By Anne Safran Dalin
One of the main food groups in New Jersey is Italian food. Being a real Jersey girl includes loving Italian food (even if you’re not Italian) – and I’m definitely a Jersey girl through and through. Open any newspaper or magazine and you’ll read top 10 lists of to-die-for pizza and mouthwatering pasta dishes – one local website even lists over 170 Italian restaurants! That’s a lotta meataballs for such a small state!
Even though I’ve chosen to give up eating regular pasta, I will not give up eating meatballs! I love meatballs with spaghetti squash, “zoodles” (noodles made from zucchini), or Shiritaki noodles (almost carb-free noodles found in many supermarkets or Asian markets). I try to avoid using regular breadcrumbs in my meatballs, and have to get creative.
One solution is to use shredded zucchini, which is very low carb. The zucchini adds much needed moisture. For the meatballs and meatloaf recipe, I use all the same additions I’d use with real breadcrumbs, and voila… tender and tasty meatballs. Mangia!!
– 1 lb chopped meat (beef, turkey)
– 1 egg (extra-large or jumbo)
– 1 medium zucchini, shredded
– 1 tsp garlic AND onion powder
– 2 TBS sugar-free ketchup or tomato sauce
– ½ cup parmesan cheese
– ¼ cup parsley flakes (fresh or dried)
– ½ tsp pepper
– ½ tsp dried oregano (optional)
– ¼ cup of water
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees for meatballs / 375 degrees for meatloaf. Line a small pan with foil and mix the chopped meat with the rest of the ingredients.
Put meat mixture into meatloaf pan or form into a rectangle about 8″ long by 3″ high. Brush with some sugar-free ketchup. Bake until internal temperature is 160 degrees, about 35 minutes. ~ Let it sit at least 10-15 minutes before slicing, otherwise the meatloaf will crumble.
To reheat: Melt butter or coconut oil (or use no-stick spray) in a small fry pan over medium heat. When the butter or oil starts to sizzle, place a slice of meatloaf in the pan and cover. When the meatloaf is lightly browned / crispy and heated through, turn over and continue to heat without lid, until the second side is browned.
Form 20 small meatballs– place on rack and bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Put into saucepan with your favorite lower carb tomato sauce (6 grams of carbs with 2 grams of fiber is my go-to type of sauce). Simmer on low for about 15 minutes so meatballs absorb the flavor. Serve them with “zoodles”, Shirataki noodles or over cauliflower rice. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Enjoy!