Meatballs for when you don’t want pasta!

It’s true! I’m not a huge fan of pasta – I like it now and then, but it’s so heavy and it’s just empty carbs. But I like meatballs – dilemma. What to do when you want a good protein with some greens on the side and you’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately? Meatballs!

I first discovered this unique take on the classic meatball recipe when I read a post from everybody likes sandwiches for Italian Wedding Soup. I didn’t feel like making the soup, so I made a version of her meatballs – and they are amazing. You can make these in big batches and freeze them, too. Serve them up on a favorite grain (I used Israeli couscous, but rice, quinoa or wheatberries would be great, too) and steam up a side of kale, chard or collards – it’s pretty simple and healthy – I make a bunch to eat for lunch several days during the week.

Meatballs for when you don’t want pasta!
(adapted from everybody likes sandwiches)

  • 1-2 pounds of local, organic meat (we order beef from Tide Mill Farm in Edmunds, Maine through the Portland Food Co-op)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • dash of Old Bay seasoning
  • 2-3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup plus some of bread crumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • dash of hot mustard

Very easy – toss all the ingredients in a bowl, roll up your sleeves and mix everything together with your hands until all the ingredients are well combined. I always use a mortar and pestle to grind the fennel seeds up a bit – it really helps bring out the nice anise flavor in the meatballs.

This recipe makes 30 small meatballs – put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes – make sure you don’t overcook them, as they can dry out pretty easily.

What other meatball recipes do you always turn to?

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4 Responses to Meatballs for when you don’t want pasta!

  1. sweetersalt says:

    I plan on making meatballs with polenta this weekend. Saw a recipe for it somewhere and it sounded so good!


  2. Okay. So I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical. Meatballs without pasta? And no sauce? Clearly this gal is out of her mind! But, it actually sounds delicious. And what a smart, healthy lunch idea!

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