Summer Squash Meatball Casserole

Anybody else over listening to all this crap about the royal baby? I get it. It’s a big moment. It’s important. But come on. You news stations need to stop. That poor couple. And honestly, I don’t care about the car they took to the hospital, or the door the went in, or what she was wearing to the hospital, or what she was wearing when she left the hospital and how it looked like Princess Diane’s dress. I just don’t care. I wouldn’t even care about those things if it was my best friend. Mostly because new born babies really aren’t that cool to look at. They’re a bit ugly. Anywho. Famous people stuff is weird. I mean, I’m obsessed with the Kardashians, but that’s totally different. It’s not different at all, is it? Sh*t. Moving on.

So I totally keep forgetting to tell you. I won’t be at the CrossFit Games this year. I was planning on going and hanging out in the Again Faster tent, but I have to go to California for some other projects on Monday so my trip would have been much too spread out. Timing just wasn’t right. So sadly, I won’t be able to see all the cool CrossFitting loving people. Gosh darn it. Thankfully, I watch people workout every single day, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I’m sad I missed the rowing for 2 hours, that would have been my favorite.

I just lied.

Have you guys watched the show The Mistresses? I had the house to myself the other night, and I was feeling a bit emotionally unstable, so I ate an extreme amount of chocolate while watching multiple episodes. That show is so addicting. I wish I could say that show is unrealistic because people don’t have affairs like that, but I met some sketchy people while working at a fancy schmancy gym. It was also a gym that had a ‘men’s only’ floor. Sexist. And sketch. This conversation just got way too serious.

On a lighter note, I want this bear dance outfit. That’s the best way to describe it. Oh Miley, I love the tunes you create. But you’re not very good at twerking. You’re too skinny silly pants. I still love you, though. More so, the song is what I love.

Oh P.S.- If you had any issues with my Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins that I posted the other day, I remade them and edited the recipe so they should work perfectly fine! I even posted a picture on my @paleomg instagram of how delicious they looked. Sorry about the issues. Sometimes I just need to remake the recipe once more. And I’m happy to since I get to eat those things.

I want some wine with my muffin.


Summer Squash Meatball Casserole

  • Yield: 4-5 1x


  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small zucchinis, shredded
  • 2 small yellow squash, shredded
  • 1 red onion, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a grater or shredding attachment on a food processor to shred the zucchini, squash and red onion.
  3. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add bacon fat and minced garlic, then add the zucchini, squash and onion.
  4. Let vegetables cook down until soft, then add 1/2 tablespoon cumin and coriander, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and a bit of salt and pepper to the vegetables and mix around to coat.
  5. Then add the diced tomatoes.
  6. Place ground beef in a bowl along with the rest of the spices and some salt and pepper. Form into meatballs. I made 9 meatballs with the pound of meat.
  7. Press each meatball into the vegetable mixture.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.
  9. Add fresh parsley on top.
  10. Eat. Yum.

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


93 thoughts on “Summer Squash Meatball Casserole”

  1. Juli! Ok I have a huge request. Do you have a good birthday cake recipe?! My boyfriend’s birthday is coming up and he wants to eat cake in bed but my ass doesn’t want to eat real cake!! haha. I’m going to put oreos on his, but I want my slice paleomg approved. I tried to make a cake last week but it tasted more like a sweet bread. Got anything for a birthday?? 😀

    1. I made the Simple Blueberry Lemon Birthday Cake for my birthday. It was AMAZING!!! I have made it several times since. You wont be disappointed

  2. Hi (from Australia). When you refer to “squash” … Do you mean pumpkin or the small round vegetable we call squash (zuccini like texture with yellow skin)? Thank you

  3. Hahaha loved the comment about watching two hours of rowing. There is nothing I hate more than a wod with rowing, except possibly watching a wod of just straight rowing.

  4. This post just reminded me that I haven’t made / eaten meatballs in WAY too long. I hit a rut of eating chicken / fish on the regular. I spiced things up with some hot Italian sausage this week. YUM.

    Mistresses is my guilt pleasure. I do the whole girls night thing and watch the bachelorette and then I run home to watch Mistresses. I set it for DVR so I can rewind, start from the beginning and zoom through commercials!!

