The only thing wrong with this meatball casserole is that I’ve been missing out on eating it all my life.
As we approach Week 4 of our first Autoimmune and Inflammation course with Cait Mizzi, eating in alignment with the AIP protocol has become easier for our members, especially with everyone feeling so incredible! Less bloating, reduced chronic pain, more clarity…all incredible motivation to put compliant foods on our plates! When one of our members posted her dish in our course Facebook group, taken from this beautiful recipe from Squirrel in the Kitchen, I head right to the market for squash!
This is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
It’s comforting, has beautiful textures, depth of flavour, and my version includes gut-healing bone broth and low FODMAP ingredients. This recipe is paleo, dairy free, gluten free, AIP compliant, and low in FODMAPS. Even if none of these things matter to you, you’ll go to heaven eating this comfort dish! Note that most people on a low FODMAP diet don’t do well with garlic, so I’ve omitted it from this dish. It would be beautiful though with a whole crushed clove added at the same time as the green onions.
- 2 spaghetti squash
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 4 slices of good quality bacon, diced
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Sea salt
- 1-2 tablespoons of bacon fat or avocado oil
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- 1 cup or more of homemade beef bone broth
- 1-2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour
- 2 green onions (using green tops only if Low FODMAP)
- 1-2 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon
- 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
- 1-2 cups of chopped fresh greens such as swiss chard or kale
- BONUS ingredient: The crunchy topping in the photo is thinly slices wheels of parsnip fried in bacon fat and roughly chopped in my food processor. Not necessary but mighty delish.
Set your oven to 400 degrees, or 375 in a convection oven which is preferable for this recipe if you have it, since we’re using two oven racks at once. Zero stress though, your squash will cook beautifully either way! Set two oven racks in the centre of the oven. You’ll need one large mixing bowl, a baking dish roughly 9 x 13, and a frying pan.
- Prep your squash. Be mindful, spaghetti squash are difficult to cut in half so take the time to sharpen your nice and use care.
- Scoop out the seeds etc and set aside. If you’re not following an AIP protocol, those seeds – picked clean of squash fibres and tossed in oil and salt – are delicious roasted and added to the top of your casserole or as a snack!
- Set your squash halves on a cookie sheet, open side down, and pop into the oven on the lower rack. Set your timer for about 40 minutes but you’ll want to check along the way to avoid overcooking. Your squash are done as soon as they’re tender and your fork will shred those spaghetti ribbons.
- In the meantime, mix your pork, beef, bacon, maple syrup and salt thoroughly in a large bowl. Set on a parchment lined cookie sheet after forming into 1.5 inch balls and cook until done. You will have a few leftover meatballs – bonus!
- Shred your spaghetti squash with a fork and arrange it in the bottom of your baking dish.
- Use your hands to blend your chopped greens in with your spaghetti squash.
- Nestle your cooked meatballs in the spaghetti squash mixture. Cozy!
- In a small bowl or glass, make a slurry with 1 tablespoon of arrowroot flour and several tablespoons of your bone broth. Whisk until there are no lumps.
- Now, gently sauté your green onions in your oil or bacon fat, just to begin warming them through and allowing the flavours to release. Don’t allow them to brown.
- Add your remaining cup of bone broth to your green onions, keeping the heat on medium low.
- Once your broth is at a low simmer, add your broth and flour slurry.
- Whisk steadily allowing the sauce to thicken, this should only take a minute or so.
- Add coconut milk, whisking to blend.
- Assess your sauce – if you want it to thicken up a bit, repeat with another slurry and a little more broth. The thickness of your sauce will depend on how gelatinous your bone broth is. You can’t get this wrong, just use your own judgement!
- Add your fragrant chopped herbs, and sea salt to taste. Warm through for a minute or two allowing the flavours to come together.
- Distribute the sauce evenly in the baking dish.
- Add your optional fried parsnip topping.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until bubbling and slightly browned on top.
Makes incredible leftovers, but there won’t likely be any left! If you make this dish please tag me on Instagram so I can see your creation! Add your own personality to it, using your favourite herbs, greens, and other meats. Can’t wait to see where you take this great recipe!