30 December 2008

Zucchini Vermicelli with Meatballs

It was my plan to do leftovers tonight but shortly after 1 o'clock this morning my neighbour and I ate the rest of the curry. So I decided to try these "low-carb" zucchini noodles from Recipe Zaar.

Zucchini Vermicelli

4 zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Grate zucchini into long strands. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let the bowl sit out for 1 hour to temper the noodles, tossing once or twice. Because they are so thin, the noodles don't require cooking.

Note: I wasn't able to use the whole zucchinis because I kept accidentally grating my fingers as I got toward the middle... so I chopped up the rest and put them aside for some future meal (and/or to rot in my refrigerator). The vermicelli was OK... a lot lighter than pasta, but I'm not convinced that tomato sauce is the right companion. It might go better with pesto and/or as part of a pasta salad recipe.

The meatballs were adapted from Julie Van Rosendaal's meatloaf recipe in Starting Out. I changed it to use cilantro because I didn't have any parsley... I love cilantro, but in retrospect, it's probably not the best choice for a meatball accent. But overall the meatballs are good, though they taste perhaps a little too much like saltines. You can use bread crumbs or quick oats instead.

Julie's Meatballs

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper


1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, sautéed onion and garlic, crushed crackers, yogurt, tomato sauce, egg, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Mix everything together with your hands until it's well blended. Shape into walnut-sized balls.

3. Cook as many as you like in a skillet with a little olive oil, rolling them around until they brown on all sides. Pour spaghetti sauce over the meatballs, and simmer them in the sauce until they've cooked through (If cooking without sauce, they should take about 15 minutes).

Raw meatballs can be frozen on a cookie sheet, then transferred to freezer bags to store for up to 4 months. Cook as directed straight from the freezer -- there's no need to thaw them first.

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