Zucchini Noodles + Meatballs (Healthy Pasta Option)
This is one of my go-to weeknight dinners and one of James’ favorites. It has simple ingredients that most of us have on hand. It’s hearty and healthy. And best of all it’s a guilt-free alternative to a big bowl of pasta, which we all love. We’re going to use ground turkey instead of ground beef for the meatballs. And we’re going to use zucchini noodles instead of pasta noodles to lighten up on the carbs. Let’s get right into it:
ZUCCHINI NOODLES + MEATBALLS RECIPE
(gluten free + dairy free + inspired by skinnytaste.com)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS: Use organic whenever possible
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 egg¼ cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I used crumbled Udi’s GF bread)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, washed + sliced
- 2 handfuls spinach, chopped
- 1 jar Mezzetta Arrabiata Pasta Sauce
- 4 medium (or 6 small) zucchini, ends removed and cut into long julienne strips (with a mandolin or spiralizer)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Chop all your veggies first so you can have everything available when you need it. This will make things a lot easier (and faster) as you’re cooking.
To cut the “zoodles” I used my Swissmar Borner mandolin with my julienne blade. You can read about this mandolin in a past blog post here. Be extremely careful when using a mandolin, the blades are VERY sharp. You can also use a spiralizer if you have one to get more of a “spaghetti” texture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper and use your hands to mash it all together. Make meatballs the size of ping pong balls, about 24 total. Heat coconut oil in a large sauce pan to medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and set aside.
NOTE: This recipe will only need about 16 meatballs (depending on the size), 4 per person. You can store the remaining meatballs in an airtight container. I use them to top my salad the next day or perhaps in a soup.
In the same sauce pan, add the diced yellow onion and a sprinkle of sea salt and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes, until mushrooms are browned. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Add the meatballs back in (16 of them) and stir in the Arrabiata sauce. Bring to a bubble and then turn heat to low. Continue to simmer uncovered while you cook the zoodles.
NOTE ON PASTA SAUCE: The best thing would be to make your own sauce, but that’s too time-consuming for most of us. The next best thing is to use a quality sauce with natural ingredients + without the bad stuff. I like Mezzetta brand sauces because a lot of their flavors do not contain sugar, gluten, or dairy. Read your labels carefully when buying anything in a bottle, can or jar
In a separate large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a total of 3-4 minutes, stirring a few times. You want the zoodles to be cooked through, but still firm.
Serve the zoodles in a big bowl or plate and top with 4 meatballs and sauce. If you want to get a little crazy, you can add some grated parmesan cheese!
Here’s to feeling good about pasta night again! Enjoy.