Lamb Meatball Zoodles
The first time I ever heard of a spiralizer, aka a “zoodler” (as Octavia calls it), I pretty much dropped everything I was doing and burned rubber to my nearest Sur La Table to get one for myself. While we are never gonna fool anyone into thinking they are eating pasta instead of zucchini ribbons, zoodles are as fun to eat as they are too say. Plus they are grain free and super low carb. This recipe for lamb meatballs with cucumber-yogurt sauce and zoodles was well loved by my clients who ate real pasta on the regular, as well as those who live a more BFF Diet friendly lifestyle. Lamb is a great meat option as it is often 100% grass-fed and it breaks up the beef-chicken rut that is so easy to fall into. In general, ground meat is an inexpensive source of protein plus with the fat ground in, it’s a great way to get it in for those of us who squirm at the idea of chewing up pieces of fatty meat. With the fresh herbs and cool yogurt sauce, this dish is a wonderful introduction both to lamb and the joys of the “zoodler”. Enjoy this meal with a mug of bone broth and you’ve got yourself a complete BFF meal.
Lamb Meatball Zoodles Recipe
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 large cucumber
1.5lbs ground grass-fed lamb
1 T salt divided
1 cup plain yogurt (we like Strauss Greek yogurt)
3 cloves of garlic
Splash of olive oil, ghee or lard to cook meatballs
Start by making the cucumber sauce first so the flavors can mix. A thick yogurt is great here as the cucumber releases water and thins it out. Peel the cucumber if it has been waxed and dice, discarding the seeds if they are large and woody. Add diced cucumber, 1 tsp. salt, 1T of the chopped mint and half of the chopped dill to the yogurt. Peel garlic cloves and using a microplane grate 2 cloves of the raw garlic into the yogurt. Zest the lemon and reserve for the meatballs and juice the rest. Strain the lemon juice and add to the yogurt mixture. Taste yogurt for salt and refrigerate until needed.
Next make your lamb mixture. In a large bowl combine the remaining chopped herbs, lemon zest, salt and lamb. Using the microplane again, grate the remaining garlic into the bowl with the lamb and mix with your very clean hands until well combined. (Or use a big spoon if you prefer). These meatballs are best made on the smallish side, as they fall apart when cooking if they are too big, about 1oz each is perfect. That said what is most important here is that whatever size you choose, try to make them all about the same so they cook evenly. Once you have your meatballs made you can pop them in the fridge to rest while you prep your zoodles.
To make zoodles use your spiralizer according to it’s directions. Or, if you don’t have a spiralizer, just thinly slice whole zucchini lengthwise to make more of a zucchini pappardelle. Prep all your zoodles, as the meatballs need a little attention while they cook and once you start it all moves kinda fast.
To finish up heat a large pan over medium-high heat, add in your meatballs and frying oil. Allow the meatballs to cook on each side until brown. Don’t rush moving them around too much, you want each side to get a nice brown crust. A really firm shake of the pan will get them moving around when they have begun to brown, carefully scraping up any that may choose to stick. Continue to cook the meatballs until they are brown and gorgeous on all sides, then remove from the pan and reserve.
Add a little fresh filtered water to the pan you cooked the meatballs in, just enough to coat the bottom and scrape up all the tasty browned meatball shrapnel left behind. Add in your zoodles and season with a sprinkle of salt. The zoodles will steam-saute in around 3 minutes and they need to be served right away. Cook your zoodles until they are just soft, as they very easily can turn to mush. The meatballs make great leftovers, but the zoodles not so much and they are best cooked to order. The yogurt sauce is good for a couple of days but it gets watery fast. To serve, pile up the meatballs on top of the zoodles alongside a healthy amount of the refreshing yogurt sauce for dipping.
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