As I explained in my previous blog Vegetarianism 101, I am a pescatarian. This means that I have removed all meat items from my diet with the exception of seafood. While I love my diet choices, my omnivore husband is a little less enthused. He grew up in a household where everything was meat and potatoes, and has a serious love for all things red meat. For this reason, I try to find recipes from time to time that could pass as one of his go to meat dishes.
When I first saw this recipe circulating Pinterest I was somewhat skeptical. I did take a few different versions of the recipe and combine parts of each together to come up with the final result. My next mission is to take this recipe, tweak it a little further and develop a burger out of it! Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks!
I had a few different people try them, and they were well received. If you are looking for a quick vegetarian alternative for a Playoff party (Go Sens!) or a potluck, here you go! If you are looking for a vegan alternative, this can easily be tweaked to work for that as well!
Zucchini ‘Meat’ Balls
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 tsp olive oil (plus olive oil on hand for cooking puposes)
- 2 ½ cups unpeeled zucchini, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp chopped basil
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups tomato sauce of your choice (homemade or jarred)
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Take a large rimmed baking sheet or cast iron skillet (I LOVE cooking with cast iron) and brush it lightly with olive oil.
- Grab a nonstick skillet, and put it on medium heat with the 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the garlic to the hot skillet. Saute until golden, or for approximately 30 seconds.
- Grate the zucchini and add it to the skillet, seasoning with both salt and pepper. Cook this on high heat until all the water evaporates form the skillet, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- Using a colander, drain out any excess water still found in the zucchini. Add it to a large bowl along with the bread crumbs, beaten egg, mozzarella cheese and chopped basil.
- Once this zucchini mixture is well blended, divide it into small, tightly rolled ‘meat’ balls. The size of the meatballs at this stage will determine how many you have when you are done cooking!
- Place the meatballs either on the baking sheet, or into the cast iron skillet. Brush the top of all your ‘meat’ balls with olive oil. Bake until form and browned, approximately 20 to 25 min.
- Heat the sauce on the stove in a skillet for approximately 5 minutes. Add the ‘meat’ balls to the sauce and allow them to simmer for a period of time so that they absorb the flavours from the sauce.
- Serve your meatballs on a bed of rice, or spaghetti squash as we did. Enjoy!
What is your favourite go to recipe for potluck parties and family functions?