When you think of Mediterranean meals, classics such as spaghetti and meatballs may come to mind. We have emphasized the Mediterranean flavors in these meatballs with a wonderfully delicious yet easy sauce. This dish is full of classic Mediterranean vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes, giving it a power punch in the nutritional department as well as a rich, strong flavor. You can guarantee that serving this simple, enjoyable pasta dish at your dinner table will have even the fussiest eaters coming back for more.
FOR THE SAUCE:
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ cup chicken stock
salt and black pepper, to taste
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
2 slices white or whole-wheat bread
1½ lb. ground beef
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2–4 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup cooked spaghetti (or other pasta of choice)
chopped fresh parsley
1. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic starts to brown.
2. Add the onion and continue to sauté until translucent.
3. Add the green peppers, zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. Continue to cook for 7 minutes, then add the parsley, thyme, chicken stock and salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for approximately 40 minutes to make a thick sauce.
4. Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until it resembles crumbs; set aside.
5. In a large bowl mix the ground meat with the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
6. Roll the meat mixture into balls about 1 inch wide. Dip each ball into the beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs; set the coated balls aside.
7. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and fry on each side 6–8 minutes until golden brown. Remove the cooked meatballs from the pan, drop into the sauce, and gently stir.
8. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese if desired, and garnish with fresh parsley.
NUTRITION DATA FOR 1 SERVING:
Total Carbohydrates 43g
Total Fat 28g
Saturated Fat 9g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Trans Fat 1g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Vitamin A 25% Daily Value
Vitamin C 94% Daily Value
Calcium 17% Daily Value
Iron 26% Daily Value
This AMAZING Recipe can be found in my Mediterranean Refresh Cookbook here