A few things you might think when you hear that poultry has been substituted for the traditional beef, pork, and veal in a meatball:
- These won’t be as good as the real thing
- These lean meatballs are destined to be dry
- There’s no way my spouse will eat “healthy” meatballs
- If I’m going to spend all afternoon making 2 dozen healthy meatballs, they better be amazing
Well these Skinny Chicken Meatballs are here to make all of your dreams come true. They are juicy, zesty, and busting with flavor as if they came out of a gourmet kitchen.
Here’s the deal on the “skinny” part of this recipe:
- Lean ground chicken breast is substituted for beef, pork and/or veal
- Low-fat dairy includes part-skim ricotta, Parmesan and almond milk
- They have a healthy dose of leafy greens – parsley is much more than just a garnish
- Whole wheat breadcrumbs…need I say more?
- Red wine – check!
The trick to cooking the perfect poultry-based meatball is to cook them swimming in sauce to lock in the moisture. And the best part about this wine sauce – other than the fact that it’s incredibly delicious and simple to make – is that it gives you a reason to open a bottle of red on a weeknight. You’re welcome.
So pop open a bottle of red wine and prepare yourself for a romantic, delicious, date night at home and enjoy these fool-proof, guilt-free healthy chicken meatballs any way you like.
A couple healthy ways to enjoy these scrumptious nuggets:
- Atop a piping hot bowl of whole wheat noodles
- Nestled in a bowl of spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
- Solo in a cute mini skillet or cocotte with a crunchy side salad
This recipe is one of my favorite “go-to” winter dinners and I hope it will become one of yours too!
Skinny Chicken Meatballs with Red Wine Sauce
soy-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, seed-free, shellfish-free, fish-free, bean & legume-free, sugar-free
makes 20 meatballs
- ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp smoked sea salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 lb ground chicken breast
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup red wine
- ½ tsp salt
- Extra chopped parsley, Parmesan and red pepper flakes for garnish
1. In a large mixing bowl. Combine ricotta, milk, cheese, egg and garlic. Stir until combined.
2. Grind oregano, red pepper flakes, smoked salt and pepper together and add to bowl.
3. Add red onion and parsley.
4. Stir in bread crumbs and mash with back of fork to combine.
5. Add chicken and combine with clean hands – don’t over mix.
6. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
7. Preheat oven to 400*F.
8. Coat the bottom of a 9×11-inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
9. Roll 1 ½ Tbsp of meat mixture into balls and place on prepared dish leaving room between them so they are not touching. You should have about 20 meatballs.
10. Roast for 15 minutes to brown edges.
11. Meanwhile mix sauce ingredients in a large bowl, crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
12. Remove meatballs from oven, and loosen from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Reduce heat to 325*F and pour sauce over meatballs.
13. Cover pan with foil and cook for another 20-25 minutes.
14. Serve in a bowl, with a big scoop of sauce and garnished with additional parsley, Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
Photography credit: Courtney Michelle Photography