Monday, June 12, 2017

Black Bean and Vegetable Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles


In my life I've met some pretty amazing homemade tomato sauce makers. But I'll admit this is an area where I'm more likely than not to get a little help from the store. Still, it's got to be good and I want to be able to pronounce all the ingredients. I also really want any sweetness to come from ripe tomatoes and not a pound of sugar. Fortunately, the selection of good store bought sauces has grown a lot over the years.


A fairly recent addition to the ready made line up is Uncle Steve's and I was eager to try it as soon as I saw the short and wonderful all organic ingredient list. I mean, here it is - Italian tomatoes, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, fresh basil and black pepper. Seriously, that's what I'd put in a tomato sauce if I was actually going to make one. Notice there's no sugar but the sauce has a wonderful natural sweetness. They really nailed the flavor on this one!


I was totally tempted to take my new sauce for a spin with some lasagna or baked ziti. But, since it's currently 92 degrees in the city, something lighter seemed a better choice. Zucchini noodles have been happening a lot here lately and I decided to pair them with some veggie meatballs. I'm always experimenting and tweaking my recipe and this one is my absolute favorite. The combination of sauteed vegetables, black beans and walnuts really gives it a meaty taste. But the ultimate secret to making them soft and moist is to let them simmer a little in the tomato sauce after they're baked.


Feel free to use a spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles but I actually prefer a julienne peeler. It's a small, inexpensive tool that fits in my drawer and is easy to clean. Plus it means I don't include the watery core of the zucchini in the dish which helps to keep it from getting soggy. Either way, enjoy!

Black Bean and Vegetable Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ingredients (4 Servings)
    Vegetable Meatballs:
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 Onion, peeled and diced
    • 1 Large carrot (or 2 small), peeled and diced
    • 1 Clove garlic, peeled and minced
    • 1 Cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 Egg
    • 1/4 Cup breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 Cup walnuts, course ground or finely chopped
    • 1/4 Cup chopped parsley
    • 1 Tablespoon tomato sauce
    • 1/2 Teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
    Zucchini Noodles:
    To make the vegetable balls, add the olive oil to a large skillet along with the onion, carrot and garlic. Saute on medium heat for a few minutes until the vegetables soften and set aside to cool.

    Add the beans to a large bowl and mash them down with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the cooled vegetables, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, parsley, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. 

    Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.

    Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Scoop meatballs (I used a 1 oz. scoop) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Heat the tomato sauce in a pot and add the cooked meatballs. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

    To make the zucchini noodles, add the olive oil to a large skillet. Peel and julienne the zucchini and add to the pan. Using tongs, stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the meatballs and sauce.

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    This recipe was sponsored by Uncle Steve's. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Lemony Angel Hair Pasta with Carrots and Zucchini


    I'm in summer recipe planning mode these days and definitely going for dishes that are light, easy and quick to make. Because I want to be outside in the warm sunny weather and not in the kitchen chained to my stove. Bonus points for dishes that taste good at room temperature as well as hot. Extra extra bonus points if I can work a few veggies into it.

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Pan Roasted Smokey Potato Salad with Corn and Bacon


    We are officially two weeks away from the unofficial start of summer. Yup, Memorial Day weekend is when I've always considered it the beginning of the season because that's when summer time shares typically start, summer work schedules go into effect and I start to want grilled food and potato salad every weekend.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    Watercress Salad with Honey Sauteed Apples and Almonds


    Can we talk about my favorite new healthy green that's not kale? When I say new I mean new to me, of course. Watercress has been around a long time and I had heard of it but I'm ashamed to say I hadn't tried it. Somehow I had this idea that it was super bitter or something so I kept buying spinach and kale and passed it by. Not anymore!

    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Baked Pine Nut Falafel Sliders with Hummus Slaw


    It's time, once again, to celebrate one of my favorite foods. Yes, this coming Saturday, May 13th, is International Hummus Day and it totally makes me happy that hummus is so widely appreciated.

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    Corn and Bacon Fritters with Apricot Yogurt Sauce


    I am all about the sweet and savory together. Yes, that's why I love chocolate covered pretzels but it's also why I like apple tarts baked with cheddar cheese, sweet fruit compotes over brie and maple syrup on bacon. And I know just where I get this particular set of taste buds, too. Yup, just like mom. So it makes sense that I make a sweet and savory treat for her for Mother's Day, right?

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Cherry Blossom Cocktail


    I've always been completely obsessed with cherry blossoms and eagerly wait for them every year. They bloom for such a short period of time and I check the city parks regularly to make sure I don't miss them. For the record, I get like this in the fall, too, when I'm planning a road trip to see the leaves turn and monitor the foliage report like a stalker. Anyone else?

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Smoked Gouda Pretzel Cheese Dip


    Serious pretzel lover here! Not the hard, crunchy ones you snack on. Wait, I mean, yes, those, too. But I'm talking about the soft, bready ones. Is bready a word? Let's just say it is. Pretzels are all my New York childhood memories of getting the big salty ones from street vendors when my mom and I went to watch the ice skaters at Rockefeller Plaza. Pretzels are my jam.

