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Chicken Florentine Meatballs and Veggie Noodles

Serves 6.


    Fresh, healthy, and full of iron-rich spinach, chicken Florentine meatballs are a big hit for all ages. Ironically, when you peel back the layers of history, you find its origin has little or nothing to do with Florence, Italy, and everything to do with spinach, as we’ve done here. We scattered the meatballs with Parmesan to give it a hint of Italian.



    Make and bake a double batch of meatballs and freeze in small portions in tightly sealed containers. Delicious tossed into a marinara sauce and served over noodles or rice.


    Chicken Florentine Meatballs and Veggie Noodles


    • 2 cups (500 mL) tightly packed baby spinach leaves
    • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
    • 1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped crimini mushrooms
    • 1 medium onion, finely diced
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh minced tarragon
    • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
    • Zest from 1/2 lemon
    • 1 1/2 lbs (750 g) ground organic chicken, breast meat only
    • 2 large carrots
    • 3 medium-sized zucchini
    • 1/3 cup (80 mL) Parmesan
    • 1/3 cup (80 mL) mixture of minced fresh parsley, mint, and basil
    • Freshly ground black pepper


    Per serving:

    • calories260
    • protein24g
    • fat16g
      • saturated fat5g
      • trans fat0g
    • carbohydrates9g
      • sugars4g
      • fibre2g
    • sodium376mg



    Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Lightly grease large baking pan with shallow sides and set aside.


    In small saucepan with a little water, cook spinach until completely wilted. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, place in kitchen cloth and squeeze out as much moisture as youu2019re able. Place on cutting board and chop. Transfer to large bowl.


    In heavy saucepan, heat oil. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Sauteu0301 over medium heat until most of the liquid from mushrooms has evaporated and onion is soft. Stir often. Add to spinach in bowl along with tarragon, spices, lemon zest, and ground chicken. Work mixture together until thoroughly blended. Dampen palms with water and shape mixture into 1 in (2.5 cm) meatballs. Place in single layer in prepared baking pan. Lightly brush meatballs with oil. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until meatballs register 165 F (75 C) on a meat thermometer and are cooked through.


    While meatballs bake, prepare veggie noodles. Trim ends from carrots and peel. Using vegetable peeler, shave carrots lengthwise into thin ribbons. In large pot of boiling water, blanch carrot ribbons for 1 to 2 minutes, or until as tender-crisp as youu2019d like. Drain and plunge into ice water bath to stop cooking. Drain well and blot dry. Transfer to large serving dish.


    Using spiralizer or hand-held peeler, cut zucchini into julienne fronds. Place in sieve and then plunge into boiling water for a few seconds; shake well to remove as much liquid as youu2019re able. Add to carrots. Gently toss vegetable noodles with Parmesan and fresh herbs.


    When meatballs are fully baked, tumble over vegetable noodles along with any juices that may have collected in pan. Add fresh pepper to taste and serve immediately.


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    This recipe is part of the How Good Is Green? collection.



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