Juicy meatballs is usually a food that toddlers and kids love. I’m not sure what it is about them and everyone gets so excited. Is it the shape? Is it the texture? Is it the shape? Those veggie packed meatballs are slightly different on what you are used to as they are equally or even more juicy but they are packed with so many nutrients from the vegetables. Before we discuss how to make those Greek yummy meatballs, you should check out the Greek meatball soup which is equally delicious.
What you will need
- Ground beef. In our family we feel is very important to eat pasture raised grass fed and grass finished beef. While we like that the animals are treated well and getting the space and the feed that they deserve, on the same time those animals are free from antibiotics and more nutrient dense. Just be sure that you choose 15% fat or more to ensure that the final meatballs will be juicy.
- Lots of veggies. And when I say a lot, I mean it! The extra vegetables will make those meatballs extra juicy and tender. I had done those with so many vegetable combinations and today I’m presenting what is most popular at the moment in our house.
- Oats. Traditionally, either bread or breadcrumbs are used in Greek meatballs as a binder. I decided to try oats, blend them in my blender down to flour consistency. It did the job just fine and it is a healthier alternative.
- Egg. We love buying pasture raised organic eggs as they tend to have higher amounts of Omegas and they are more nutrient dense.
- Herbs and spices. Those make a huge difference. You can use mint, parsley, oregano, thyme, cumin, pepper. All of them or a combination of them.
What did I put in the lunchbox
I love using
- A portion of meatballs. I kept the size small so its easy for Panos to eat each meatball in two bites.
- A portion of quinoa salad. We love quinoa as it is a great plant based protein with lots of health benefits. If you want to see how I made this delicious salad keep reading.
- A side of fruit. We had bought very nice kiwis and mango this week. Perfectly ripen and ready to be devoured. As I had said before it is important to dress up a kid’s lunchbox. So I cut the fruit in heart shapes using
my veggie cutters*. This is a great way to have your kids eat more vegetables and fruits.
How to make the quinoa salad
Simply toss all the ingredients together and you will have the best quinoa salad ready to go in no time. You can eat it by itself as it is already full of nutrients with high amount of plant based protein from the quinoa and lots of Omega 3s from the hemp. Or you can serve it along with a good portion of the meatballs. Panos loves this combo!
Ingredients for quinoa salad
2.5 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup hemp seeds
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 cups diced cucumbers
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ceppers
salt and pepper to taste
Veggie packed meatballsCourse: Lunch, DinnerDifficulty: Easy
1 pound 15% fat, grass fed ground beef
1 medium white onion finely chopped
2 medium carrots shredded
1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
1 clove of garlic finely minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cauliflower florets
2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven at 375F
- In a blender, blend the oats to create an oat flour. You can use store bought oat flour and skip this step. Add this in a mixing bowl.
- In the blender, chop finely all the vegetables: onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower, mint, parsley
- In the mixing bowl, add the ground beef, chopped vegetables, ground oats along with the rest of the ingredients
- Knead for 5 minutes making sure that you combined all the ingredients well
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Form small meatballs in the size of ping pong ball
- Place the meatballs in the sheet tray and bake for 30 minutes
- Turn the meatballs and bake for another 10 minutes
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