with clean, simple ingredients and free from artificial preservatives.
Fresh Basil: Fresh basil adds a burst of herbal freshness and flavor. Select organic basil to complement our clean eating focus, enhancing the dish's flavor with its aromatic leaves.
Italian Seasoning: A mix of classic Italian herbs, this seasoning is crucial for adding depth to the dish. Look for a blend that sticks to whole foods ingredients, steering clear of any additives or unnecessary fillers.
Organic Cherry Tomatoes: These little bursts of juicy flavor not only add a pop of color but also contribute to the overall freshness of the dish. Opt for organic cherry tomatoes to ensure they're grown without synthetic pesticides.
Ricotta Cheese: Adding a creamy richness, ricotta is a must for this bake. It's important to choose a high-quality ricotta with a straightforward ingredient list.
Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan brings a nutty and salty dimension. Grate your own from a block of high-quality, organic parmesan for the best flavor and texture.
Shredded Mozzarella: A key player for that melty, gooey goodness, organic shredded mozzarella is a cleaner choice. Trader Joe's offers excellent organic cheese options that fit perfectly in this recipe.
TJ's Chicken Meatballs: The highlight of our dish, these chicken meatballs are minimal in processing yet rich in flavor. They exemplify the balance of simplicity and quality we aim for in our ingredients.
Remember, while Trader Joe's is a treasure trove of clean ingredients, always check labels to ensure you're choosing products that align with your clean eating principles. Each ingredient in this recipe has been selected for its quality and contribution to creating a wholesome, delicious meal that the whole family will enjoy.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Layer Squash: Begin by placing half of the snipped spaghetti squash strands in a casserole dish.
2. Add Sauce and Herbs: Pour half of the marinara sauce over the squash, followed by half of the basil and all of the Italian seasoning.
3. Cheese Layer: Sprinkle half of each cheese type (parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella- in that order) over the herbs and sauce.
4. Meatballs and Tomatoes: Arrange the meatballs and cherry tomatoes on top, gently pressing them into the layer of cheese and sauce.
5. Second Layering: Add another layer of squash. Cover this with the remaining sauce, cheese, and basil. (If there is more squash that will fit in the dish, do not force it all in the dish, only place an even layer and reserve the rest for another recipe.
6. Bake and Serve: Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, or until the cheese turns golden brown. Once done, garnish with fresh basil strands, season with sea salt and black pepper, and it's ready to serve. Enjoy your savory and wholesome bake!
Hint: Do not overfill the dish. leave a half inch of room from the brim for the dish to bubble, in order to avoid overflowing in the oven.
Substitutions and Variations
This chicken meatball spaghetti Bake is versatile, allowing for various substitutions and variations to suit your taste and dietary needs. Here are some suggestions:
- Spice It Up: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, adding red pepper flakes or diced bell peppers to the sauce or sprinkling on top before baking can give the dish a spicy kick.
- Homemade Marinara Sauce: Consider making your own marinara sauce for a personal touch. A simple blend of tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and a tiny bit of red onion can elevate the flavor.
- Vegetarian Option: Swap out the chicken meatballs for meatless meatballs. This is a great option for those following a vegetarian diet while still enjoying the essence of the dish.
- Fresh Mozzarella: For an extra gooey cheese layer, use fresh mozzarella on the top layer. It melts beautifully and adds a luxurious texture.
- Browned Cheese Finish: If you love a more browned, crispy cheese top, turn on the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes of baking. Keep a close eye to avoid burning.
- Alternative to Spaghetti Squash: Not a fan of spaghetti squash? Try spiralized zucchini, cauliflower rice, ancient grain penne pasta, or roasted cauliflower as a base. Each offers a unique texture and flavor profile.
- Different Meatball Textures: For a different texture in the meatballs, brown them in a large skillet with oil or in the air fryer before adding them to the dish. This step can add a delightful crunch and depth of flavor. If using the air fryer, simply add a light layer of avocado oil before adding it to the air fryer basket.
Making Your Own Meatballs
Making your own meatballs is easier than you might think. Combine ground chicken or ground turkey with almond flour, a blend of spices like vinegar powder, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder rosemary, black pepper, and parsley flakes.
Use a cookie scoop for even-sized meatballs, and cook them covered in a skillet over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or bake on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 165F which is the safe mark for poultry using a meat thermometer.
Other Ideas for Trader Joe's Meatballs
Trader Joe's Chicken Meatballs are incredibly versatile, making them a game changer for easy weeknight dinners. Here are some creative and healthy meal ideas to make the most out of these delicious meatballs:
- Sweet Chili Meatball Skewers: Thread meatballs onto skewers, brush them with sweet chili sauce, and bake or grill. Serve with jasmine rice and side salad for a complete meal.
- Slow Cooker Meatball Stew: Place the meatballs in a slow cooker with a mix of your favorite vegetables, broth, and herbs. Let it cook slowly for a flavorful stew that's both comforting and healthy.
- Buffalo Meatball Bites: Toss the meatballs in buffalo sauce for a spicy twist. Serve them with a side of celery sticks and an organic blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce.
- Lemon Dill Meatball Pasta: Incorporate the meatballs into a light pasta dish with a lemon-dill sauce. This refreshing combination is perfect for a summer evening meal.
