Friday, October 25, 2013

Paleo Meatballs & Spinach

My kids are pasta fiends, and they don't view zucchini noodles as a true replacement for the real thing. Occasionally they still eat some brown rice pasta, but I much prefer to make a dinner that we can all eat together.

The first time I made this one for them, my daughter was halfway through her portion when she asked, "Wait, is there any pasta in here?" And once I told me brood not only was there NO pasta, but that I'd replaced it with spinach... well, they actually continued to eat their dinners quite contently.

The idea is to replace the pasta base of a baked meatball dish with the paleo equivalent of creamed spinach. I then top it off with some baked meatballs (I made my pesto ones) and pour marinara sauce over the top. If you're a paleo purist you can stop there, but I sprinkled some raw cheese on top and broiled it for about 5 minutes until it was crisp.

You can use any meatball or sauce recipe here, and can certainly use bottled for the latter if you have one that works for you. As such I'm just including my "creamed" spinach recipe, which gets it creaminess from coconut milk and a nice hit of flavor from some grated nutmeg.

Paleo Creamed Spinach

2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 medium chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
salt & pepper
2 defrosted boxed of chopped spinach (10 oz. each)
1/2 cup organic chicken broth
1/2-1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk (depends on the consistency you like)
generous grating of fresh nutmeg

Wring out defrosted spinach in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel until most of the liquid is removed. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a skillet on medium-high. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for one minute.

Add spinach, broth and coconut milk to the skillet. Season with nutmeg and stir, cooking for another 2 minutes or until thick.

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