The new year is here and in the spirit of starting off healthy, I am making lighter versions of some of my favorite comfort food recipes. First up is the classic spaghetti and meatballs. A hearty comforting meal, everyone has their favorite spaghetti and meatballs from when mom made it growing up to their own version, or even a recipe passed down through generations. My version below is what I enjoy with my family time and again.
I start with Pomi Tomatoes for the sauce. I think Italian tomatoes have the best flavor for marinara sauce. I add the usual ingredients: basil and oregano, garlic and shallots, but I also add a little butter and onion for more flavor to the sauce. Then, it gets partially blended.
I have not one, but two secret ingredients to my sauce. One is the roasted pepper and tomato soup. I don’t know why I love this as much as I do, but it adds an extra layer of flavor to the sauce. I also add a few dashes of fish sauce. It may sound a little odd, but it adds that umami flavor that everyone loves. You can control the level of spice with less or more red pepper flakes; I love a spicy tomato sauce so I opt for more. I also add a finely shredded zucchini to boost the nutrient level of the sauce (and sneak in an extra veggie to my kids’ bowls of food).
The meatballs are a mix of ground turkey breast and pork. I have found that if you use all ground turkey breast the meatballs tend to come out a little dry. I add some ground pork for more flavor and a little more fat to keep the meatballs moist. You can also use ground dark turkey if you don’t eat pork. Panko and eggs are what helps bind the meatballs together and I am a fan of baking on a broiler pan rather than cooking in oil in a skillet or even in a slow cooker. Using the broiler pan helps the excess fat drain when cooking, but still keeps the meatballs from drying out.
Zoodles have been my favorite noodle substitute for years now. I was making them before fancy gadgets that spiralize them into noodles perfectly came out on the market. I used to use a box cheese grater. It worked, but the spiralizers are much more efficient and make a better noodle shape. Just a quick sauté of the zoodles in healthy coconut oil and you’ve got yourself healthy noodles! Don’t forget to top the whole dish off with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
*Makes 4 dozen meatballs and about 6 cups of sauce. For the zoodles, it depends on how many you make.