This Turkey Amaranth Meatball Bake with Cauliflower ticks all the nutritional boxes for me: it’s full of protein and vegetables, it’s also low in fat and makes a pretty satisfying meal all on its own. The meatballs consist of low-fat turkey mince and amaranth, which makes the meatballs light, tender and spongy (if you would like to find out more about Amaranth click THIS LINK).
Amaranth is a weird and wonderful ingredient (very very healthy!) which isn’t necessarily exciting to eat on its own (personal view) but works really well in meatballs (meaty or vegetarian alike). Amaranth expands as it cooks producing a multitude of translucent, sticky, delicate balls (tiny even after cooking) which are responsible for creating a light texture in the meatballs. If you’ve never used amaranth I strongly recommend you give it a try. It’s an ingredient worth knowing.
The meatball mixture is quite sticky, which makes breadcrumbs or any other binding ingredient not needed. Which is turn also makes this a gluten free recipe (yes, amaranth is gluten free)! The mixture can be prepared in advance (even the night before), which will save time when cooking the actual dish. Amaranth itself can also be cooked in advance (and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days), but don’t forget to rinse and drain it well (see Instructions below).
I usually like to add fresh herbs and spices to my dishes, but I’ve used onion and garlic in their powdered form in the meatballs as I wanted them to have a smooth consistency (plus powder works better with dense textured ingredients, such as the turkey mince). My serving suggestions for this dish include fresh parsley (or chives or coriander), avocado (which I add liberally to a great number of dishes I make, simply because it’s fantastic!) or a bit of grated cheese.
Yields 4 portions
20 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 1/2 large cauliflower (chopped into large florets)
- 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 3 tablespoons white wine
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- For the Meatballs:
- 400 g lean turkey mince
- 1/3 cup amaranth (this should yield about 1 cup cooked amaranth)
- 1/2 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste (be generous with both)
- Boil the amaranth according to packet instructions. Rinse in cold water (it will rinse better if you stir the amaranth while the water is running) and drain well.
- Combine all the meatball ingredients (including the amaranth) and stir thoroughly using the back of a large spoon (you can prepare the meatball mixture in advance, even the night before).
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6.
- Form the meatballs (you will need to wet your hands every once in a while as the mixture will be sticky). Set aside.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a medium/large casserole dish, season, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven (but do not turn it off) and set aside (leave the cauliflower in the dish).
- While the cauliflower is in the oven prepare the sauce. In a large frying pan heat up 4 tablespoons of oil and fry the meatballs over a medium/high heat for 2 minutes on each side to brown them. Remove from the heat and transfer the meatballs onto a large plate using a slotted spoon (leaving the juices in the pan).
- Heat up the same pan again, add the garlic, tomatoes and wine and stir to combine. Add the Tabasco, paprika, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cook over a medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place the meatballs in the casserole dish (with the cauliflower in it), pour the tomato sauce over the whole thing, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes. Ensure the meatballs are cooked through before serving.
Preparation time does not include the time needed to cook the amaranth.
To see more recipes containing Amaranth click THIS LINK