Garden meatballs (Veggie and meat kofta) – Phase 2

This is my go-to Phase 2 snack from Haylie’s cookbook. You can find two versions of the meatballs on her site: Italian garden meatballs and regular garden meatballs.

I’ve made these thrice already. Each time with some slight differences. The first time I tried the Italian version but increased the amount of mushrooms, used asparagus tips since I did not have enough spinach, had no green onions, but added some finely chopped green chillies, and used some spices. I also used equal quantities of ground beef and ground turkey – 1 lb. each. The second time I did the Italian version but skipped the oregano, but followed the rest to the T. The third time I added some chopped celery and chicken meat instead of turkey. While they all tasted very good, the chicken meat was too soft, so I had a hard time forming meatballs with my hands. The meat sticks to my hands and it was just too slimy. One of the reasons I make these for every phase 2 snack is because my husband LOVES them! The other reason is, as I already mentioned before, phase 2 falls on the weekend for me. And I like to go on hikes during the weekend, so carrying these meatballs is very easy. So here’s a rough version of the ingredients I used and you can mix and match as per your taste. They make about 24 meatballs – which is good for 2 people and 4 snacks. That’s 8 servings – 3 meatballs each serving.

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground turkey
4 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
4 green onions (scallions), finely chopped, white and green parts
1 bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 green chillies, finely sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon middle eastern 7-spice powder (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.
With dampened palms, roll the meat mixture into golf-ball-sized meatballs and transfer them to a 9-by-13‑inch baking dish or a baking sheet. (you can line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. I noticed that after 20 minutes, the meatballs have oozed out a lot of liquid that has filled the tray. I take them out and use kitchen towels to absorb all those juices. Discard the towels and put them back in for another 5 minutes. This will help brown the meatballs a bit.
Serve warm or room temperature. These meatballs also freeze well. You can also serve these meatballs with some cilantro-mint chutney.

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