Greek Meatball with Zucchini (Recipe)
What does this giant zucchini have to do with pasture raised protein? Why, it's Meatball Time, of course!
Did you ever wander through your garden and say to yourself "I'll pick that perfect little zucchini tomorrow," and then when you remember, perhaps only a couple days later, it's so huge it won't fit in the picking basket? Or perhaps you've discovered just such a beauty, left on your porch by a gardening neighbor? Don't despair! You could just feed it to the chickens, who will be very happy with the gift. But why share? Prepare for a winter's supply of delicious meatballs and meatloaf!
If you've been following us for a while, you've heard this before. But it's such a great way to use some of the bounty of summer it bears repeating! Believe it or not, grated zucchini makes an excellent substitute for the bread and liquid called for in typical meatball recipes. It's a nice tip if you're low carb, gluten free, or just want to eat more vegetables. But in the One Straw kitchen we use zucchini in meatballs because it's delicious. And abundant!
One of our favorite recipes is included below, but the substitution is easily made for any recipe. As a rule of thumb, for every 1 lb of ground meat use one really big handful (about 1 C) of grated zucchini, lightly squeezed. Omit the bread/crackers and water/milk called for in the recipe. Obviously you're not eating enough meatballs in one sitting to use up that whole monstrous zucchini. But while you're grating, don't stop at one cup. Grate it all up and freeze it in 1 C portions on a tray (on parchment or a silicon mat for easy removal) then transfer to a freezer bag or container to use all winter.
Greek Meatball Recipe
- 1 lb ground beef, and/or ground pork (we often make a triple batch with 2 lbs beef and 1 lb pork)
- 1 C grated zucchini, squeezed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 C onion, chopped fine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp fresh oregano (1/2 tsp dry)
- 1/4 tsp each cumin, cinnamon and coriander
- pinch nutmeg
Mix all ingredients together. Form balls or patties. Bake at 350 degree for 25-30 minutes or dredge in flour and pan fry. Cook to an internal temp of 160 degrees. Remove to a platter and top with the following garnish.
Garnish for Meatballs (highly recommended!)
- drizzle with olive oil
- sprinkle with lemon juice
- grind on some pepper
- scatter with torn fresh mint leaves
- dust with coarse salt
Farm Kitchen Tip #1: Freeze the zucchini portions in a shape that fits nicely in your freezer container. Lesson learned the hard way...
Farm Kitchen Tip #2: Double or triple the batch of meatballs and freeze some for later! Freeze raw, formed meatballs on a parchment covered tray. Store in a freezer bag. Bake frozen meatballs at 350 deg for 30-40 minutes.
Farm Kitchen Tip #3: Do you balk at the bother of forming all those little meatballs? Make portion-sized patties instead. This cuts down on the time and tastes just as good!