  5. Hey Juli,

    If you like Mistresses, you should definitely check out Devious Maids on Lifetime on Sunday nights at 9CT. Yes, yes I know. Lifetime, blahhh. But i could mindlessly watch it for hours, nap, wake up to a new show and feel like I never missed a beat cause they are all the same. Anyways, it’s good. btw this recipe looks right up my alley, i just need to suck it up and go buy a cast iron skillet. Damn me, still stuck in my cheap college lifestyle even though I actually have some money now. kbyeee!

  6. I have been craving meatballs and I have two spaghetti squashes at home. This recipe is perfect except for the fact that I don’t own a cast iron pan. Would I get the same effect if I could it all in a regular pan and then transferred to an oven-safe dish and finished cooking it?

  7. Hi Juli,

    I think it would be great if I could be able to “e-mail recipe”! next to the save and print options. If possible, thanks! I can’t wait to try this.

    1. i’ll try to figure something out!! but on the right side of the blog, you can add your email address to get the recipe daily in your inbox

  8. Hey juli,
    Not sure which I enjoy more your recipes or your blog rants. Love your honesty, vulnerability, and talents! Please keep up the amazing work. You are an inspiration to me and I find myself finding peace and acceptance of myself in your own insecurities. You are truley beautiful.
    My question is I have been on a yoyo for awhile and eating paleo since February. It makes me feel so much better inside and out. What is a good snack ( salty crunchy)if I’m trying to cut down on nuts and fruit.?

    1. Have you ever tried Plantain Chips? They are so good. I get them at Trader Joe’s in the snack isle. I love them with guacamole.

  9. OMG can’t wait to try this – AND I can push off grocery shopping one more day ’cause I have all the ingredients at home already BONUS!

    also it seems like your photo’s are getting better! What ever you are doing keep it up!

  10. I pinned this and cannot wait to make this! This is going on the menu plan for next week!!! Thanks for what appears to be a great recipe!!! And, I agree on the royal baby;-)

  11. Juli,

    I just had to write this and let you know….YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! I just got your cookbook in the mail today can’t wait to try the new recipes. All the recipes I have made from your website so far have been holy sh*t delicious, I can’t even pick a favorite. Just saying getting to eat your food for lunch is the highlight of my work day. I love reading your blog as well you crack me up and I can definitely relate to a lot of the things you talk about it makes me wish we were friends on a daily basis. Alright now that I have successfully sounded like a creeper, I’m going to go finish reading your cookbook and pick out which recipe to make; on a side note I really hope you keep making these babies because I will buy them.

  12. OMG I thought I was the only one who has watched Mistresses! I’m still waiting for my damn furniture, so I’ve been watching stuff on Hulu and got into this show. The acting is horrible, but the Australian is nice to look at, and it requires no brain power. HA!

  13. This recipe did not turn out for me at all. There is too much cumin and coriander and it just overwhelms your pallet. The zucchini just turned into mush. A big disappointment.

  14. Juli, I’m totally looking forward to giving this recipe a try! I will likely adjust or omit the amount of cumin cuz I just hate that stuff! Yuck!

    Also, will it still turn out alright if I dice the veggies instead of shred them? I don’t have the shredder attachment… or a cheese grater….


    1. I am allergic to cumin, I always replace it with ground coriander. It still gives it that earthiness without the digustingness of cumin 🙂

  15. I made this for the first time tonight and it was delicious! I left out the onions and garlic to make it low FODMAPs friendly, but it was a yummy and spicy twist on spaghetti and meatballs. My mom and dad enjoyed it too! Thanks!

  16. Hahaha, you totally expressed my feelings about all this royal baby crap. My co-worker seriously didn’t shut up about it a whole lunch break while reading about every detail in a boulevard magazine. It nearly made me gag.

    And thanks for pointing out “the mistresses” – I am on the search for a new exciting TV series and this one sounds pretty good. Gonna check it out later.

    btw – recipe looks delicious. bookmarked!

  17. Love this recipe, soooo tasty! A great Sunday night meal, with lots of leftovers for lunches. 🙂 I didn’t have squash or canned tomatoes in, so I grated a carrot and sweet potato and diced some cherry tomatoes instead. Yummy! 🙂

  18. Hey Juli- is it normal for the squash to still have a lot of water left over after this is done baking?

      1. Thanks! I did put it back on the range for a few more minutes (sans meatballs) to have the water absorbed a bit more.

  19. This was amazing! So easy and so good. I added carrots to it as well.

    One thing is, I grabbed a pack of grass – fed ground beef from the freezer and stuck in the fridge overnight. The next evening, a went to open it to make the meatballs and realized I had grabbed the pack of “beef stew meat” instead. So, I improvised. I just added the same spices to the stew meat, sauteed it separately to get the outside brown and then mixed it in with the sauteed veggies. Turned out really great!

