Our on-staff dietitians definitely approve of how she pumps up this low-carb dinner idea!
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Katie Lee on a designed background
Credit: Getty Images / Taylor Hill

What's the last recipe you made with canned pumpkin? Perhaps pie, quick bread, pancakes, bars or maybe Giada's "BEST cookies ever," according to one fan?

It's time to take that can on a walk to the savory side, suggests Katie Lee Biegel, cookbook author and co-host of Food Network's The Kitchen. She opened a can and just blew our minds with her brilliant meatball binding strategy!

"What's for dinner? Oh my gourd! Turkey meatballs (with a secret ingredient—pumpkin!) and spaghetti squash," the mom of one and spokesperson for WW, the rebranded Weight Watchers, explains. "These are quick, delicious and light (no breadcrumbs!), and bonus: they're great for kids too. Iris [her daughter] loooooves them!"

"Pumpkin replaces the breadcrumbs, adds nutrition and doesn't change the taste," she says in the text that overlays her fast-forward how-to Instagram video.

Rich in vitamin A and low in calories, the pumpkin makes the lean turkey meatballs juicier in seconds. Just "make sure to buy canned pumpkin puree (which is just pumpkin) and not pumpkin pie filling (which has added sugar and seasonings)," Lee Biegel recommends before explaining the ingredients and directions for her Pumpkin Turkey Meatballs on the WW website.

In addition to being nutritions, we adore how quick and customizable this fall dinner idea can be. Start with 1 pound of 99% lean ground turkey breast (or ground chicken, beef or plant-based meat—just note that higher fat proteins might be more points), then mix in ½ cup canned pumpkin, 1 egg, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese and your favorite seasonings. Mix to combine, shape into 20 meatballs and bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan until cooked through, or for about 20 to 25 minutes.

"Serve them over regular, whole-wheat or chickpea spaghetti tossed with your favorite marinara sauce, or amp up the veggie quotient of this recipe by serving the meatballs over roasted spaghetti squash strands." The roasted spaghetti squash route was the way Lee Biegel went. (Here's a quick refresher on how to cook spaghetti squash, BTW!)

Then before piling the pumped-up meatballs over those squash strands, she tossed them with a simple sauce solution. One fan asks about the sauce source in the Instagram comments, and Lee Biegel replies: "Just use your favorite marinara (homemade or from a jar)." Translation: We have full permission to bust out our go-to, Ina-approved Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce; buy it: $6.99 for 15.5 ounces, Target.

"Omg making this! 👏👏👏," one fan comments on Instagram, and we echo that sentiment. We'll be keeping a tab open with this Pumpkin Turkey Meatballs recipe until dinner tonight, then plan to put the rest of that can to delicious use in one of our 35 best sweet and savory recipes using pumpkin puree.