Blended chickpea and lamb meatballs are baked with spaghetti, red sauce, and melty slices of fresh mozzarella in this Mediterranean-inspired main dish.
Course dinner, lunch
Prep Time 15minutes
Cook Time 40minutes
Total Time 55minutes
Author Stephanie McKercher, RDN
4ouncesfresh mozzarella,sliced (see note)
2cupscooked chickpeas(drain and rinse if canned)
½poundground lamb(see note)
¼cupchopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
1(28-ounccan whole peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan cheese
Crushed red pepper
Add dry spaghetti to large pot of boiling water and cook 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain (do not rinsand set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mash cooked chickpeas in a large bowl. Stir in ground lamb, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, egg, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until they are uniformly incorporated. Form into 1 ½-inch balls.
Add grapeseed oil to a Dutch oven or large oven-safe skillet with raised edges over medium-high heat. Spread meatballs on Dutch oven or skillet and cook 3 minutes each side, or until browned on edges and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transfer meatballs to a plate and set aside.
Add more oil to Dutch oven or skillet if needed. Stir in diced onion and cook 5 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in garlic. Stir in whole peeled tomatoes, oregano, and salt and pepper. Use wooden spoon to break open whole tomatoes as they soften. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tomatoes are broken into small pieces and a chunky red sauce forms.
Stir in baby spinach and fresh basil. Turn off heat.
Carefully stir in cooked spaghetti and meatballs with sauce in the Dutch oven or skillet.
Spread sliced fresh mozzarella on top of the spaghetti mixture and bake uncovered on the center rack 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Garnish with fresh basil, grated parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper if desired.
Substitute shredded mozzarella for sliced fresh mozzarella if desired.Substitute ground beef or ground turkey for ground lamb if desired.Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
This recipe originally appeared on GratefulGrazer.com.