Over the years, adding vegetables to my ground meat recipes (meatballs, meatloaf etc.) has been a great no hassle way for me get more veggies into my diet (and in the diets of those who aren’t huge vegetable fans). As a Holistic Nutritionist I try to sneak extra veggies into every meal, and meatballs were no exception. Luckily the addition of veggies to this classic comfort food worked like a charm…and I didn’t sacrifice flavor to do it.
I came across the original recipe for these meatballs on @movementmenu on instagram. The clever use of coconut cream for moisture and the cauliflower/kale veggie combo sold me on trying them. The ingredients list alone seemed to promise moist, delicious, flavorful meatballs…it didn’t disappoint.
I paired the meatballs with homemade marinara sauce served over zucchini noodles. Not only is this meal low carb, but if you omit the maple syrup from the sauce, it’s also Whole30 compliant! Oh, and did I mention kid approved? Looking for a great meal kids won’t know is full of vegetables? Give this a try!
KALE, CAULIFLOWER & BACON Meatballs with Marinara Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
1 ½ lb grass-fed lean ground beef
4 strips bacon, diced
1 cup cauliflower rice
Large handful of Kale (I used lacinato Kale)
1/3 cup coconut cream (cream typically clumps together at the top of the can if left in the fridge)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger (1/4 tsp if using dried ground ginger)
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 large egg
2 – 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
Large handful fresh Basil
2 tbsp coconut oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
Salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, cauliflower rice, kale, coconut cream, ginger, garlic, onion and salt. Mix well with your hands (I use plastic gloves when doing this), evenly dispersing the ingredients.
- Add egg and mix well again. THEN, chop bacon into small pieces and add bacon bits. Mix for the last time.
- Using a rounded measuring tablespoon, scoop 2 tbsp of meat mixture per meatball. Roll between your palms, making well rounded balls. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Cook meatballs in the over for 22-26 minutes, until middles are just cooked through.
- While meatballs are cooking: Prepare the sauce
- Heat coconut oil over med-high heat in a large sauce pan.
- Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are transparent
- Add both cans of whole tomatoes. Use spoon to smash tomatoes into smaller pieces. Stir for 3 minutes.
- Add Basil. Stir, and let simmer for 5 mins.
- Add maple syrup. Salt to taste. Leave sauce on simmer.
- When the meatballs are finished, add them to the sauce and let simmer for 10 mins.
- Ready to serve over noodles of your choice! * I use spiralized zucchini
*This recipe is adapted from www.themovementmenu.com
**This recipe is whole30 approved (if you omit the maple syrup from the sauce)
***This recipe is great for meal prep. The meatballs and zucchini noodles stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheats well.