Loaded Meatballs with Sweet Pepper Sauce

These meatballs are incredible flexible and a great way to add extra veggies and whole grains into a snack or tote-able meal. I chose extra coarse bulgur for this recipe because it’s quick and barely takes any effort to add a whole grain. If you choose to add more meat or cut out some of the grain or veggies, just decrease the number of eggs (they’re the “glue” that holds everything together).

 

Dairy Free. To go Gluten Free: replace the bulgur with cooked rice or quinoa. Make it vegetarian: cut out the beef or replace it with shiitake mushrooms (chopped fine) from Cedar Rock Ridge.


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Tools: I got a small round squeeze-handle scooper from Kroger on Salem a while back and it made portioning out & shaping the meatballs a breeze.

Time: Appx 1 hour, 40 min

Servings: 6 to 8

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped fine
  • Small drizzle oil
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 5 small carrots, chopped fine
  • 1 young garlic, white & greens chopped small (Kellogg Valley Farms)
  • 2 green onions,white & greens chopped small (Kellogg Valley Farms)
  • 3 pastured eggs (Bluebird Hill Berry Farm)
  • 1 lb ground beef (Ratchford Farms)
  • Salt & pepper

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, peeled & chopped
  • 3 cups pineapple chunks (frozen or fresh)
  • 15 small sweet peppers
  • Pinch of all spice
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Meatball Method:

1) Combine bulgur wheat and chicken broth. Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring between every minute. Set aside and let absorb any residual liquid. Stir in parsley.

2) Heat a pan over medium with a small drizzle of oil. Add celery, carrots, garlic, and onions; season with salt & pepper. Stir and cook until soft, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add to bulgur wheat and let cool.

3) Season beef and eggs with salt & pepper, combine thoroughly. Add to cooled grain & veggies. Refrigerate for about an hour for flavors to develop.

4) Preheat oven to 400°F. Scoop quarter-sized balls onto two lined baking sheets, spaced about an inch apart. Bake for 20 minutes.

Sweet Pepper Sauce Method:

1) Optional: Roast peppers under broiler until blackened on two sides to develop the flavors.

2) Remove stems from peppers and put everything into a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes.

3) Puree: use an immersion blender, food processor, or traditional blender. (If you use a traditional blender, make sure to remove the center from the lid and cover loosely with a kitchen towel so you don’t get a hot mess – literally – all over yourself and your kitchen.)

Enjoy: Serve the meatballs and sauce as a secretly nutritious appetizer or enjoy as an all-in-one meal. Use the leftovers in meatball soup.

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