Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recipe: Meatballs & Zucchini Pasta

I don't know why it took me such a long time to try zucchini noodles. Maybe it has to do with the fact that most of the grain-free recipes I've come across call for spaghetti squash as the noodle substitute. I love spaghetti squash, just not as noodles. And since zucchini is in the same family, I assumed the experience would be much the same. Let me assure you, it's not! If you have been feeling reluctant to try zucchini noodles, I encourage you to go for it. They are wonderful!

Zucchini noodles are really easy to make - especially if you have a mandolin. Even if you don't, they're not to hard to cut up into spaghetti like noodle strips. Since I have discovered the wonders of zucchini noodles, I decided to plant more zucchinis in my garden this year.

Meatballs & Zucchini Pasta (serves 4)

Every fall I make up and freeze large batches of tomato sauce, but I've since run out. This recipe was made using store bought sauce, but I still dial it up a bit by adding a variety of diced vegetables - whatever happens to be in season. The meatballs in this recipe are a grain-free version of one out of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

1 lb organic grass-fed ground beef
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup nut flour
4 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1-2 tsp dried
1 Tblsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground mustard
sea salt
cracked pepper
coconut oil

Preheat a large skillet to medium and melt some coconut oil. In a large bowl, combine your nut flour with your herbs, salt and pepper. Mix in the egg and ground beef until blended. Roll into 2" diameter meatballs and place in the skillet. Turn and brown each side. Once they are cooked through, removed from the skillet and set aside on a plate.

Tomato Sauce
1 jar of homemade or store bought tomato sauce
2-3 Tblsp red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of spinach, diced
4-5 mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 red pepper, diced
whatever else you have in your fridge that might taste good
coconut oil

In a medium sauce pan, melt enough coconut oil for your vegetables - about 1-2 tablespoons. Add your onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add everything but the spinach and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Add the spinach last and cook until wilted. Pour in your jar of sauce and combine. After cooking together for a few minutes, add your meatballs and simmer together until your zucchini noodles are ready.

Zucchini Pasta
4 large zucchinis, peeled
coconut oil

Run your zucchinis through a mandolin, or cut them up matchstick style - the narrower the better. In a greased skillet, melt coconut oil on medium and toss in the zucchini. Continue to turn the zucchini gently until they begin to look translucent and have cooked through - about 10 minutes or so.

Heap the zucchini noodles onto a plate and top with meatballs and sauce and dig in!

Linked to Savory Sunday, Sugar Free Sunday, Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Mangia Monday, Made it on Monday, Grain-free Tuesday, Hearth & Soul, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper ClubMade from Scratch Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten-free Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Whatcaha Makin' Wednesday, Whisking Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, What's on Your Plate, What's on the Menu Wednesday, Real Food Weekly, Frugal Food Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Thursday Recipe Swap, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Friday's Unfolded, Food Trip Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Primal Cave, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday.    


Dawn Farias said...

I have tried zucchini noodles before but can never get the strips quite right with just a knife. I *think* I saw a mandolin at the thrift store - I will definitely try again if I can get my hands on it.

Another thing I like with meatballs and red sauce is sauteed cabbage. I will buy the coleslaw package because it's quicker and cut finer than I seem to get with just a knife.

I have a meatball recipe to post soon, too. It uses parmesan as the binder but I'm thinking a nutmeal would be fine, too.

Happy Saturday!

ddu said...

You may also enjoy pasta and other sauces atop marinated Lacinato kale. It's delicious! I found the recipe at raw-foods writer Jennifer Cornbleet's website:

Best wishes!

Shanon Hilton said...

Dawn: I was about to get rid of my mandolin in a garage sale, because we never used it until I discovered the zucchini noodles. I'm pretty sure you could pick one up at a thrift store or garage sale easily. It's one of those things you either use a lot of or it collects dust in your cupboard.

I will check out your meatball recipe when you post it! We eat a lot of meatballs in our family!

ddu: Thanks for the suggestion, I will check out the link. I'm always looking for new ways to reinvent pasta!

Amanda-The Sweet Details said...

oh yum!! Thanks for linking this up to savory sunday!!

Raj @ Flip Cookbook said...

Thanks for sharing these yummy noodles at this week's Sugar Free Sundays.

I'm a big fan of zucchini "noodles"! What a great substitute for starchy pasta. :) I use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of zucchini to make my noodles.

Shanon Hilton said...

Raj: I've been meaning to try zucchini noodles that way in a lasagna! I would imagine it would be a very fast way to prep them.

Kirstin said...

Yummy! I posted last week about how I did zucchini noodles last week for the first time. This time I posted on how I used zucchini as lasagna noodles! I want to make them like yours but my mandolin is a Pampered Chef one and I can't seem to make it work without the top attachment (which causes the blade to go down for cutting. What a bummer). I need to find a julienne slicer.

Emily said...

thanks for linking to Tasty Tuesday. Come back again next week

Lorie Shewbridge said...

Thank you so much for linking up with us again, we really appreciate your support.
I have to admit, I am a pasta finatic and love my carbs. I don't think I could give that up.
Have a great weekend.

cheartstrings said...

That looks so yummy. I have never seen this type of noodle, but I am going to whole foods and look for them. Yum.

Shanon Hilton said...

The zucchini noodles come straight from a zucchini!

The 21st Century Housewife© said...

I love this recipe - so delicious and healthy too! You could even make it without the meatballs for vegetarians (although the meatballs sound lovely too!). Thank you for sharing this recipe with the Hearth and Soul blog hop. Have a great weekend!

Miz Helen said...

We have everything to make this wonderful dish, from the grass fed beef to the fresh Zucchini. We have so much Zucchini in our garden that I am looking for different ways to prepare it. I will sure be trying this wonderful recipe. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!
Miz Helen

Mindie Hilton said...

Is it Shannon Hilton, I am Mindie Hilton.

I would love for you to link this and more up to my linky party that runs Friday evening through Sunday night. You can find the button for the party at

Our last party, the first ever, had over 300 links so this week there will be a special give away just for linkers, hope to see you soon.

Come strut your stuff!

Cheerful said...

wow, this sounds so great...sounds very delicious and healthy! i wish i could try making it someday. i did the zucchini fritata last week and everyone enjoyed it. anyway, thanks for sharing your recipe and wishing you a great weekend! :)

shopannies said...

sounds oh so good and good for me as well come see what I shared at

Lark (SparkyLarky) said...

Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for linking up to Made it on Monday! And with such a fantastic recipe! I cant wait to give it a try.
Also I wanted to let you know YOU made my TOP 3 Picks this week! were #1

:) Have a great week!

Christy said...

i have made zucchini ribbons before, but hadn't thought to make pasta..pure genius! you know this will be on our summer table.thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club!

Krista said...

Wow, thanks for this! I was eating some beef heart last night and wishing I had some GAPS legal pasta to make stroganoff. Again, thank you for this, I'm totally going to make some. So glad I have a mandolin.

Dianne Grover said...

Someone mentioned about spaghetti squash which I have never tried and now zucchini! In what year am I living and have not encountered these dishes? Anyway, thank you for this post. I will definitely try this out and see if it works for me because I really love the classic recipe! I am sure than food lovers as well as restaurant Fort Lauderdale owners will appreciate reading posts such as this. Thank you again for this post!