(The Nosher via JTA) — My 4-year-old, previously meatball-loving child has recently decided, in fact, she does not like meatballs any longer. Or tomato sauce. My husband does not like spaghetti squash. And I am trying to cut back on my carbs just a smidge.
In short, dinner is becoming harder and harder to coordinate. So when I made sweet and sour meatballs for the first time recently and they were devoured, I knew we had a winner. That is, until my daughter decides we don’t.
I served these meatballs with simple roasted spaghetti squash for myself, and some rice for my husband and daughter, so everyone was happy.
Variation: If you want to cut the sugar in this recipe, you can reduce to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, replace with honey or stevia. If you want to remove a sweetener all together, try pureeing 1 whole peeled carrot in a food processor. While sauteing the onion, add the pureed carrot to add natural sweetness.
Special thanks to Kosher By Gloria for inspiring this post.
1 spaghetti squash
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar OR 1 tablespoon stevia OR 2 carrots, peeled and pureed in food processor
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh orange or lemon zest
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup water or broth (vegetable or beef broth)
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
To cook the spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a fork, prick the squash all over. Place on a baking sheet and cook 30-40 minutes until soft. Allow to cool slightly. Cut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, discard. Using a fork, remove the spaghetti squash flesh. This step can be prepared 1-2 days ahead.
To make the sauce: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, brown sugar (or sweetener or honey), lemon juice, citrus zest, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook on low while preparing meatballs.
To make the meatballs: Mix together bread crumbs with cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Add ground beef and mix gently. Add 1 beaten egg and mix until full incorporated.
Using the palm of your hands, gently roll tablespoon-sized meatballs, taking care not to pack too tightly or “smush.” If you want to be more precise, use a cookie scoop to measure.
Place all the meatballs in sauce and simmer on medium-low heat for 45-50 minutes, covered.
Serve warm with spaghetti squash, rice or noodles.
Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher.
The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.