Everyone is trying hard to eat more cleanly these days (all days…) and I’m obviously no different. Considering the work we’re trying to do here with FFF, it would be silly not to be working on improving my own physical wellness, along with the rest of the spokes of a whole-life.
Yesterday, I was craving meatballs. I love these meatballs they sell at Costco. They’re made with chicken and spinach and the brand name is Rosie’s. They’re organic and awesome and I could just envision sinking my teeth into some. But I didn’t have time to go to Costco.
I had 20 minutes before school pickup so I cruised into Safeway with a rough idea of what it would take to make meatballs. I knew I had some basil at home and I also wanted to throw in some spinach. I also had some cauliflower at home. I hated cauliflower until I figured out that it’s like rice or tofu – you just use it absorb the awesome flavors of the ingredients around it!
I use an app called Zip List to find recipes and add them to my grocery list. When I searched for meatballs, this is the recipe that caught my eye…Turkey Meatballs In Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce With Burrata. I was in love just after seeing the picture!
I thought I had some burrata at home, but it turned out to be fresh mozzarella. Not a horrible sacrifice there.
Because I wanted to lighten up the wheat, instead of using any pasta, I thought I’d see if anyone had any suggestions for cauliflower as a “noodle.” Luckily, I came across Popular Paleo’s Cauliflower Lasagne. I used her awesome recipe to make the cauliflower “noodle.”
First, I cut up the cauliflower.
Then I chopped into tiny bits in the food processor.
I threw the mushed cauliflower into the microwave for 6 minutes, to help it smooth a bit.
Then I added 3 diced garlic cloves and 1 egg to the mixture and put it onto a baking sheet. (I followed Popular Paleo’s suggestion to use my baking mat…since I have it and never use it!). I formed it a bit so the loaf would be about 1/2-1 inch thick and about the size of my casserole pan. I baked it at 350 for 35 minutes.
While the cauliflower got started baking, I put together the meatballs. My final inspiration for these guys came from Slim Sanity.com. I mixed up the meatballs and formed them into bigger than golf-ball sized balls. I put them on another baking sheet lined with tin foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
I threw these guys in the oven with the cauliflower. I popped the kiddos in the car and dropped my son at his 30-minute Tae Kwon Do class. I popped back in, removed them both from the oven (after the cauliflower had baked for 35 minutes) and went back to pick up my little man.
By the time we got back, everything was cool enough to work with. I put some tomato sauce (I used The Silver Palate’s Tomato Romano sauce, which was awesome!) on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by the cauliflower “noodle.” It fell apart as I removed it from the baking sheet and mat, but I put it back together in the dish. More sauce, some shredded mozzarella cheese, the meatballs and the rest of the sauce – the whole thing looked like this:
I baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes, at which point I took it out and put huge chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese on top of each meatball. I gave it another 15 minutes at 350 before losing my patience and putting the broiler on it. 3 minutes of high broiling was probably a little too much for the fresh mozzarella but it still came looking amazing.
I was ready to grab my fork right there. I set the table, opened a bottle of wine, poured my husband a glass, and…went running!
After running nearly 7 miles, 2 of which were ball-breakers on the track, I got home to a quiet, clean house/kitchen and poured myself a glass of wine. I grabbed my husband’s plate and fork and PLOWED through a huge serving of this meatball lasagne. Aaaahhhh. It was well worth the wait and ROCKED my world!
Here are the details:
Baked Cauliflower “Lasagne” with Spinach/Basil Turkey Meatball
- 1 head of cauliflower (yields 6 cups chopped, raw)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
- 2 eggs
- 20 oz lean ground turkey (I used 97/3)
- 1 cup basil, chopped
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 egg
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking Spray
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 jar good tomato/pasta sauce
- 1 package fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese
Cauliflower Noodles: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Remove the leaves and core from a head of cauliflower and chop in the food processor. My cauliflower yielded 5-6 cups, shoot for that on your end so that the egg ratio is close. Cover and microwave the cauliflower for 6 minutes. Press the cauliflower with a paper towel to remove some of the liquid, then add the remaining ingredients and mix.
(From Popular Paleo:) There is no added fat (other than egg) to the cauliflower, so the sticking potential is high. Be sure to use one of the two. Spread the cauliflower dough/batter onto a large silicone baking sheet (or use tin foil with baking spray on a cookie sheet). You have to eyeball whatever baking dish you plan to use for the lasagna and think how large to spread out the cauliflower so that it will fit squarely in your baking dish. Bake the cauliflower for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. It needs to be a little overcooked and dried out since it will be soon layered with tomato saucy goodness.
Spinach Meatballs: (From Slim Sanity) Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl with your fingers. Roll mixture into balls (mine were about 3/4 the size of my fist), and place on tin-foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Once both are cool, spread some tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking/casserole dish. Cover with the cauliflower “noodle.” Spread more tomato sauce and cover with 1 cup shredded cheese. Place meatballs on top of that and cover them with the remaining pasta sauce.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, place a chunk of fresh mozzarella cheese on top of each meatball, return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes. If the cheese doesn’t look bubbly enough, put them under the broiler for a minute or two until they turn the color you prefer.
Cool about 10 minutes and serve with a glass of yummy red wine!