Vegetable Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
meatballs

As the weather starts to get cooler, cravings for warmer comfort foods start to stir again.

Take advantage of the fresh, end-of-season garden harvest that’s still abundant at the market, and use it to turn this old favorite meaty dish into a high-fiber, low-fat bowl of healthy mouth-watering goodness that’s teeming with fresh nutrients and flavors.

Serve these delectably saucy meatballs on a bed of Low-Carb Zoodles for a soothing, low-calorie, complete meal that sticks to your ribs, not to your waist-line.

 

For the Meatballs:

1 lb lean grass-fed ground beef

½ cup shredded zucchini

½ cup shredded summer squash

½ cup shredded carrot

½ small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 Tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped, for garnish

 

For the Sauce:

2 lbs ripe plum tomatoes, finely diced

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ onion, diced

2 tsp fresh basil, chopped

2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tsp fresh marjoram, chopped

¼ tsp salt

Cracked black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large flat baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the shredded zucchini, squash and carrots into a colander and mix in 2 pinches of salt. Allow to sit for several minutes, until the liquid starts to separate from the veggies. Dump the vegetables into a cheese clothes, squeeze and wring out the remaining liquid, and then place the veggies into a large bowl.

Add into the chopped onion, garlic, ground beef, egg, herbs, salt and pepper, and combine everything together well. With clean hands, roll the mixture into small balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, with space in between. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until browned and fully cooked through.

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat up olive oil in a large sauce pan. Sautee the onions until translucent, stirring often to avoid burning. Add in the garlic and sautee for 30 more seconds. Then remove onto a plate and set aside.

Drizzle more olive oil into the sauce pan, and toss in the chopped tomatoes. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer over medium heat, allowing them to release their juices and breakdown. Continue simmering for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring and crushing the tomato chunks occasionally, until the sauce reaches the consistency you prefer. Then remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the sautéed onion and garlic, the vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper, adjusting the seasonings to your taste.

When the meatballs are finished baking, place them in a bowl, generously drizzle them with fresh chunky tomato sauce and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.

Makes about 24 small meatballs.

 

Nutrition facts per serving (4 meatballs): 179 calories/8g total fat (3g saturated fat)/8g total carbs (2g dietary fiber)/19g protein

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