Italian Meatball Bake w/Zoodles

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Italian Food isn't usually what you think of when you *think* low-carb BUT there are many pasta-less options. One of my favorites is Zoodles -- julienne cut zucchini -- very pasta like in consistency and very flavorful. A fantastic side to this Italian Meatball Bake recipe!!

I make this recipe and divide into 2 - 1/2 to freeze for later and 1/2 for now.

Italian Meatball Bake

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp Splenda

1lb bulk mild Italian sausage
1lb ground beef
2 Tbsp parsley (dried is fine but use fresh if you have it)
2 eggs
1 c grated Parmesan Cheese (you want the green can stuff for this)
1/2 c almond flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 c warm water

8 Slices Provolone Cheese

In a large sauce pan, add olive oil, chopped shallot and garlic and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add all seasonings and stir into oil mixture until fragrant (a minute or 2) and then add rest of ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat while assembling and browning the meatballs.

Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Form into 2-inch meatballs. Brown meat balls in a little olive oil or bacon fat in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When well browned on every side, transfer to a baking dish. Ladle sauce over meatballs and completely cover with the sliced cheese, overlapping the slices to cover. If you want to freeze half of the recipe, this would be the point to do so. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes (if baking from frozen, probably more like 45 minutes) until cheese is melty and golden.

Makes approximately 24 meatballs – 3 meatballs per serving so 8 servings - Each serving is 435 calories, 9.2g carbs, 1.8g fiber = 7.4g net carbs.
A little more about Zoodles -- there are lots of different nifty gadgets to make julienne cut veggies. Mine is a low tech one purchased at the grocery store and it makes quick work of making Zoodles.

To prepare I generally will blanch my zoodles in boiling water for a minute or 2 and then drain very well. Then they go into a skillet with olive oil, butter, salt & pepper and sauteed for just a minute or 2 (you don't want them to get too mushy). Top with whatever herbs and cheese you like. 

Shaved Parmesan is about my favorite!! Run out and get yourself a julienne cutter AND it is NOT too late to plant an extra zucchini in the garden!