Skillet Zoodles with Basil Meatballs. What are zoodles? In this case, zoodles are not animal noodles (I think I am really aging myself with that statement. For those that are curious, google Libby’s Zoodles from the 80’s). Zoodles are zucchini noodles made by working a zucchini through a spiralizer.
If you’ve had zoodles, you know how good they are. If you haven’t had them, it’s time to join the club. Maybe I’m wrong, or lucky, but these things seem to be everywhere. Take a closer look at the produce section next time near the coolers at the grocery store, and I’m sure you’re going to find them all sliced up and packaged. If not, buy a couple zucchini’s and a spiralizer and you’re off into low carb zoodle heaven.
But why go through the effort of making zucchini noodles? Simple. I love pasta. It was never a staple in the past though, because I knew I would eat it ALL. I can’t seem to help myself. Hands in, plain jane, straight from the pot, no toppings, in my mouth. And back for more. It’s a weakness. Now a small void. For those of you like me, that can’t eat pasta, but LOVE pasta, these zucchini noodles are perfect. Yeah, I know spaghetti squash works too, but these are easier and take far less time to cook. And honestly, I love the flavour of these Zoodles more than I do the spaghetti squash. AND they are easy to make. No guesswork, no cleaning up pasta off of the backsplash (it was once a practice or joke to throw a cooked spaghetti noodle against the backsplash. If it stuck, it was done.), just spiralize, sauté, top, eat. Simplicity is gold my friends.
That desire for simplicity is what drove this recipe. There isn’t much to it and there’s a reason for that. Weeknights are busy for some people. Me included. Easy tasty recipes are a perfect fit for when you are busy. I don’t know about you, but I can’t handle much more broccoli, sweet potato, and chicken. Don’t get me wrong. I love all of those things, but eating it every time I need a quick meal really starts to teeter on the side of boring. So let’s change that. Healthy meals to the table that are nutritious, great for replenishment, and fast. The toughest part of this recipe is rolling the meatballs. Which you don’t have to do. You could simply fry the ground beef or pork and add the spices. Even easier. See what I just did for you?
I use simple seasonings in the meatballs because I actually like to taste the meat. You can change, add, subtract to whatever suits your taste buds. Try to use the fresh herbs though. They really round out the meatballs nicely.
If you’re like me, then grabbing consistent amounts of meat and rolling uniform meatballs is a challenge. Like snowflakes, no to are the same. A great tip for consistent sized meatballs is to use a scoop of some kind whether it is a round spoon, ice cream scoop, etc. That way you know for sure you are getting consistent sized meatballs. Just remember to wash the ice cream scoop before you go digging into your Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Once the meatballs are rolled and you’ve taken pictures of your symmetrically perfect little balls of deliciousness, you need only chop some leeks (or scallions), and slice some tomatoes. I didn’t add garlic to the mixture as it is already in the meatballs, but you can if you like. You also may not have to worry about vampires for a while (vampires hate strong garlic).
That’s it. It’s cooking time. The meatballs can be done on the BBQ as an alternative. It would give a nice flavour and save from splattering some grease on the stove. It only takes a few minutes to get the leeks and tomatoes cooked, and the zoodles are a minute. You’re eating dinner before you even realize you’re done cooking.
So like, try, comment, and share. Have an adult beverage, play snakes and ladders with the kids, or throw sticks in the backyard with the dog. Don’t worry, you’ve got time.Print
Skillet Zoodles with Basil and Meatballs
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 3 Servings
- Method: Skillet
Sauce (not really sauce)
- 400g (2-1/2 cup) grape or cherry tomato
- 100g (1 cup) chopped leek
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 clove garlic
- 15g (1/8cup) scallion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2 Zucchinis spiralized
- 2 tbsp chopped basil for topping
- Slice the cherry/grape tomatoes in half.
- Add the salt, pepper, and sesame oil and toss.
- Set aside to let flavours mix.
- Chop the leek and set aside.
- Add the ground beef to a bowl.
- Finely chop the garlic.
- Finely chop the scallion.
- Add all remaining meatball ingredients to the bowl of ground beef and mix thoroughly.
- Form uniform meatballs using a spoon or ice cream scoop, and your hands to press firmly.
- Heat a skillet on med-high heat.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a skillet.
- Fry the meatballs on all sides until brown and cooked (internal temp of 165F).
- Remove the meatballs and set aside.
- Reduce heat on skillet to med.
- Drain most of the fat from the skillet (you can leave a tbsp if you wish for a little beef flavour in the veg).
- Add the leeks to the skillet and sauté until soft.
- Add the tomato and toss until warm (2 mins).
- Remove the tomatoes and leeks from the skillet and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and heat.
- Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes while stirring.
- Add the tomatoes back in and toss to mix.
- Add the meatballs back in with half of the basil and toss to mix.
- Garnish the dish with the remaining basil.
- Pour a glass of red wine, plate, and enjoy!