The last few months have been so busy in our home that finding time to test and write up new recipes has taken a back seat to literally everything else. Full disclosure, I've basically stopped cooking. Between travel and work it's been much easier to order out than plan, prep, and prepare. What is not easier is seeing how much all the eating out depleted the ol' bank account. In our house, Indian food (our go to take out) doesn't last longer than a day. Also, Seamless orders at $40 a pop add up quickly.
There's all that and a very gluttonous six day trip to South Carolina where all diet bets were off. Getting back to a healthy diet was and remains priority #1. (Mostly because anything to avoid going new jeans shopping and bathing suit season is far from over.) In an effort to streamline both the budget and the waistline, I went for an oldie but goodie - meatballs + pasta. Instead of making the classic, both full of carbs and carbs, I substituted healthier ingredients. The result is flavorful and just as hearty. I made a big batch of the meatballs and stuck some in the freezer for future quick meals. Instead of pasta we made sweet potato "noodles" with our zoodler because yes, we're those people now.
Guiltless Pasta + Meatballs
Halve the recipe if you don't want to stick some in the freezer.
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- As usual with my recipes, feel free to experiment and substitute turkey for chicken, pork for turkey, lamb for pork... you get the idea. Or just get crazy and mix 2 meats together because why not??
- 2 eggs room temperature
- bunch chopped parsley (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts (food processor!)
- 1 yellow onion, small dice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup chopped basil
- 1 cup almond flour (use more if the mixture isn't holding together well)
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- s+ p to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Or if you're lazy, which I am, use a sheet pan that's seen the test of time and you don't care about getting all grimy. No judgment here.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. I use my hands because it's faster.
- Pour a glug of olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan. Heat it up.
- ***Form small balls with your hands, no bigger than a golf ball, brown on the skillet.
- Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake through 10-15 minutes until nice and golden.
*** The alternative is to keep cooking these on the pan and add BBQ sauce or marinara. Choose your own adventure!
For sweet potato "noodles" just toss them in olive oil, s+p, and sautée on that same pan. You can also use zucchini, onion, regular potato, carrot. Seriously any vegetable. I won't get into it here because there's a whole world on the internet of people making noodles out of not pasta. I made a lot and didn't cook all the noodles. They keep really well in tupperware in the fridge so you can use for sides all week long!
We ate this with a side of tzatziki sauce because something about walnuts, parsley, and basil screams "dip me in Greek yogurt + cucumber" to me.