  20. Ok, I hear ya with the royal baby, but I have to admit…. at least it’s a happy news story! I get tired of all the depressing bull on the news. It was a distraction at least!

    Totally going to make this recipe!!

  21. We made this last night except since we were out of paprika my husband subbed chili powder….not a good move haha. The first bite was overwhelming but after that our taste buds were ready…either that or numb haha. Still it was delicious! Will definitely make again leaving out the chili and moderating the cayenne.

  22. Made this sunday – added mushrooms and red pepper to the veg mix – very easy method. Made good left overs for lunch.

  23. Made this today and it was very tasty. I cut back to 1 tsp on the cayenne and it was still spicy, and I like spicy. You’re one tough B**!h if you used 2 tsp!

  24. I cooked this for dinner last night, and it was such a big hit. Our taste buds must be similar because everything I make from this website is to die for. Thank you for doing what you do.

  25. Made this last night. The spices are a good combo with the veggies. I didn’t followed the spice measurments, just eyballed it. My meatballs came out dry however. I used 85% lean beef and added an egg to bind them and they were still a alittle dry. I will definitely make this again but I’ll probably brown the beef and spices and leave it that way instead of making the the balls.

  26. I just made this. I agree with the earlier post. Everything turned to mush…i even squeezed out the excess water. 🙁

  27. Bravo Juli to yet ANOTHER delish recipe! I was a little concerned with the combination of spices, but to my amazement…this was a SPOT ON DISH. Thank you again, your a LIFESAVER….really 🙂 PS: I cooked for about 40 min and on 400 degrees so the casserole could dry out.

  28. Love this casserole–it’s so easy to throw together, and so delicious!

    You absolutely MUST render all the liquid out of the summer squashes BEFORE you put it in the oven. It took about 20 min to sweat and evaporate all the liquids. If there is juice puddling in the bottom of the pan, keep sauteing. Sprinkling salt on the squashes will help render their juices faster. And stir often!

    My own personal tweaks:
    – used 20oz pkg ground turkey instead of ground beef; added an egg to bind it; added 1 tsp coriander, cumin, paprika; 1/2 tsp black pepper & salt; 1/4 tsp cayenne. Added 1/4 tsp onion powder and garlic powder. Made 2oz meatballs.

    – diced veggies instead of shredding. added 1 tsp coriander, cumin, paprika; 1/2 tsp cayenne. Did not add fresh garlic.

    -Baked for 35 min @ 350. Let the dish rest for 10 min. before serving to help reabsorb juices.

    -served it over baked sweet potatoes.

    I think dicing the veggies gave a better texture to the dish. Next time I will add chopped orange pepper for even better texture. I deliberately toned down the spices to my taste.

    This will become a standard rotation in my meal planning–thank you so much!

  29. Keisha Hyman- Gifth

    Just made this last night and I freaking loved it. My Fiance came over to day and had some. His response was ” Squash is not supposed to taste like that!” I will be making this again and soon!

  30. I just made this tonight and it was great. I followed Sue’s lead and diced the veggies instead of shredding. I reduced the cayenne because my 6 year old doesn’t like spicy stuff yet. He still said they were spicy, but ate every single bite! I will make again.

  31. Wow I have super mild tastes and should have definitely toned down the cayenne pepper haha. But I loved the simplicity of it and will make again, but change up some spices!

  32. I really enjoy your blog and was eager to try this recipe. But like a few of the other commenters, everything turned into a soupy mush. After cooking it I realized I should’ve squeezed out the excess water from the zucchini – perhaps a step you should include in the directions. Also, maybe I used a tablespoon instead of teaspoon (i have a toddler and a newborn so I’m brain dead) but it was spicy as hell!

  33. I’ve definitely been lurking on this site for a while and my wife and I have made quite a few of your recipes.

    This one was total aces!!! I agree with the other commenters about the liquid. Next time, and there will certainly be a next time, will be even better.

    Thanks a bunch!

  34. Just made this again last night, with the addition of roasted eggplant. I roasted peeled & sliced eggplant in the oven, then diced & added it just before the canned tomatoes. Yum! This dish is a fabulous, tasty way to clear your fridge of languishing veggies.

