My make-ahead lunches are almost always spiced chicken or rotisserie chicken with veggies and brown rice, plus some fruit. Or sometimes it's a southwest mix of chicken with brown rice, salsa, black beans, and cheese. Occasionally I switch it up and have tuna wraps, chili, steak, fish, or shrimp. Usually though... it's chicken. I eat a whooooole lot of chicken. While I enjoy my poultry lunches, sometimes I just have to switch it up. This week, I was craving something different: meatballs!
These meatballs are perfect to make on a Sunday afternoon to last you throughout the week. They're great served over spaghetti squash with your favorite marinara sauce, or for my make-ahead lunches, I switched it up and served them over steamed cabbage.
Yum! Or, enjoy them right away for dinner. Ryan loved them over pasta.
However you eat them... they're good.
I was actually craving meatballs for about a week before I made these, so I started brainstorming ways to make them healthy and nutritious (i.e., without the white breadcrumbs and loads of fat). And... success! This recipe only includes healthy, natural, nutritious ingredients: lean beef, spinach, oats (yep - ground oats instead of the breadcrumbs), eggs, onion and garlic, and a bit of milk and parmesan.
The recipe makes 24 medium-sized meatballs, each of which has about 95 calories, 5 g fat, and 6 g protein. Have 4 for lunch with veggies and you have a filling, healthy meal. And they only take about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.
Here's how to make them:
Dice half the onion and 3 cloves of garlic.
Chop the spinach into small pieces.
If you have prepared oat flour, go ahead and use that. But making your own is simple: just ground one cup of old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until fine. Only takes 30-60 seconds!
Heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it's beginning to become soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Add the spinach. Cook until it begins to wilt, about 2-3 more minutes.
Pour the veggies into a large bowl. To the bowl, add the oat flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk (I used skim), 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp each ground pepper, dry basil, and crushed red pepper.
Stir/whisk until all combined.
Add your ground beef and gently mix until combined. Don't overwork it.
Roll the mixture into round balls -- I like to make them slightly larger than golf balls, but you could do smaller or larger. Place on a cooking pan lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Cook at 375 for about 18 minutes or so, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get them slightly browned.
Enjoy! Serve as you wish.
Beef & Spinach Meatballs
For 24 medium-sized meatballs (about 6-8 servings)
-2 lbs 90% lean ground beef
-1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-5 ounces (3-4 cups) baby spinach leaves, chopped into small pieces
-1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (or 1 cup prepared oat flour)
-1/2 cup milk
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese
-3/4 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp dry basil
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
-Preheat oven to 375.
-If you don't have prepared oat flour, add 1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats to a food processor and grind until fine (should take 30-60 seconds).
-Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it's beginning to become soft and translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the spinach. Cook and stir until it begins to wilt, about 2-3 more minutes. Pour the veggies into a large bowl.
-To the bowl, add the oat flour, 2 eggs, the milk, cheese, and spices. Mix well until combined.
-Add your ground beef and gently mix until combined.
-Roll the mixture into round balls and place on a pan lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
-Cook at 375 for about 18 minutes or so, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get them slightly browned.