- Meatball Salad Bowl: Slice the meatballs and add them to a salad bowl filled with greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and an organic vinaigrette dressing. It's a healthy, satisfying option that's quick to prepare.
These ideas showcase the versatility of meatballs, transforming them into different dishes that cater to various tastes and dietary preferences. Stay tuned for more chicken meatball recipes in the future, as we love experimenting with these tasty, easy-to-use ingredients. Whether you're looking for a quick appetizer or a wholesome main course, these meatballs can be the star of many delightful and healthy meals.
Casserole Dish: Essential for baking the spaghetti bake. Choose one that's oven-safe and large enough to hold all the layers.STAUB Ceramics Rectangular ...Shop on Amazon
Instant Pot (optional): If you're cooking spaghetti squash from scratch, an Instant Pot can speed up the process significantly.Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Elec...Shop on Amazon
Cutting Board and Chef's Knife: Needed for prepping ingredients like chopping basil, slicing cherry tomatoes, and cutting spaghetti squash strands.WÜSTHOF Classic 8" Chef's ...Shop on Amazon ROYAL CRAFT WOOD Cutting Bo...Shop on Amazon
Spoon or Spatula: Useful for layering the ingredients evenly and spreading sauce and cheese.Folkulture Wooden Spoons fo...Shop on Amazon
Measuring Cups and Spoons: To measure out sauce, seasoning, and cheese quantities accurately.TILUCK Stainless Steel Meas...Shop on Amazon
This set of kitchen tools will help you prepare the Keto Spaghetti Bake efficiently, ensuring a smooth cooking experience.
Proper storage is key to enjoying your Trader Joe's Chicken Meatballs Keto Spaghetti Bake over a few days. Here are some tips to ensure your leftovers stay fresh and delicious:
- Refrigerating Leftovers: Allow the bake to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. This timeframe ensures the flavors remain intact while keeping the dish safe to eat.
- Freezing for Later Use: If you have a larger batch or want to save some for later, this dish freezes well. Place portions in freezer-safe containers or wrap them tightly in freezer-safe wrap. Remember to label with the date, so you know when it was stored.
- Reheating: When you're ready to enjoy your bake again, reheat it in the oven or microwave. If using the oven, cover the dish with foil to prevent the top from drying out or burning. For the microwave, reheat in short intervals, stirring occasionally to ensure even warming.
By following these storage tips, you can extend the life of your Keto Spaghetti Bake, making it a convenient option for quick, healthy meals on busy days.
For a perfectly balanced Keto Spaghetti Bake, focus on even layering of ingredients and generous cheese distribution. This ensures every bite is packed with flavor and maintains the right texture throughout the dish.
Trader Joe's meatballs can be heated using the oven, skillet, or air fryer. In the oven, bake them at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes. When using a skillet, cook them over medium heat with a bit of oil until they're evenly browned and heated through. In an air fryer, place them in the basket and cook at 400°F for 10-15 minutes, shaking halfway through.
Yes, Trader Joe's meatballs are pre-cooked. This makes them convenient for quick meals as they just need to be reheated before serving.
Chicken meatballs are typically made of ground chicken, and may include ingredients like breadcrumbs, eggs, herbs, and spices for flavor and binding. The specific ingredients can vary depending on the recipe or brand.
There are approximately 140 calories in 4 Trader Joe's chicken meatballs. This makes them a relatively low-calorie option for adding protein to meals.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
This spaghetti meatball bake is perfectly paired with a steamed green vegetable like green beans, broccoli, or a simple side salad.
More Low-Carb Tips and Recipes:
Trader Joe's Chicken Meatballs Keto Spaghetti Bake
- 1 small spaghetti squash cooked, scooped, and cut into smaller strands
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 15 oz ricotta one container
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 2 TB basil thinly slices, plus more for garnish
- 1 TB Italian seasoning
- 1 package Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes
- Layer half of the cooked spaghetti squash strands in a casserole dish.
- Top with half of the marinara sauce, half of the basil, and all the Italian seasoning.
- Add half of each cheese (Parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella).
- Place the meatballs and cherry tomatoes evenly across, pressing them gently into the cheese and sauce.
- If needed, add another conservative layer of squash, followed by the remaining sauce, cheese, and basil.
- Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Garnish with basil to serve.
When preparing and storing the Trader Joe's Chicken Meatballs Keto Spaghetti Bake, it's important to follow basic food safety guidelines:
- Avoid Cross-Contamination: Always use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked ingredients.
- Proper Cooking Temperature: Ensure the bake is cooked thoroughly, with the cheese melted and meatballs heated through.
- Prompt Storage: Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
By adhering to these simple food safety practices, you can enjoy your meal with peace of mind, knowing it’s been prepared, served, and stored safely.
I hope you enjoy this Trader Joe's Chicken Meatballs Spaghetti Bake as much as we do! It's one of those easy recipes that perfectly embodies the simplicity and deliciousness of Trader Joe's products.
I'd love to hear your experiences with this recipe. Feel free to share your thoughts, variations, or even your own favorite Trader Joe's recipes in the comments below. It's always wonderful to learn from each other's culinary adventures.
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Stay healthy and happy cooking,