Oh boy, do I like those meatballs! They feel like cheating with comfort food, but actually have amazing macros, easily fitting into any diet. You can prepare a huge batch of them with little effort and they keep well in the fridge. Give them a try, I am sure you will love them!
This dish feels like something you bring to the table for a special occasion, but really is a good recipe for a weekend meal-prep session. A single meatball is often enough to cover the protein needs for a single meal, but you can easily scale up to one and a half or even two meatballs.
As often, this recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver, and to be precise, by his trip to America, which is, by the way, one of my favourite productions and really worth watching if you have the opportunity. You can feel the American vibe mostly with the tomato sauce, which is like a really good, homemade barbeque sauce and turns this dish into something special. When you cook this recipe, make sure the sauce is really on point. Give it a lot of love and attention, it will be worth it big times.
I’ve made some adjustments to the original recipe, mostly making it easier and faster to prepare and getting rid of unnecessary fat, making it diet friendlier without compromising on flavour.
For the meatballs
- 1,2 kg chicken breast (minced, if possible)
- 800g minced meat (beef)
- 120g parmesan
- 40g polenta
- 50g mustard
- 200g onions
- salt, pepper, powdered garlic
For the sauce
- 690g passata (one bottle)
- 10g cacao powder
- 20g cooking fat
- 100g tomato paste
- 200g onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 250g grilled bell peppers (one jar, in brine)
- a swig of vinegar and soy sauce
- calorie free sweetener to taste
- salt, pepper, thyme, (smoked) paprika
- Preheat your oven to 250°C. Mince or finely chop the chicken breast. Mix with the minced beef, polenta, mustard and finely chopped onions. Season with salt, pepper and powdered (or crushed, fresh) garlic to taste.
- Get a big roasting pan. Divide the meatball base into 12 equally sized portions, roll them into balls and put them into the roasting pan. Be gentle when forming the meatballs, the more force you apply, the harder and denser they will become later.
- Roast the meatballs for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.
- Warm the olive oil in a small casserole. Slowly sautee the chopped onions and garlic until soft and golden. Add salt, pepper, thyme, paprika powder and tomato paste and sautee for a few more minutes.
- Add the passata, finely chopped grilled bell peppers, the brine (if any), vinegar, soy sauce, cacao powder and a little sweetener and lettle slowly cook until the meatballs are ready.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven, but don’t turn in off yet. Taste and season the sauce to perfection (you want it to be a little “over the top” just like a barbeque sauce) and spoon it over the meatballs.
- Divide the grated parmesan cheese over the meatballs and roast in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. Remove from the oven and let cool at least five minutes before serving.
Makes 12 meatballs, served with an appropriate amount of the sauce, each having the following macros:
- 40,8g protein
- 10,4g carbs
- 18,1g fat
Now you only need a nice side dish to go with it. Keep your macro needs in mind and make an appropriate decision. One of my favorite sides for this is a simple fennel salad. Just slice it very, very thin and make a simple, refreshing dressing with salt and lemon juice. A slice of good sourdough bread is always welcome, as is a generous dollop of velvety polenta.