Lemony Zucchini Pasta with Garlic Turkey Meatballs

allergy friendly lemony zucchini pasta with garlic turkey meatballs
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Delicious, ready in 25 minutes, filling, healthy and top 9 allergen free- what more can you ask for!? Zucchini noodles have gotten a bad rap, but there are two simple keys to tasty zucchini noodles: make your own (it only takes 2 minutes with the right tools) and don’t over cook them! If you can follow that, welcome to gluten free heaven!

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I’ll say it again for everyone in the back, there are two simple keys to tasty zucchini noodles: make your own (it only takes 2 minutes with the right tools) and don’t over cook them! But let’s dive a little deeper. Seriously, if you can, save your money and taste buds and spiralizer your own. If you have to buy zucchini noodles, for the love of all that is holy- DO NOT BUY FROZEN! Frozen zucchini noodles will turn into mush, and no one wants mushy noodles. You can buy pre-spiralized in the refrigerated section, but I would suggest that you buy and use on the same day. I swear by my Kitchen Aid attachment because of how quickly I can make my own zucchini pasta, but use what works for you.

Second, do not overcook the noodles. The zucchini pasta will continue to cook a little longer after you’ve removed from heat. So the best course of action is to remove from heat while the zucchini noodles are still a bit crunchy. You should be cooking for no more than 3 minutes, 4 at the most.

On to the recipe. Start by preheating a skillet and combine all of the meatball ingredients. With your hands, mix the ground turkey, seasonings, cilantro, vinegar and cornmeal until well combined. I like to make an itty bitty meatball and quickly cook that up and taste- adjust seasonings to your taste. I will make one small plug that the lemony zucchini pasta will have a lovely sauce that is poured over, and you don’t want the meatballs to overpower the pasta. If you’re happy with the meatballs, roll in to 12-16 meatballs, depending on the size you make. Lightly oil a pan with either oil or dairy free butter and add the meatballs to the pan. Cook, turning periodically until cooked through, about 8 minutes, depending on size.

While the garlic turkey meatballs cook, prepare the zucchini pasta. Spiralize the zucchini and place in a large bowl. Remember that they will cook down, so it will look like way too much pasta at first. My general rule of thumb is 1 large zucchini per person. If you have small zucchinis, increase to 1-1/2 per person. In a large skillet, melt the dairy free butter. When melted, add minced garlic, lemon juice and Franks red hot. Add the zucchini pasta to the pan and cook, while stirring, for 1 minute to ensure that all of the pasta is coated in sauce. Continue to cook, stirring periodically, until just tender but still slightly crunchy- an additional 2-3 minutes.

To serve, divide the lemony zucchini pasta equally in 4 dishes, reserving the sauce. Top with garlic butter meatballs, dividing evenly. Pour a spoonful of sauce over each dish. Garnish with a pinch of nutritional yeast, cilantro, red pepper flakes and salt, depending on taste. Remember, zucchini pasta will continue to soften, so serve immediately to ensure the best texture and flavor. Bon appetit!

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Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook times: 14 minutes

Lemony Zucchini Pasta with Garlic Turkey Meatballs Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey (not extra lean, or 99%, that will be too dry)
  • 1 tablespoon ground corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (+ more for garnish)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (+more for ganish)
  • 2-1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 to 2-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (+more for garnish)
  • 4 large zucchini (or 6 small zucchini)= 6 cups spiralized
  • 2 tablespoons dairy free butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Franks red hot
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (~1 lemon)

Lemony Zucchini Pasta with Garlic Turkey Meatballs Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine turkey, corn meal, nutritional yeast, vinegar, red pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cilantro and 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt. With your hands, mix until well combined. If desired, roll a pinch of the mixture into a small ball and quickly cook up; taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  2. Roll the mixture into 12 even meatballs. Lightly oil a large pan with dairy free butter or oil and add the meatballs to the pan. Cook, stirring periodically until done, roughly 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs cook, spiralize the zucchini. The zucchini noodles will look like you have way too much, don’t worry, they reduce in size while they cook!
  4. In a second large pan (or in the same pan, after meatballs have cooked, if needed), melt the dairy free butter. Add the minced garlic, lemon juice, Franks red hot and salt. Add the zucchini pasta to the pan and cook, stirring for 1 minute to ensure that all of the zucchini pasta is coated in the sauce. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, cooking periodically. The zucchini pasta is done when still slightly crunchy- don’t forget that they will continue to soften after you remove from heat!
  5. To serve, divide the zucchini pasta evenly in 4 plates or shallow bowls, reserving liquid sauce. Top each plate with 3 meatballs and pour over a spoonful of remaining sauce. Garnish with a pinch of nutritional yeast, cilantro, crushed red pepper and sea salt.

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