Saucy Vegetarian Meatballs

Saucy Vegetarian Meatballs

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From the EatingWell Kitchen

Cauliflower, mushrooms, bulgur and seasonings combine to form the base of this healthy vegetarian meatball recipe. A quick homemade tomato-basil sauce replaces the traditional marinara to save sodium. Serve over whole-wheat spaghetti with a green salad.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
  • 2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely grated, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked bulgur
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 (28 ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


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  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower, mushrooms, half the garlic, ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool, stirring a few times, for 5 minutes. Add bulgur, cheese and egg and stir to combine.
  3. Form the mixture into 16 balls (about ¼ cup each) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake until lightly browned and firm, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon salt with tomatoes and crushed red pepper in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes. Serve the meatballs with the sauce, sprinkled with basil.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the unbaked meatballs and tomato-basil sauce separately for up to 1 day. Reheat the sauce while the meatballs bake.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 4 meatballs & ¾ cup sauce each
  • Per serving: 350 calories; 18 g fat(4 g sat); 9 g fiber; 34 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 66 mcg folate; 52 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,988 IU vitamin A; 42 mg vitamin C; 100 mg calcium; 6 mg iron; 484 mg sodium; 1,030 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (70% daily value), Vitamin A (40% dv), Iron (33% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 fat, ½ high-fat protein, 3 vegetable, 1 starch

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