Turkey Meatballs + Basil Pesto (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

paleomeatballs.jpg

Meatballs! Since I don't eat tomatoes or pasta, I almost never make these little things anymore. What am I thinking, right? They're so tasty and delightful. My new solution: basil pesto and spaghetti squash. A nice healthy meal for those time when I'm missing spaghetti and meatballs. 

For Cameron and I, I picked a small spaghetti squash. To cook it: cut off the stem, stand the squash on its new flat end and halve from navel to stem end. Scoop out seeds. Lightly rub cut sides with olive oil. Roast cut sides down on a lined baking tray in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes (small squash) to an hour (larger squashes). Flip over and shred with a fork, Discard skins. 

To make this AIP, omit almond flour or substitute with coconut flour. 

Serves 6. 

Turkey Meatballs + Basil Pesto

for the meatballs

2 lbs ground turkey 

1/4 cup almond flour

1 yellow onion, grated

5 cloves garlic, peeled, grated

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

for the pesto

1 large bunch basil, leaves only

2 garlic cloves

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup olive oil (I like half olive oil, half avocado oil, personally)

salt, to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well. Form into tablespoon sized balls and arrange on prepared tray. Roast 15 minutes, flip and cook 15 minutes more. 

While meatballs are cooking, make the pesto by blending all pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve with meatballs. 

Meatballs!

meatballs03.JPG

Last weekend I had a serious craving for spaghetti and meatballs in a simple tomato sauce.  These are quick to make and delicious.  We had extras and used them for meatball subs the next day.  (Add a little provolone or mozzarella and bread to your shopping list!)

Serves 4.

Simple Beef Meatballs

1 lb grass fed ground beef

1 egg

1 grated shallot

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

s + p

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Gently combine all ingredients, avoid over mixing.  Use a heaping tablespoon to help portion and form into balls.  Place of tray and bake about 4 minutes.  Stir meatballs and bake 4 minutes more.  

Serve with tomato sauce and pasta or with bread and cheese for subs.  

A Healthier Meatball

htm02.JPG
htm01.JPG

Who doesn't like a meatball?  This is a healthier version that uses lean ground turkey breast instead of the usual beef pork combo and spaghetti squash instead of pasta.   

For the sauce, I'm pretty flexible.  I just use whatever fresh herbs I have lying around and then supplement with dried ones.  For this I used fresh thyme, fresh savory and dried oregano which went well with the meatballs.   

Serves 4. 

Herbed Turkey Meatballs over Roasted Spaghetti Squash + Simple Tomato Sauce

2 spaghetti squashes  

olive oil

s + p

1 shallot, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

fresh thyme leaves, from 5 sprigs

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 lb lean ground turkey breast

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

for the sauce 

olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

fresh herbs and dried herbs

1/4 teaspoon dried red chile flakes

28 oz tin crushed tomatoes 

s + p

Heat oven to 375.  Cut each squash in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard seeds.  Lightly oil, salt and pepper squash halves.  Place cut side down on a large baking sheet and roast about 45 minutes or until done.  (A fork will easily pierce the skin and flesh.) 

Meanwhile, get the sauce going.  In a small pot, heat a splash of olive oil and saute onion until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic, herbs and chile flakes, cook 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and simmer, 20 - 30 minutes.  Finish with salt and pepper.  

While the sauce is simmering get the meatballs going.  In pan, heat a splash olive oil and saute shallot until clear and soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute more.  Add thyme, chile flakes, oregano and fennel seeds, cook 1 minute more.  Set aside.  

In a large bowl, combine milk, egg, and bread crumbs.  Add shallot mixture, turkey, grated cheese, salt and pepper.  Mix ingredients with clean hands until evenly distributed.  Form into 1 inch meatballs, there will be about 12.  

Heat a splash of oil in a pan on the stove and add meatballs.  Turn frequently to cook all sides, cooking for about 10 minutes until internal temperature of meatballs reads 165 degrees.    

OR

Sear/brown all sides of meatballs in skillet on the stove.  Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 8 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.  

Remove squash from oven when done.  Let sit until cool enough to handle.  Use a fork to scrape out flesh into serving bowls.  Discard skins.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with sauce and meatballs.