A simple, nutritious dinner recipe of meatballs with vegetables

A quick recipe for a healthy meal. A dish that is filling, nutritious and tasty as well. This meatball with mushrooms, asparagus and avocado meal is all this. It uses very few ingredients and gets ready in a snap. The ingredients are packed with nutrition and heart-friendly fats. And it's keto friendly as well.

Dinner at home is generally light, no fuss meal. A typical meal at my place includes some meat (any kind) with some nice fresh, lightly sautéed vegetables, on the side. Veggies increase the nutrient quotient of the meal. It keeps the family healthy and satiated. I like to include a variety of veggies to the meal, to ensure that we eat healthily.

Last night I cooked meatballs and served it with avocado, asparagus and mushrooms and garlic bread as an accompaniment. It was a simple meal but packed a nutritional punch. Here is a simple meal that you can try if you want to try something different. This is a perfect meal for anyone who is on a keto diet plan. It prepares in a jiffy, and the ingredients are flexible. You can play around with the veggies.

Meatballs with mushrooms, asparagus and avocado – Serves 2

Ingredients for the meatballs

You will need the following ingredients for the meatballs -
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 500 grams meat, with a little fat, minced fine (I used lamb, you can use chicken or another meat of your choice)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp. pepper powder
  • 2tbsps. Extra virgin olive oil (you may use other oils)
  • Salt to taste or ¾ tsp.
  • Finely chopped green chillies to taste
  • Finely chopped mint leaves
  • Finely chopped cilantro – green coriander

Preparing the meatballs

As mentioned earlier, it is a fairly simple recipe and quick to put together. To make the meatballs, mix all the ingredients listed above, with the exception of salt and oil and refrigerate for a ½ hour. The reason salt is not added at this point is that it makes the ingredients release water, and will make the mixture runny. We don't want that; the consistency of the mix should be firm. And the oil is meant for frying.

The fat in the meat enhances its flavour and also makes it ideal for a keto meal. You may trim the fat, but then the meatballs won't turn out soft and succulent.

When you are ready to cook the meatballs, add the salt to the mix and shape the meatballs. I shape them like an egg – slightly oval. You should get around 12-14 meatballs, with 500 grams of meat.

Tip 1: Keep a bowl of water with you, when shaping the meatballs. Wet your palms, before shaping the meatballs. Doing so will prevent the mince from sticking to your hands and you'll be able to work better
Tip2: Use a large skillet, as it is easier to work with. If using a small one, avoid placing all the meatballs into it, all at once, as this could hamper the cooking

Cooking the meatballs

Heat the skillet and tip the oil into it. Keep the flame on medium heat, and drop in the meatballs. Cook them for a minute, and then flip them over. This allows the juices to remain inside. Cover and cook the meatballs for 6-8 minutes, before flipping them over once again and cooking them for another 6-8 minutes. You'll notice that they've turned slightly brown, an indication that they are done. Don't worry, the inside will be perfectly cooked. You will need to alter the time depending on the meat that you use, Chicken mince, for instance, would cook faster, as would fish or other seafood.

Transfer the meatballs to a plate, leaving the oil and juices on the skillet - the veggies will be sautéed in this.

Ingredients for the veggies

You can choose veggies of your choice. Cauliflower and broccoli, carrots, turnips, peas and beans and even potatoes can replace the veggies that I used.
  • 8-10 Asparagus
  • 1 packet mushroom (I used button mushrooms)
  • 1 avocado
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4-6 garlic pods
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Prepping the veggies

Trim the woody, white ends from the asparagus and rinse them well. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Halve and stone the avocado, spoon out the flesh and mash it with a fork. I like avocados mashed smooth; you can chop it into chunks or small bits if you like.

Cooking the veggies

Add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to the oil and juices on the skillet and sauté the asparagus and mushrooms until they are cooked. I don't let them get mushy - I like them al dente. You know the veggies are done when the asparagus go bright green. Mushrooms also cook fast.
Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and finely minced garlic and salt and pepper and drizzle over the mashed avocado. You can add chilli flakes to it too or maybe some herbs like parsley or basil.
That done, you can plate the veggies and the meatballs and sprinkle a dash of pepper powder before you serve it.

Making Garlic Bread

I picked up a baguette at a bakery and cut it into thick slices. You can use any bread of your choice.

To make garlic bread, add crushed garlic along with mixed herbs to butter and spread it on the thick slices of the baguette. Wrap it in aluminium foil and bake it for 20 minutes in the microwave, set on convection mode. You can also make herb bread, just substitute the garlic with dry herbs of your choice.

Your meal is ready to be devoured.

Know your food

Eat healthy home cooked food to maintain a balanced diet. Eating healthily also means having knowledge about foods on your plate. Here is a low down on the health benefits of this meal
  • Avocados: Are an excellent source of vitamin A, folate, & potassium. They are rich in vitamins C, E & B6 and contain a substantial amount of iron, protein and magnesium. They are very high in fat, but fat of the healthy kind, which is good for your heart and arteries
  • Asparagus: Asparagus stalks are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C and iron, potassium and folate and are high in fibre that keeps your gut healthy and arteries clean. It contains purines and must thus be avoided by people with a medical history of gout
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms are low in calories while being rich in minerals such as selenium, phosphorous, potassium, copper, calcium, magnesium and zinc. They are also a food source of B vitamins, namely thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine. Some varieties of mushrooms can boost the immune system, while wild mushrooms can be toxic
  • Lamb: Like all meats, lamb provides healthy amounts of protein and iron
  • Olive oil: A heart-friendly oil that is rich in monounsaturated fats that are known to lower bad blood cholesterol levels (LDL) and keep the heart healthy

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