Looking for a new meal prep idea? In this guest post, nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan and caterer Melissa Clark share their zucchini meatball recipe from their new book The Feel-Good Family Food Plan. It makes two batches, enough for a family of four, so you can serve half for lunch and freeze the rest for your next meal.
Dr Joanna and Melissa put their expertise together to create family meal solutions that are easy, practical and healthy. In their book, The Feel-Good Family Food Plan, they focus on easy ways to make healthy eating a habit at home, from quick breakfasts to lunch box ideas to tips on getting kids to love veggies.
Their zucchini meatball recipe is a great meal prep idea that lets you enjoy a good meal even on a busy day. As this recipe makes enough meatballs for two meals for a family of four, Dr Joanna and Melissa suggest serving half of it with cooked polenta then freezing the rest for later. Admittedly, if you have hungry teenagers, they may devour it in one meal! Give this delicious recipe a go and serve a healthy meal for your family to enjoy.
- Digital scale
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Box grater
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Ovenproof frypan
Meatballs (serves 8)
- 500g extra lean beef mince
- 500g extra lean pork mince
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 150g (1½ cups) mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and chopped
- 115g (½ cup) ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for frying, plus extra if necessary
- 700ml jar tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
- Basil leaves, to serve
Soft polenta (serves 4)
- 1L (4 cups) water
- 1 tsp salt
- 190g (1 cup) polenta
- 40g (½ cup) parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Add the beef, pork, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley, capers, ricotta, eggs and pepper to a large bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined. Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Gently fry the meatballs in several batches until browned all over, adding a little more oil to cook each batch if necessary.
- Return all of the meatballs to the pan and pour in the tomato passata. Half-fill the passata jar with water and shake to loosen the remaining tomato, then pour into the pan. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the sauce is rich in colour.
- After the meatballs have been cooking for 15 minutes, cook the polenta. Combine 4 cups (1L) water and the salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Slowly pour in the polenta while whisking to ensure there are no lumps. Simmer the polenta, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Stir in the grated parmesan and the oil.
- Serve the polenta immediately, topped with the meatballs and basil leaves.
Nutrition per Serve
- Energy 2060kJ
- Protein 39g
- Fat 19g (Sat Fat 6g, Poly 2g, Mono 9g)
- Carbohydrate 39g
- Fibre 3g
To start your meal prep for the week, try incorporating this meatball recipe with other healthy meal prep ideas from this article.