Marinara Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles Salad
Here is another recipe made with 100% grass fed organic ground beef. In this one, I used an 85%-15% fat ratio instead of the 90% lean that I usually suggest. On this recipe a little more fat is helpful in preparation because it aids in the meat mixture sticking together to form balls. It’s not that many more calories but do take this into consideration if you are choosing to make these. Especially if you’re making them with a side other than salad like I have done here. This shouldn’t be new to you, just a reminder.
The great thing about Dr. Zach’s HCG 2.0 protocol is that we are encouraged to experiment. If you’re like me and you don’t have the week’s meals planned out ahead of time, then you can gauge where you are on calories and carbs and plan accordingly. So, since you are constantly counting your calories and carbs throughout the day you will know what to stop and get at the grocery store on the way home. Maybe you can have the zucchini noodle salad along with this recipe or maybe you will settle just for a side salad. Zucchini has about 30 calories and 6 grams of total carbs per 1 cup while romaine lettuce has half of that. Whether you are in Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the protocol, you will need to do this so it’s a new habit you need to form. That’s exactly what it is for me, a habit. This is why we say, it’s not a “diet”, it’s a lifestyle. When you get to P3 of the protocol, it’s these types of habits that are going to sustain the weight loss we worked so hard for in P2. This plan is not only about getting to our ideal weight. It’s even more about developing ways to live, prepare food, and eat in a way that brings peace to this area of our life.
Storing Fresh Herbs
As for some of the ingredients in the meatballs, I used fresh parsley and garlic. When you see fresh herbs as ingredients in these recipes, don’t let that worry you. They are difficult to keep on hand and if you do get them it’s hard to use them all before they go bad. Here are a few tips on how to store fresh herbs to make them last longer:
Snip off the bottoms of the stems.
Don’t rinse until you are ready to use them, you want the leaves completely dry.
Put enough water in a glass or jar so that only the ends of the herbs are submerged.
Whether you are storing them in the refrigerator or at room temperature depends on the herb. For example, Cilantro loves the cool temperatures of the refrigerator while basil is ideally stored at room temperature. Parsley, on the other hand, can do either.
If the water starts to discolor after a few days, change it.
Fresh parsley, cilantro, and basil can last up to two weeks longer when stored this way.
About the Zucchini Salad
So, I paired the meatballs with the zucchini noodle salad for a couple reasons. First being, that it is refreshing and delicious with only a few ingredients. I added bell pepper and onion but you could also use other low carb vegetables, like tomato and cucumber. Experiment! The other reason being that you can easily turn zucchini into noodles with a vegetable noodler. We all know that anything that resembles or can pass as a carb substitute is a good thing. What I’m kind of going for here is spaghetti and meatballs. If you don’t have a noodler you can buy zucchini noodles in the frozen food section, just make sure there are no sauces or flavorings already added. I would suggest thawing them out and letting them dry as much as possible on some paper towels before using. They will be a bit softer than fresh zucchini but will work just fine.
For the Family:
You can always make more sauce and serve these with a whole wheat spaghetti noodle or whatever type of noodle they like. There are so many different types out there, I can’t keep up. I have seen everything from chickpea to edamame. It’s nice to have options but I probably spend an extra 20-30 minutes at the grocery store because of it! I just try to pick the best option (lowest net carbs and least sugar) that they will still eat. It’s always a toss-up, especially with the kids but their health is worth the extra time spent.
Prep/Cook Time: 35 minutes
1 lb ground beef
1 large egg
3 TBS almond flour
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 TBS fresh parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Also, about 2 cups of your favorite low carb marinara sauce
Combine all ingredients other than marinara sauce into a large bowl. I use my hands to thoroughly mix all the ingredients. The beef should come together as a soft paste rather than separated and firm.
Form into balls weighing about an ounce a piece.* Place in baking dish that is large enough as not to over-crowd.
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Heat the sauce.
Spoon warm sauce over meatballs and serve.
*Take note that with 1 lb of ground beef I tried to go with 12 meatballs but ended up with a couple more. Since mine are a bit on the smaller side, I made a serving be 3 meatballs (about 3 oz). If you come out with 10-12 meatballs, make your serving with only 2 since they are bigger.*
Zucchini Noodles Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
2 medium zucchini, spiralized
1/2 cup yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS MCT oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp basil (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Combine zucchini, bell pepper, and onion into mixing bowl.
In a smaller bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Pour dressing over salad and toss well.
For a downloadable copy of the recipe click here Marinara Meatballs with Z salad