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Zucchetti and Meatballs


Serves 4

A lighter version of the traditional spaghetti and meatballs, I’ve made it with low fat turkey and low carb zucchetti (zucchini pasta). YUM!
Per serve: 1087kj (259cals); 3.7g total fat (1g saturated fat); 1.8g fibre


You’ll need

500g lean turkey mince*
1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 large egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil spray

2 cans diced tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ground sage
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

2 large zucchini (about 300-350g)

Let’s go

To make sauce:
Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Leave as is or process until smooth.

To make meatballs:
Place all ingredients except oil spray into a large bowl and mix well.  Roll 1-2 teaspoons of turkey mixture in the palms of your hands to make the meatballs. Heat a large non-stick frying pan to medium-high and spray lightly with oil.

Add meatballs and brown on all sides (2-3 minutes). You may need to do this in batches to avoid the meatballs stewing (you need plenty of space between each meatball while it’s cooking so it browns). Return all meatballs to the pan along with the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes but keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn.

Slice zucchini into thin ribbons using a potato peeler. I have this funky little gadget that has a normal potato peeler but also has a blade with a serrated edge that juliennes veges. That way I can have thick or thin pasta – bonus!

Divide zucchetti between bowls and top with meatballs and sauce.


Cook’s notes

  1. Some turkey mince’s are quite high in fat. Make sure you’re getting a lean one. For this recipe, I’ve used one that only has 1 gram of fat per 100g. If you can’t find a lean variety, use extra lean pork or chicken mince or buy turkey breast and process in the food processor.
  2. You can actually pop the meatballs straight into the sauce and cook for about 12 minutes. Sometimes I cook this way when I just don’t have the time (or energy), but the dish does taste a little better when you brown meatballs first as it gives a lovely deep flavour.
  3. Leaving the zucchini uncooked gives a lovely crunchy texture but if you like a silky smooth pasta, whack it in boiling water for 20 seconds, drain and serve.

Why it’s good for you
When you’re in need of comforting food, it’s hard to go past spaghetti and meatballs but I find that it’s a bit heavy and I feel a bit blurgh afterwards. This recipe replaces the traditional beef with lean turkey which is lower in fat and high in tryptophan, and uses vegetable pasta in place of wheat pasta giving more vitamins, minerals and helping your digestive system work through dinner.
Per serve: 1087kj (259cals); 3.7g total fat (1g saturated fat); 1.8g fibre


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