I was surfing the food blogoshere yesterday and came across a lovely picture of meatballs, something I’ve not made in ages. So my dinner menu immediately emerged in my head. The delicious dish I came up with is not your classic “saucy” spaghetti and meatballs dish, as actually very little sauce is put on each serving. But an adequate tomato-y edge was there and made this a delightful dish. I gave it a two thumbs up. My husband is not 100% low-carbing, so he had his on Dreamfield’s pasta and LOVED it!
I’m providing the nutritional information for the individual parts of this as many will use this meatball recipe with other sauces, serve it over other bases than the zucchini noodles and will use this thick veggie-heavy marinara sauce for other applications. This dish is not suitable until Phase 2 Atkins due to the ricotta. It is OK for Ketogenic diets. It is however not acceptable for Primal-Paleo unless the 3 cheeses are omitted from the meatballs.
Although it’s just me and my husband, I like to make large batches of meatballs and freeze the extras for quick uses later on. This recipe makes 20 meatballs or 10 servings of two meatballs. Adjust your recipe as your needs dictate.
I absolutely love the Lucini “Rustic Tomato Basil Sauce” that I found at my local Walmart. It’s made with all natural ingredients, has a lovely taste and I buy it all the time for quick sauces. A great flavor foundation to build on. It costs somewhere around $3.99/jar if I remember right. I’m so glad my Walmart carries this convenient product. Ingredients in Lucini Rustic Tomato Basil Sauce: Vine-Ripened Plum Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Lucini® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Carrots, Onions, Basil, Sea Salt, Citric Acid (naturally derived)
1 lb. ground beef (I used 90% lean grass-fed)
1 lb. ground pork
2 beaten eggs
½ c. ricotta cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ tsp. each onion powder, garlic powder, crushed fennel seed and dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano, crushed
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
MEATBALL DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350º. Measure out all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together with fork or hand until well blended. Form large 1½” balls by rolling in your palms. Place them on either a non-stick baking sheet or one with a silicone sheet liner. Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer oozing pink juices.
QUICK MARINARA SAUCE:
3 T. olive oil
½ c. celery, chopped
4 oz. onion, chopped
¼ c. bell pepper, chopped
5 large mushrooms, chopped
1 25.5 oz. jar (3c.) Lucini “Rustic Tomato Basil Sauce”, all natural ingredients with 4 NC per ½c. serving
2/3 c. parsley, chopped
3/4-1c. water, as needed
DIRECTIONS FOR SAUCE: Heat oil in skillet or large saucepan. Add celery, onion and bell pepper and saute until nearly tender. Add mushroom and saute until translucent. Add Lucini sauce, parsley and bring to a simmer on very low heat. Cook on lowest setting while meatballs are baking. Stir often, adding water, as needed, to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan and to maintain a thin marinara sauce consistency.
ZUCCHINI NOODLES “Zoodles”: VARIATIONS: Serve over spaghetti squash or Dreamfields pasta
3 medium zucchini (about 10 oz. each)
1 T. olive oil
DIRECTIONS FOR NOODLES: Cut the zucchini into noodle shapes either with a hand held julienne peeler (what I use) or the more expensive tools like the counter-top Spirooli that is designed to do this much faster. Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini threads to the pan and lightly saute just until they become translucent. DO NOT OVERCOOK them or they will get mushy.
FINAL CONSTRUCTION: Plate about 1 cup zoodles on each plate. Top with 1/2 c. sauce. Place 2 meatballs on top and if desired, garnish with a sprinkle of grated fresh Parmesan.
MEATBALL NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 20 meatballs. Two per serving. Each 2-meatball serving contains:
290 calories, 23 g fat, 1.18 g carbs, .8 g fiber, .38 g NET CARBS and 20.2 g protein, 155 mg sodium and 187 mg potassium
SAUCE NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes ten 1/2 c. servings of sauce. Each serving contains:
97 calories, 7.2 g fat, 7.27 g carbs, 1.93 g fiber, 5.34 g NET CARBS, 2.24 g protein, 306 mg sodium and 144 mg potassium
ZUCCHINI NOODLES NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes about 9-10 servings noodles. Each 3 oz serving contains:
59 calories, 4.7 g fat, 4.2 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 2.8 g NET CARBS 1.5 g protein