Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Yield: About 20 meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
"Zee meatballz!" (insert Pauly D voice). But for real, I did not realize how easy meatballs are to modify—you can quite literally put whatever you want in these bad boys. And when it comes to making food healthier, I always recommend we look for what we can add or even replace in dishes. Zucchini is usually a safe option when it comes to adding some nutritional zest to recipes. Also, cauliflower is one of those items too...but I think we've got that one figured out (hello, cauliflower pizza crust, tots, rice—you name it, we've completely distorted and abused cauliflower to it's actual physical and emotional limits. So let's change it up, shall we?)
I used ground beef in this recipe partially because I was feeling rebellious against the recommendation of only consuming red meat once or twice per month (lets just say Christmas was last week). Anyway, next time I make this recipe I will probably have my dietitian blinders on and use equal parts ground turkey or ground chicken. Hell, I might even mess around and experiment with a vegan alternative (this is my advanced apology to my meat-loving boyfriend). But we will cross that bridge when we get to it. Let's get on with it...
1lb. Ground Beef
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup zucchini, shaved (over half a medium-sized zucchini)
4 cloves of garlic (measure this one with your heart)
1/4 cup white onion, diced really small
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
Heat oven to 400°F
While oven is preheating, add all ingredients and mix.
Form mixture into balls, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter
Place balls on a greased baking sheet
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the center of a meatball has no pink in it.
Enjoy in a variety of fashions: doused in sauce, on top of spaghetti, etc.
*About the parmesan cheese* I am a cheese-loving freak, so I used closer to 1/2 cup (maybe even more). If you are a modest-cheese lover or simply could care less either way, I would suggest to bring it down to 1/4 cup. If you are dairy-free, nutritional yeast works here too....OR you could completely go without the cheese, just add a *LITTLE* extra salt (probably like half a pinch—little goes a long way here folks).
*You will want to dice the onions as small as you can. By the looks of my picture above, you can tell I could have gone a little harder on my dicing capabilities.
*When it comes to mixing the ingredients, I have found that your hands are likely your best bet. Just remember to head straight to the sink once you are done forming the meatballs because of cross-contamination and stuff like that.