Monday, March 4, 2013

Spiced Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce -- No Bread Crumbs Needed!

Before we went low-carb, one of my family's favorite meals was sweet and sour meatballs. My mom makes them, so of course I made them too. My son could eat just a bowl of the sauce by itself!

I haven't made meatballs at all in the last 6 months, so with Passover coming I thought I'd do a test run on how I'll make these into low-carb perfection. The result: a middle eastern inspired meatball, perfectly juicy and delicious. I quick-roast the meatballs in the oven and get great brownness on the outside without dealing with a pan, or boiling away for hours. Easy and fast, and the results are really yummy. You can do these with all beef and they are perfection. For an added layer of scrumptiousness, you can add in some ground lamb (when I do this, I use 1/3 lamb to 2/3 beef but half-and-half would be good too).

I've topped the meatballs with a simple roasted red pepper sauce that adds freshness and acidity to the dish. You could easily do a tomato sauce here, but we are avoiding tomatoes at the moment. I promise--you won't miss them! I use this same sauce for all sorts of things -- tossed with zucchini noodles, on chicken, you name it. It's very versatile and it works perfectly with these meatballs.

My gang gobbled these up this evening! Luckily, I made a double batch and hid the other half for another night this week.

Low-Carb Spiced Meatballs and Sauce

Spiced Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 pounds extra lean ground beef or a mix of lamb and beef
2 eggs
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 tbsp. Pereg Meatball Spice   
Note: I buy this at a kosher supermarket. If you can't (or dont have the inclination to) find this, never fear! Use the following instead: 1 3/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp additional cinnamon, 1 tbsp. allspice, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground clove

Mix all of the ingredients together by hand, making sure the spices are well incorporated. Give a smell to the mixture -- you should be able to detect the fragrant spices. If not, add a little more! We love these well seasoned. 

Roll into small balls, about 1 1/2" in diameter. You can really make these any size you like, and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Place on baking sheets lined with foil. 

Bake at 450 (425 convection bake) for approximately 15 minutes until cooked through and browned on the outside. 

Remove from the baking sheets, leaving any fat on the foil to be discarded. Place into the sauce (recipe below) and serve! 

These freeze well, either raw or cooked.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce for Meatballs
1 16-oz jar of roasted red peppers (in water, not in oil) Note: you can easily make your own roasted peppers for this recipe
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (if desired)

Puree the peppers in a blender to your desired texture. I like it just a tiny bit on the chunky side, not quite soup-like. 

Heat a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic, and allow the garlic to cook for one minute. Then add in the peppers and salt and stir to combine well. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the flavors have combined. Add in the lemon juice and adjust salt as needed. Throw in the chopped parsley and stir well. 

You can serve on top of the meatballs, or toss the meatballs directly in before serving. This sauce would also be delicious on top of zucchini ribbons (I think we'll have that this week--yum).

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