In search of a sneaky veggie-packed meal that’s also delicious? Look no further! I used finely chopped mushrooms in these meatballs, instead of breadcrumbs to make them paleo and keto-friendly! I also added zucchini to the tomato sauce for another sneaky vegetable, as well as a deliciously creamy sauce. The whole family will love these meatballs over spiralized veggie noodles or whole-grain pasta!
Growing up my mom would occasionally make meatballs, but it was usually for sweet and sour meatballs. They were delicious! Meatballs were never really on my radar to make myself until I started dating my (now) husband. He would make his Italian grandmother’s meatballs for me and they were delicious! Made with breadcrumbs, eggs, and herbs these meatballs are to be carefully crafted and rolled, then baked. It’s a time-consuming but delicious recipe!
I decided I wanted to experiment with making my own meatballs that were paleo and keto-friendly. I decided to try substituting the breadcrumbs for finely chopped mushrooms. Not only would this replace the breadcrumbs, but it would add a sneaky vegetable to the meal! My husband had no clue there were mushrooms in the meatballs until I told him, so if you have picky eaters, this is a golden recipe!
Adding sneaky vegetables to the meal didn’t stop there though. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to throw a zucchini into the tomato sauce, and wow! I think it made it taste so good! It creates a creamy texture and slightly sweet flavor to the tomatoes. And your kids will never even know!
You’ll need the following ingredients for this recipe:
-whole-grain pasta or veggie pasta
Meatballs with Zucchini Tomato Sauce
- 1.3 lb ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- ¼ cup almond flour
- olive oil for coating meatballs
- 28 oz can tomato puree
- 1 zucchini
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- whole grain pasta or veggie noodles
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground beef, egg, mushrooms, seasonings, and almond flour. It's easiest to just mix it by hand!
- Pour some olive oil into a small bowl.
- Roll the meat into small meatballs and coat each of them in olive oil. Set aside.
- Heat a pot on the medium heat (I used a ceramic dutch oven). When heated, add half the meatballs. Cook for about 5 minutes and then gently flip, careful not to break the meatballs. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the pot (it’s okay if they’re not fully cooked). Repeat with the rest of the meatballs.
- While the meatballs are cooking, place the tomato sauce, zucchini, salt, and garlic powder in a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Place all of the meatballs in the pot. Add the sauce. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.