You read that title right. Easy Zoodles with Meatballs. AKA Green zucchini noodles smothered in a delicious pasta sauce and hearty meatballs. Yes please!
Now, for all you die-hard pasta fans out there, I promise you can also make this recipe WITH pasta. Any kind you want! However, I think you should give zoodles a chance!
Yes, sometimes they get a bad rep. Sometimes they can be overcooked and be super sad and soggy and watery.
Not today, my friends! These noodles perfectly fit in to replace those carb heavy pasta noodles, especially if you prefer them al dente. These zoodles remain slightly crunchy and give off this deliciously fresh vibe that pairs SO well with the hearty sauce. Best of both worlds. Plus you’re pretty much eating an entire zucchini. You’re basically the poster child for health.
AAAAAND! For all you January Whole30-doers, this one is FOR YOU! This meal is completely paleo + Whole 30! Wooooo.
So let’s delve in, shall we?
Before making this meal, I seriously couldn’t remember the last time that I had meatballs. I feel like the last time I had them was in middle school when I would eat those Chef Boyardee cans. Who even knows what the “meat” is inside those cans….but hey, I was young and those were microwaveable. Don’t judge me! Update: I just googled the ingredients…and needless to say, I will never eat those again!
These meatballs on the other hand, are filled with grass fed beef (<3), some spices, minced garlic, fresh parm cheese, and an egg and some breadcrumbs to hold them together.
They are delicious, flavorful, crunchy on the outside, melt in your mouth inside. Not dry at all. Ugh, I could just keep going on and on about these meatballs. (Not sure I’ve ever said that in a sentence before, ha!)
The meatballs mixed in with the sauce is JUST DIVINE. And to step it up one more level, I added mushrooms. And red pepper flakes. Yup. Level 2 reached. Pairing them with those fresh zoodles, LEVEL 3 EXPLOSIONNNNNN!!
HOWEVER. Since it is January and since we have a million other goals to try and reach, I used a can of jarred tomato sauce. Don’t hate me! Sometimes, ya just ain’t got time to make it from scratch. Plus, I absolutely love the canned version I get from Aldi. It’s afforable (only 1.99!) and you can read ALL of the ingredients and best of all, IT HAS NO ADDED SUGARS! See ingredient list below. Yeah, I was so excited about it that I took a picture.
So, if you don’t have an Aldi near you, I suggest going to your local grocery store and reading the labels! Try and buy a jar with NO added sugars!
Okay, moving on. Stepping off my soap box.
I’m one of those people who DOES NOT like to mix my noodles in with my sauce. I like to have them separated. I always prefer way more sauce than noodles. However, you’re more than welcome to just mix it all in one pot to make your life a lil bit easier.
This recipe is truly amaze-balls. (Get it….cuz of the meatballs?) Okay, i’m done. Find the full recipe down below! Enjoy! <3
Zoodles and Meatballs
Hearty, packed full of flavor homemade meatballs paired with easy zucchini noodles!
- 2/3 lb grass fed ground beef (see notes below)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (and more for topping the noodles!)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 tbsps oil (I used avocado oil but olive oil would work great)
- 1 jar pasta sauce (with no added sugars!)
- 4 oz fresh white mushrooms (I used half of a package)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix together the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper well with your hands. Form into 1 inch balls. Should make around 22-24. Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Sauté meatballs until they're brown on all sides. Cover with a lid, turn heat down to simmer and let them cook through until they're done. (Since the meatballs are so small, this didn't take long for me, probably only 5 or so minutes in the entire process so keep an eye on them!) Once they're done cooking, take them off the heat.
Cut the ends off of 3 zucchini. Then cut them in half. Use your spiralizer to make them into noodles. Set them aside.
Cut your mushrooms. Begin sautéing them in a large pan with salt and pepper. Cook for only about 1 minute. Add in your entire jar of pasta sauce to the pan. Reduce heat to simmer. Let the sauce thicken up! Once thickened, add your meatballs and red pepper flakes into the sauce. While all of that is simmering, begin to cook your zoodles!
Add oil to a pan and add in your zucchini noodles. Cook for only 2-3 minutes - tossing them often on low to medium heat. They will release some water so it's possible you may have to drain them. Do not overcook them! Add salt and pepper to zoodles to taste. (Be generous with the salt!)
Next, you can either add in the zoodles to your sauce or you can add your zoodles to a bowl and top with your sauce. I added more parmesan cheese and more red pepper flakes to mine! Enjoy!
I used 2/3 of a pound of grass fed beef. That's what I had in my freezer. You can definitely use 1 whole pound of beef for this recipe!
Also, this serves 2 but makes leftovers!