Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Broccoli Pesto

 

Finding meals that are fast and nutritious can be challenging when the last thing you want to do is cook.  This dinner comes together quickly and is great for multi-tasking to get it all done in about 30 minutes.  Chicken meatballs are a great alternative to ground beef and lighter on the digestive system.  Add in the veggies and optional spinach and you have upped your iron content.  


The flavor is explosive!  For those that love pesto but would like to increase your fiber and nutrition, this is a wonderful alternative to traditional basil pesto.


Chicken Parm Meatballs with Broccoli Basil Pesto

20 minutes to a fantastic dinner, easy on the stomach for those Crohns warriers.

Servings: 4

Prep time: 20

Cook time: 20

Ingredients 

 8 oz Thin Spaghetti

For the Pesto
 

  • 1 large head broccoli, roasted (per instructions below)
  • 1 tsp olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup Fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup Grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • handful of roasted pinenuts
  • *optional - handful of baby spinach, stems removed

 

For the Meatballs:

 

  • 1 lbs Ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
     

Instructions


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

 

Roasting the Broccoli:

Cut the stems from the broccoli fairly close to where the head starts branching out.  If the heads still remain large, grab it by the top and pull apart into smaller pieces.  You are aiming to keep the broccoli as even in size as you can, so it cooks evenly in the oven.  Toss with the 1 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and fluff with your hands.  Roast for 20 -30 minutes until the edges of the broccoli start browning.  Remove and cool.  Raise oven temperature to 450.


While the broccoli is roasting, begin the meatballs and put a large pot of water on to boil for the spaghetti.
 

For the Meatballs:

 
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatballs.  Wet your hands to keep the mixture from sticking.  Mix thoroughly with clean hands until the spices and cheese are evenly distributed.  Pinch off about 2 tbsp of meat mixture or use a scoop, whichever your preference.  Roll this in your hands to form a ball.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (for no cleanup!). 


Roast for about 15-20 minutes, using a meat thermometer check for 165 temperature.  Once the meatball has reached 165, it's done - if you like bit more browning, turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the oven.

 

Toss pasta with broccoli pesto along with some olive oil and top with chicken meatballs. Serve with freshly shaved parmesan. Enjoy!


While the Meatballs are baking, prepare the pesto:

 

Place all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor and pulse until well blended.  Start adding the olive oil a bit at a time, until you reach the consistency you prefer.  You can add more or less oil as desired. 

 

Putting it all together:

 

Add some of the pesto mixture to the pasta, and using tongs or a wooden spoon, toss together until evenly distrubuted.  Add more or less of the pesto mixture per your personal taste.  This pesto is not as 'sharp' as straight basil pesto, so taste as you go, adjust for salt, pepper.  Add the desired amount of pasta to a large bowl, top with as many meatballs as you wish.  You can sprinkle with a small amount of parmesan cheese if you desire, top with some fresh ground pepper, and serve with a toasted slice of bread.

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