Growing up, I would watch my Aunt make dumpling filling with all sorts of vegetables and spices. She would mix in onions, carrots and cabbage with some pork and make a big mash of stuffing. Then, together, we would scoop a spoonful of the mixture into a dumpling wrapper and then fold it together and thumb press the sides. I loved doing this with her. Also, they always turned out delicious whether she steamed them or fried them.
Now, whenever I make anything with ground meat, I add finely chopped veggies and sure enough, my kids eat it up. The first vegetable I always start with is a finely minced onion that I caramelize. Then I grind up the veggies and sauté them with the onions and season the mixture with salt and pepper. I usually add some garlic as well. I do this with my chili, burgers, meatloaf, and now with meatballs!
I tried something different this time. I added zucchini and goji berries. The zucchini helped the meatballs stay tender while the goji berries added a touch of sweetness which always helps my son eat all his vegetables. Plus, goji berries are high in antioxidants and benefit the heart while zucchini have a high content of vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Zucchini also contains significant quantities of potassium, folate, and vitamin A, all of which are important for general good health.
I also made my own breadcrumbs with some sprouted multigrain bread from Trader Joe’s. The meatballs turned out delicious on their own, but I added our homemade tomato sauce and some Trader Joe’s Quinoa and Brown Rice Fusilli, topped it with parmesan cheese and both of my kids left nothing in their bowls. It’s a super healthy dish and my kids are eating way more vegetables than they realize. My husband and I just eat the meatballs by themselves with a salad on the side. It’s a win win! Enjoy!
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup dry sprouted breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 minced onion
1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely shredded zucchini
1/8 cup finely chopped goji berries
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Preheat oven to 400°.
Season the meat with salt and pepper or Tony Chachere’s seasoning mix and set aside. This can be done the day before and kept in the refrigerator which really makes the meat really flavorful.
Caramelize the onions for 5-10 minutes in olive oil or coconut oil. Season them with a dash of salt, pepper and brown sugar. Mix in the other veggies and goji berries into the onion mixture and sauté for a few minutes to soften the carrots. Let the veggie mixture cool.
To the meat mixture, add two beaten eggs, garlic, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and mix well. Then add the veggie mix.
Shape mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done.
Cook the pasta in one pot, and warm up some sauce in another pot. When the meatballs are done, add the meatballs to the pot with your tomato sauce. When the pasta is done, drain and add the meatballs and pasta together. Hope your family enjoys this healthy, delish meal!!!