If you eat low-carb or Keto, you don’t have to sacrifice good Italian-American comfort food.
Our Sicilian Meatballs with Zucchini Fettucine have the flavor you crave with some healthy alternatives.
Zucchini noodles replace traditional pasta in this dish.
Zucchini is nutrient-rich, low calorie, and low carb. It also scores very low on the glycemic index. Translation: no blood sugar spikes. And more satisfaction.
Ditch traditional bread crumbs in favor of almond meal. They’re gluten-free, high in protein, and fiber. And made from ground almonds.
MAKE AND BAKE
Our meatballs are oven-baked vs. pan fried… a much easier method than stovetop cooking.
They achieve a browned, crispy exterior in the oven. Yet they remain tender on the interior as they finish cooking nestled in the pasta sauce.
For the noodles, look for zucchini that’s small to medium in size, dark green, firm, and blemish free.
For the meatballs, this recipe calls for ground beef. But you can substitute ground turkey if you prefer, along with turkey Italian sausages.
As for the binder… we prefer almond meal in this meatball recipe for its texture. But you can substitute almond flour.
What’s the difference?
Almond meal is courser than its almond flour sibling and ground with skins intact. Almond flour is ground and sifted finely. It’s made with blanched almonds and the skins are removed.
PERFECT FOR A SUNDAY SUPPER
We wouldn’t call this a quick dish, but we would call it delicious!
While it takes a bit more time than most of our recipes, we believe it’s worth the effort.
It’s the kind of comfort food that makes a Sunday supper special. And one the whole family will enjoy.
The meatballs and sauce are very freezer friendly, so you can enjoy them on a busy weeknight by just warming them up.
Place the meatballs and sauce in serving-size containers. (1, 2, or 4 servings.)
You want an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic freezer bag. Be sure to push any air pockets out. And don’t forget to date your container!
These meatballs and sauce store well in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Be careful not to over-handle the meatball mixture, to retain a tender meatball.
We also recommend the salt/colander process outlined in the instructions for the zucchini noodles.
It’s key to remove the vegetables’ excess water. Don’t skip this step or risk soggy noodles and a watery sauce.
Pair this dish with a simple green salad and our Italian Dressing.
Use a simple vegetable peeler to create wide, flat noodles (fettuccine.) Or, if you have a vegetable spiralizer, you can use that too, for a more spaghetti-like result.
For grating cheese, we love our Microplane… it creates perfect flakes of Parmesan that melt into your dish.
An ice cream scoop works great for both measuring and general shape when forming meatballs.
|Prep Time||40 minutes|
|Cook Time||1 hour|
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 20% fat, can substitute ground turkey
- 2 large sweet italian pork sausages meat removed from casing, can substitute turkey Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion finely minced
- 5 garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 3 tablespoons milk can substitute almond milk, half and half, or cream for Keto
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley finely minced - reserve 1 tablespoon for plating
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano freshly grated, plus additional for plating
- 6 small-medium zucchini
- pinch red chili flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley finely minced
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 56 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
- 1 stick butter
- 1 medium onion peeled, trimmed and sliced in half
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare a 12" x 17" sheet pan with parchment paper. Brush the paper with olive oil.
- In a large bowl, add the ground beef, sausage, Parmigiano-Reggiano, onion, garlic, tamari sauce, milk, egg, almond meal, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.
- With clean hands, mix the ingredients. Be careful not to over-handle, as this will result in a tough meatball.
- Prepare 3-inch meatballs, again being careful not to over-handle. Place on a parchment-lined baking pan brushed with olive oil. Take care to ensure there is at least an inch or more between meatballs to ensure browning. Utilize a second pan if necessary.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help set the shape. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce.
- In a deep pan or pot, add the crushed tomatoes, onion halves, butter, sea salt and black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, then cover.
- Gently simmer while meatballs are baking. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Note: if using Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish, be careful not to oversalt.
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator and place on the center rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Gently turn the meatballs with a set of tongs.
- Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the meatballs are a deep brown.
- Remove meatballs from the oven. Gently place them in simmering tomato sauce, one by one. Re-cover the pan. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Now, prepare the zucchini fettuccine.
- Cut the top off of each zucchini. Turn one zucchini on its flat top for stability.
- Run a vegetable peeler from end to end, until you see seeds. Turn and repeat on each side. Then repeat on remaining zucchini.
- Place the wide zucchini strips into a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 15-30 minutes. Remove from colander onto paper towels. Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- During the last 5 minutes of cook time, heat a large non-stick skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini strips.
- Sauté for 4-5 minutes, turning the noodles to evenly cook. When the zucchini is soft, stir in parsley, pepper, and chili flakes. Immediately remove from the pan to a bowl or plate so as not to overcook.
- Serve meatballs over zucchini fettuccine with tomato sauce, to taste. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano and reserved parsley.
Check ingredients and/or manufacturer's website to ensure herbs and spices are gluten free.
As noted the meatballs and sauce are freezer friendly. Zucchini noodles won't freeze well. Make these fresh.
Recipe courtesy of www.sisterspicekitchen.com ©2017 Sister Spice. All rights reserved.