  35. I made this the other night and it blew my taste buds off! Way too spicy for my taste. I think I’ll make it again but with 1/4 of the cayenne. I like to taste my food, not just wait until my mouths numb so I can cram it into my belly. At least I want to try it again!

  36. Do the canned tomatoes need to be drained? Is that why some people are having great results and others are getting mush?

  37. I made this a few days ago and I can agree on two things with the above posts: it is way too spicy, even for me who loves spicy food and the squash did get too mushy. I am trying this out again tonight and I will cut the spices in half, add a few more veggies, and cook the veggies down longer in the pan before transferring it to the oven, I have high hopes. Either way this was delicious despite my inability to properly taste it the first time around haha

  38. I made this a few days ago. It came out rather spicy and kind of mushy (I drained my tomatoes too) but tasted good nonetheless.

    Next time I’ll likely cut the spice a bit and leave it to cook on the stove longer to get rid of some more water.

    Loving your website. I made Jambalaya tonight and the whole family loved it. Pumpkin Pie Blizzard was similarly well received. I’ve got others lined up to try in the coming days/weeks as well.

    Thanks for doing what you do Juli! I’m on a road to a healthier me and I feel like you’re my secret weapon!

  39. Your website and delicious meals like this one have made my transition to a Paleo lifestyle so much easier. Thank YOU so much for sharing 🙂

  40. I made this recipe over the weekend. I would have to say it is quite spicy!! Next time I will reduce the cayenne pepper. To make it more appeasing with texture I Julienne the squash and zucchinis, not the length of the vegetable but the other way, like you would cut round sections. I also split the prep, because I didn’t have 93% lean ground beef, I did not want the added fat, so I made the meat balls and put those in the oven. While they were cooking for 10 min, I moved on to cooking the vegetables, I sauted them for about 10 min, when they were done, added the tomatoes and then took the meatballs out of the other pan and put them on top of the veggie mixture. Then I put it back in the oven for about 10-15 more min. The texture of the squash and zucchinis were great!! Not mushy, which I LOVE…. I will try this recipe again with my own tweeks.

  41. Came out perfectly! I followed Sue’s advice and cooked it 20 plus minutes on the stove top to really render all the juices out of the veggies. Then 35 min in the oven and then let stand 10 minutes on stovetop.

    Also diced instead of shredding the vegetables and left the cayenne pepper out so my daughter would eat it.

    I served it by itself – didn’t seem to require an accompaniment, other than a fresh garden salad on the side.

    Great recipe!

  42. This is a greatrecipe, but it was way too spicy for my family. I doubled the meat but did not double the spices. I ended up adding another large can of tomatoes to cut through the heat. That helped a lot but it is still spicy. I will make this again, but cut back on the cayenne. Other than that, this recipe is a keeper! Thanks!

  43. I made this for dinner last night. SUPER GOOD!! Thank you so much for the recipe. I did use olive oil instead of the bacon grease and ground turkey instead of beef. The whole family enjoyed it!

  44. This was my first ever paleo recipe! And I think it came out great. It was a little spicy (which I don’t mind) but the coriander really got me… I’ve never cooked with it before and apparently I have the little coriander balls (or seeds?) which killed the awesome taste swimming around in my mouth. I started digging them out if I could see them because it just got to be too much. Overall I’m pleasantly surprised! I also did it with turkey and the juiciness of the veggies helped keep the turkey from getting dry. Thanks for sharing!

  45. I made this last night and it was amazing, it was extremely yummy and tasty. I had to keep staring at the oven waiting for it to finish baking. Thanks for this recipe.

  46. Thank you Juli for another quick delicious recipe. The squash & meatballs are to die for!!!! My son tried the recipe first and told me how good it was. We will both be making it again and again!!

  47. This was also too spicey for us! I thought it turned out fine otherwise. Would definitely recommend cutting ALL spices in half for those that do not like spicey- or spicey that blows off taste buds.

  48. Delicious recipe!! So glad I read the comments before I made it…I halfed all spices and my lips are still burning 🙂 Very good though.

  49. I made this tonight. I was looking for something different to do with ground beef. It turned out yummy. I used two pounds of ground beef otherwise it would not feed my family of big eaters and I left out the cayenne. Good stuff! Thanks for sharing.

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