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Liz's Shabbat Apple Cake


    Today I have the pleasure of sharing a recipe with you that comes from my friend Liz's new book, The Ultimate Jewish Shabbat Dinner. Liz writes the blog, The Lemon Bowl, and she shares many recipes from her Jewish and Syrian childhood. Given my passion for Middle Eastern cuisine, I'm obviously a fan.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    Potato Hash Shakshuka


    The first time I saw shakshuka on a restaurant menu, I flashed to my first experience of huevos rancheros, the popular Mexican breakfast dish. The two aren't really similar at all except for the tomato sauce but, since my first huevos experience wasn't good, I kind of mentally banned eggs and tomato sauce, no matter the cuisine. I know better now, of course.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Strawberry and Honey Oat Scones


    I'm always fascinated by cooking / lifestyle programs that talk about entertaining over breakfast. I mean, I love entertaining. Come for lunch, come for tea, come for dinner or drinks. It's all good. But please don't come for breakfast. Unless you either enjoy cold, half eaten toast or like having your breakfast around Noon. I just can't fathom it any other way.

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bagel Balls


    Being a native New Yorker, I'm used to a bagel with a schmear (of cream cheese) as a given. Every deli has it as the morning special with coffee, as do the street vending carts that offer breakfast options in midtown. It's our thing. Our delicious thing. The only question, really, is what kind of bagel you want with your schmear.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Chocolate Crumb Snack Cake


    Last weekend I was home, wanting a beautiful spring day but, instead, watching it snow outside. I was alternating between watching that giraffe cam and snuggling with my dog (my own personal petting zoo). Are you guys into the giraffe thing? I have no idea how I got sucked into waiting for a giraffe to give birth but now I'm involved so I'll wait it out until she has that baby and then go on with my life. But, in the interest of sanity, I decided to bake a cake.

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    Loaded Egg Salad Bagel with Honey Roasted Bacon


    What's that expression about, if you're going to do something then do it right? Well, this is a breakfast sandwich done right. More of a weekend project for me but definitely a special Sunday morning treat. Maybe even an amazing brunch for two after a good long sleep.

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Middle Eastern Potato Snack Platter


    I'm impatient for spring to arrive. It always happens to me around this time of year. I feel like I've endured two months of freezing cold and snow and now I want cherry blossoms and warmth. Soon, I know, but not quite yet. So, while it's still cold and bleak, I'm catching up on my streaming movie watching and that requires snacks.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    Smokey Black Bean Burgers


    The other day I was looking through my refrigerator and cupboards and pulling out ingredients to make lunch. No particular plan. Just seeing what I have and what I could make with it. My own personal episode of Chopped?

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Tex-Mex Potato Nachos


    It feels like I haven't been in my kitchen for weeks but, actually it's more like one week. One whole, incredibly long week of being flat on my back with the flu. Yes, that plague that's been going around since the new year finally caught up to me and all I can say is that it's evil. And I need a serious break from chicken soup for a while. Oy.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    Heart Shaped Chocolate Cherry Mini Cakes


    It all started when I decided to make some Valentine's treats for friends and neighbors. I figured I'd do something fun and colorful but my baking cabinet was sadly out of red or pink sprinkles. So I headed to the store to restock and saw heart shaped sprinkles (what??) and red candy melts and heart shaped cutters and I bought them all without even knowing what I was going to do with them.

    Monday, February 6, 2017

    Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache


    So the Superbowl is over, right? And one of the teams won, correct? My lack of interest is showing, isn't it? In fairness, I'm a big fan of football food. I just prefer eating it while watching puppies playing with a ball. But that's not important now. What is important is that we all stuffed ourselves with copious amounts of game day snacks and now it's time to focus on the sweets. Yup, Valentine's Day is coming!

    Sunday, January 29, 2017

    Soup and Salad Wraps Dinner


    I think I've made it known in the past that I'm obsessed with soup in cold weather. And by cold weather, I mean starting right after Labor Day. And by "made it known" I mean multiple times per year going back forever. So, it's a soup-fest around here for most of the year.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    Game Day Eats Ideas and Finds!


    I'm back today with more game day food ideas but with an eye toward convenience. Let's face it, sometimes you've just been cooking too much and too many folks are coming and you need some shortcuts. Or, at least, recommendations for good products to buy to supplement the snacks you've made yourself. So here then are some items I've tried lately that deliver on flavor, convenience and quality. I hope some of them will find their way to your game day festivities. Enjoy!

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    Southwestern Chorizo Filled Potato Poppers and Pineapple Salsa

    Southwestern-Chorizo-Filled Potato-Poppers-and-Pineapple-Salsa

    I'm deep in game day recipe mode around here. Between regular Sunday sporting events on TV and the big game coming up soon, it's a bit of a snack fest around here. And the cold rainy weather outside is not doing anything to remove the desire to eat yummy food in front of the TV inside, if you know what I mean.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Ultimate Crispy Topped Cheddar Mac and Cheese


    Superbowl is almost here. Are you getting really excited? Are you cheering for your favorite teams and planning a big get together with lots of great snacks? Me, too! Um...OK...maybe just the food part. Seriously, I have watched football (the things you do for men), I understand football (sort of, in the sense that I know the rules of the game) but I'm really just here to eat.

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    Spiralized Root Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas and Walnut Pangrattato


    This recipe title is a mouthful, I know. And it really should be even longer because it's technically a walnut gremolata pangrattato. Ouch. So many big words for such a simple and easy to make dish. Healthy, filling, delicious and on the table in 30 minutes. Let's discuss, shall we?

    Monday, January 2, 2017

    Southwestern Black Bean Salad with Sweet Potato Wedges


    Happy New Year, friends! I have to say that I love when New Year's Day falls on a Sunday. I mean, I'm all for resolutions and new beginnings and all that. But to go from chugging a bottle of champagne (I admit nothing) to presenting yourself at the gym the next morning on a bowl of high fiber, whole grain cereal, is a little daunting. By which I mean, it ain't happening. So this way, we kind of get a bridge day to get it together.