Today is the first of May and here in Boston after a bout of rain, the sun has finally shown its face again, thank goodness! Two days ago though, the chilly air and gray skies made me long for a cozy wintery kind of meal – meatballs. It didn’t help that we served pasta with marinara meat sauce at school and of course I couldn’t eat it. I decided that there certainly had to be a way to make meatballs despite my dietary restrictions.
Luckily I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe that uses shredded veggies to keep the meatballs moist when breadcrumbs and eggs are out of the question. These make for delicious and colorful meatballs and add some extra vegetables into your meal. Other than seeing veggie confetti, you will hardly notice the difference (Sam approved!) These tasty morsels can be enjoyed with tomato sauce or for me – vegan pesto!
As an experiment I also made a batch with cooked quinoa to see how that would affect the texture and moisture. In a side-by-side comparison I thought the meatballs without the quinoa were actually more moist (the quinoa soaked up too much of the moisture?), but when they were all mixed up it was hard to taste the difference between the two kinds.
If you want to make the quinoa version add a 1/2 cup of COOKED quinoa (from about 1/6 cup dry quinoa) to the recipe below. Next time I also might try sauteing the onions so the raw flavor wasn’t so strong. If onions bother you (as they do me) feel free to leave them out.
adapted from healthhomehappy.com
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup each shredded carrot, minced onion, and shredded zucchini
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. each oregano and basil
ground black pepper as desired
olive oil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet tray with parchment paper or foil.
Shred your veggies (you can either shred or mince the onion) in a food processor or by hand. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and gently form into golf-ball sized meatballs. Lay them out on prepared sheet pan, not too close together, though they shrink as they cook. Drizzle with olive oil if desired and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 165. Let cool slightly and serve with your favorite sauce. Enjoy!