Zucchini Noodles With Meatballs And Tomato, Mushroom Sauce

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Our weekday dinners are carb free, and I am always looking out for new and exciting ideas and inspiration. “Zoodles” short for zucchini noodles are readily available at most stores now days. You can also make them yourself if you have a spiraliser, but to be honest, why would you even want to?

Last night I served this dish for dinner, and my 17 year old daughter seemed suitably impressed, saying “at last, our carb free pasta dish recipes have been solved” It looked as though she had had some kind of an epiphany, and so I thought this may be something worthy of sharing on my blog. Look, there is no way that zoodles can replaces the satisfaction of the real deal pasta, but I promise it does comes pretty darn close! My 71 year old Mother in law has never seen or heard of a zoodle in her life, was convinced that I had actually made proper pasta noodles out of zucchini, which I thought was rather amusing and sweet, and in an ideal world would be a revelation in itself. I didn’t try and explain to her, my rational was that, it would be better to allow her the pleasure of that thought, rather than ruin the magical image she had of eating real pasta zucchini noodles.

I know what you are thinking … did my husband and son like it? Well, YES, they loved it, and it was my secret ploy , that as long as I had meat in the dish they would be quite content.

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Serves 4

Ingredients –

  •  1 x 350g packet of Zucchini noodles – Steamed in the microwave for about 3 minutes

For the meatballs –

  • 500g mince – I used a lean mince (You can substitute this with chicken or pork mince too)
  • ½ onion – finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. meat spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

For the sauce –

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 x punnet button mushrooms – sliced
  • ½ onion – finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 3 x tins of whole tomatoes
  • 2 x bay leaves
  • Chilli flakes – optional
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Recipe –

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  • Place the mince, onion, parsley, spices, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well with your hand. (I did not use an egg to bind it, as I found that it binds easily enough)
  • With wet hands roll the mince into meatballs, whatever size you like, (I feel that they are nicer if they are bite size.)
  • Place the meatballs on a baking tray sprayed with spray and cook and bake for 15 minutes

The sauce –

  • Fry the onions in olive oil until translucent
  • Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for a further 5 minutes,
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, making sure that the whole tomatoes are broken up.
  • Add the bay and parsley
  • Add the sugar – I use xylitol
  • Season well – taste as you go!
  • Let it simmer on a low heat until slightly reduced and thickened
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and stir
  • Place the steamed zoodles on a serving dish and pour the meatball/tomato sauce over
  • Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and Parmesan shavings
  • Enjoy!

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Dee’s notes –

  • Leave out the meatballs for a vegetarian version; add chopped olives to the sauce
  • Don’t over cook the zoodles, as they get mushy
  • You really don’t need eggs and bread crumbs to make meatballs, I promise it does work.
  • The meatballs with have a rustic look; don’t try making them look too perfect
  • This recipe is wheat free, gluten free and dairy free, if you leave out the Parmesan
  • I know this recipe looks long, but honestly it took me ½ hour to make from start to finish!

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