Pasta and meatballs are a classic, comforting dish, but there’s more possibilities than the carb-heavy grain pasta and beef meatball version. You’ll find these chicken hemp meatballs to be a little lighter and more nuanced. Over a helping of spiralized zucchini, it’s the perfect match of freshness and taste, but let’s not stop there. With a rich but bright Romesco sauce, this dish opens up a whole new world of Mediterranean flavor.
Tips: Enjoy these meatballs over your favorite primal noodle. You can use raw zucchini noodles or lightly saute or roast them prior to eating. You can also serve these meatballs over cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash or sweet potato noodles. If you don’t have hazelnuts, you can switch up the romesco sauce by substituting almonds or walnuts. For more flavor, roast the nuts prior to blending them into the sauce.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
12 oz. ground chicken thighs
2 Tbsp. EVO Hemp Hearts
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. almond flour
½ Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼-1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 red bell pepper (about 1 cup) + drizzle of Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil
½ roma tomato (about ¼ cup)
3 Tbsp. hazelnuts
2.5 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1.5 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ Tbsp. EVO Hempseed Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups spiralized zucchini
Chopped parsley and hemp seeds, to garnish
Preheat your oven to 375 ºF. Rub avocado oil all over the pepper and tomato and place it in the oven on a parchment covered sheet pan or oven-safe dish. The tomato will only need 15-20 minutes to be nicely roasted. Remove the tomato and set it aside once roasted and soft. Flip the pepper every 15 minutes or so until the skin of the pepper is nicely charred. This will take about 50-60 minutes in all. Set the pepper aside with the tomato to cool.
In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients together. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes. Form 9-12 meatballs from the mixture and place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan or glass dish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 ºF.
Peel the stem of the pepper off and discard the stem and the seeds inside of the pepper. Run the pepper under water and peel off and discard the skin of the pepper. Place the pepper, tomato, and remaining romesco ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until the nuts are small and a sauce forms. You can leave the sauce a little rustic and chunky or blend it more to make it smooth.
Spoon some of the romesco sauce over your zucchini and top with the chicken meatballs. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and garnish with chopped parsley and hemp hearts. Enjoy!
Nutritional Information (3 servings, per serving):