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This zucchini spaghetti recipe is a great way to enjoy a classic Italian dish without all the carbs of traditional pasta. You can make this dish vegetarian with just zucchini noodles and sugar-free spaghetti sauce, but I also added low carb meatballs for a complete meal.
Not only is this dish naturally low carb, but it’s also healthier than regular spaghetti and meatballs. Plus, it tastes amazing — almost like you’re eating the real thing!
Like my spaghetti squash casserole, creamy zucchini Alfredo, meaty and cheesy spaghetti squash lasagna, and classic zucchini lasagna, I’m a fan of anything that turns veggies into comfort food. Using zucchini noodles for spaghetti is just one more way to make a classic Italian favorite healthier for you and your family!
Why You’ll Love This Zucchini Spaghetti Recipe
- Juicy, tender meatballs
- Sweet, flavorful marinara sauce
- Perfect al dente zucchini noodles
- Incredibly versatile
- Tastes a lot like traditional spaghetti and meatballs
- Perfect easy low carb dinner option – naturally keto and gluten-free!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for zucchini spaghetti, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
Zucchini noodles replace the pasta in zucchini spaghetti! I use a standalone spiralizer to get the perfect noodles. However, you can use a handheld spiralizer, vegetable peeler, a mandoline and knife, a stand mixer with a spiralizer attachment, or even a julienne peeler in a pinch.
If want more detail on how to make the zucchini noodles, or want to learn more about the methods for cooking zucchini noodle spaghetti, check out my guide for how to make zucchini noodles here.
Low Carb Meatballs:
You can use any meatballs you like in this dish, but I used a modified version of my keto meatball recipe…
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – I use store-bought for convenience, but you could use fresh parmesan cheese as well. For even better meatballs, you can swap some of the grated parmesan with almond flour, but I omitted it here to keep this recipe under 10 ingredients.
- Italian Seasoning – I make my own homemade Italian seasoning (takes 5 minutes!), but you can also use a store-bought seasoning.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Heavy Cream – Keeps the meatballs moist! You can also use milk or a milk substitute if it fits your lifestyle, but they have more flavor using cream.
- Onion – Grate with a box grater. I used a white onion, but any variety works.
- Egg – Binds to the meat, cheese and herbs to keep meatballs from falling apart. A flax egg or other egg substitute will also work here.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic adds the best flavor, but you could also use 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic for convenience if you prefer.
- Fresh Parsley – I highly recommend using fresh herbs for the best flavor, but if needed, you can substitute 2 teaspoons dried parsley in place of the 2 tablespoons fresh. You could also use other herbs, like fresh basil.
- Ground Beef – I used 85% lean beef for spaghetti zucchini, but you can use any variety you prefer. You could also easily substitute ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, or Italian sausage.
Sauce and cheese bring the dish together…
- Marinara Sauce – I used my homemade marinara sauce using simple ingredients like olive oil, crushed tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and spices… but store-bought would work as well. Watch for added sugar.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – To taste.
How To Make Zucchini Spaghetti
This section shows how to make zucchini spaghetti noodles and meatballs, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Spiralize the zucchini. Make zucchini noodles like this (you can choose the stovetop or oven method).
- Mix up the meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together grated parmesan, Italian seasoning, sea salt, black pepper, heavy cream, grated onion, egg, minced garlic, and fresh parsley. Add in ground beef and mix together until just combined.
TIP: Add ground beef last.
Mix the other ingredients first, then add the beef and mix until just combined. This avoids overmixing, so the meatballs will be tender and not too dense.
- Bake the meatballs. Use cookie scoop to form the mixture into meatballs and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven until just barely done. Remove and wipe any excess liquid from the pan and edges of the meatballs. Set the oven to broil and place the meatballs on the top rack under the broiler. Cook until golden.
- Prepare the marinara sauce. Make homemade sugar-free marinara sauce, or simply heat store-bought sauce on the stove or in the microwave.
- Combine noodles and sauce. Place spiralized zucchini spaghetti in a large bowl. Toss with some of the marinara sauce.
- Assemble. Place zoodles on plates, add meatballs, top with more spaghetti sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan.
- Store: Cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Store in fridge for up to 3 days.
- Meal prep: Make sauce and meatballs ahead of time for an easy weeknight meal. You can also spiralize zucchini noodles in advance, then refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Reheat: To reheat zoodles and meatballs, put them in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir everything together, adding a little bit of butter or olive oil if desired. Cover the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes until spaghetti is warm and meatballs are heated through.
- Freeze: You can freeze this dish, but it’s best to freeze the zoodles, sauce, and meatballs separately. The texture of the zucchini spaghetti will change after thawing, but it still turns out pretty good.
What To Serve With Zucchini Spaghetti
Zucchini spaghetti makes a complete meal all on its own, but if you want to add a side dish, try these reader favorites:
- Low Carb Bread – My white keto bread is the most popular (tastes amazing toasted and slathered with compound butter!), but you can also make almond flour bread, buttery almond flour biscuits, or low carb breadsticks from the Easy Keto Cookbook.
- Salads – Serve up a simple green salad with Caesar dressing, classic ranch dressing, or Italian dressing. This dish also goes well with Italian salad recipes, like Caprese salad, fresh artichoke salad, or tangy roasted vegetable salad.
- Vegetables – My favorite veggie side to pair with this recipe is oven roasted eggplant or crisp air fryer eggplant, but tender sauteed spinach or quick air fryer green beans would also taste great.
More Low Carb Zucchini Noodle Recipes
Zucchini recipes can create so many comfort foods! Try some of these ideas next:
- Spiralizer – This is my favorite for making zucchini spaghetti.
- Cookie Scoop – Using a cookie scoop to make meatballs ensures that they come out the same size. Plus, you touch the meat less which helps them come out more tender.
- Sheet Pan – The silicone coating is perfect for cooking zucchini noodles and also for the meatballs, too.
Zucchini Spaghetti Recipe
Zucchini Spaghetti (With Meatballs)
Make the best zucchini spaghetti recipe with meatballs ever! This easy low carb dinner has all the comfort of pasta, minus the carbs.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Make the zucchini noodles like this (you can choose the stovetop method or oven method).
Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients for the meatballs, except the beef. Add the beef and mix until just combined. (Don't over-mix.)
Form the mixture into 1 in (2.5 cm) meatballs and place onto the baking sheet. A small cookie scoop is recommended to avoid overheating the meat with your hands, which makes tougher meatballs.
When the zucchini noodles are done baking, remove from the oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). Let it preheat for a few minutes to the increased temperature.
Bake the meatballs in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just barely done. Use a paper towel to wipe any excess liquid around the sides of the meatballs.
Set the oven to broil and place the meatballs on the top rack under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until golden.
Make sugar-free marinara sauce like this, or just heat store-bought marinara sauce on the stove or in the microwave.
Place the zucchini noodles into a large bowl. Toss with 3/4 cup (96 g) of the marinara sauce.
Place the zucchini spaghetti on plates and add meatballs, about 1 cup zoodles and 4 meatballs per plate. Top the meatballs on each plate with 2 tablespoons (28 g) marinara sauce, using up what was left. Sprinkle or sift grated parmesan on top.
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Serving size: 1 cup zucchini spaghetti + 4 meatballs with sauce
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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