Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Mushrooms and Grass-fed Meatballs
When I first started making pesto, I put that shit on everything. In fact, I still do. I'm obsessed with it, and this is one of my favourite ways to consume it. I ditched refined grains a long time ago, and these zucchini noodles are genuinely life changing when it comes to "pasta". After finishing a big bowl of spaghetti I would go into a food-coma, but after this meal you're ready to rock n' roll. Nourishing, nutrient dense, and absolutely delicious- this is truly one of my favourite meals. It's pretty light, consider pairing it with a batch of oven roasted crispy sweet potato fries (recipe HERE).
You will need a spiralizer for this recipe. Spiralizers are super awesome, not that expensive, and I use mine so often. You can spiralize beets or carrots to toss in salads or stir-frys, make crispy sweet potato spirals.. one spiralizer = infinite ways to make your veggie consumption more exciting.
- 1/2 a pound of organic, grass-fed, pasture raised ground beef (I always choose medium*)
- 1 zucchini per person eating
- two handfuls of your choice of mushrooms (I opted for oyster)
- 1-2 tablespoons of pesto per zucchini used (my recipe for Activated Walnut & Wild Rocket Pesto is HERE.)
- 2-3 tablespoons of high quality cooking fat (I use beef tallow, you can also use grass-fed beef, or ghee. Coconut oil is OK too, but not as flavourful)
- sea salt, to taste
- organic black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp of organic rosemary (dried)
- 1 tsp of organic sage (dried)
- chili flakes
* Note: Medium ground beef refers to the fat content; most people are used to "lean ground beef" which is a travesty in my opinion. If you're buying high quality, organic and pasture raised meat: the fat is one of the most nutrient dense aspect of the animal. We store fat soluble vitamins in our fat cells, and so do animals; a cow that has lives a long, natural life in the sunshine and grazing in pastures has stored up a lifetime of nutrients in that fat. There is more to animal meat than simply protein- in fact, I truly believe the fat is more valuable. Opt for medium ground instead of lean if it available at your butcher, not only is it more nutritious, but it is definitely more delicious.
1. First, prepare your meat balls, I keep it super simple for this recipe; gently mix in the sea salt, pepper (a few big cracks of both), the rosemary, and sage using your hands (don't over work the meat).
2. Form meat balls, and pan fry in 1 tablespoons of your chosen fat until golden brown (on medium-high heat).
3. While the meat balls cook, spiralize your zucchini. Keep the skin on!
4. After the meat balls are done, remove them from the pan, and add in another 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen fat.
5. Add chopped mushrooms and cook for a few minutes before adding in the spiralized noodles to the pan. Keep an eye on them, stirring/ flipping them often- it only takes a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat when they begin to get golden brown.
6. On a plate, add a heaping tablespoon (or two) of your pesto to your zoodles + mushrooms, and mix in.
7. Add meat balls, and season with another crack of sea salt, and chilli flakes.
1. If you're not into pesto, these zoodles are equally delicious simply cooked in some beef tallow (or grass-fed butter or ghee), or you could go for some organic tomato sauce.
2. The 1/2 a pound ground beef is much more than a serving, but I like to make a larger batch of meat balls and have them in the fridge to eat the next day.
3. If you are cooking for more than one person, it's annoying but important to pan fry your zoodles only one zucchini at a time. If you try cooking two or more, they just end up steaming instead of getting a little crispy (and delicious).
4. I like to add the pesto to the noodles after they are removed from the heat because my pesto recipe is raw and FULL of fresh nutrients and enzymes. If you're cooking with tomato sauce, you could add the sauce to the pan, and warm it up with the noodles in the pan.
5. This recipe is equally yum using shredded chicken instead of meat balls. I often fry up a batch of zucchini noodles when I have leftover chicken, and just add it in.
To learn how to make an epic beef bolognese sauce (with sneaky liver!) to top your zucchini noodles with click HERE.