These mini meatballs are great on whole grain pasta, in a submarine sandwich, or served with a seasonal salad. Kids will love the surprise centre.
1 cup (250 mL) canned navy beans, drained and rinsed well
1 large free-range egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup (60 mL) parsley, chopped
1 lb (450 g) lean ground free-range turkey
1 ball (340 g) partly skimmed mozzarella cheese, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 27 oz (796 mL) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
In large bowl, mash beans with potato masher until well mashed. Stir in egg, bread crumbs, parsley, turkey, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper until well combined.
Form 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of turkey mixture into a disk about 2 in (5 cm) in diameter. Place 1 cube of mozzarella in the centre of the disk and wrap turkey mixture around cheese, pinching seams to seal. Roll meatball between your hands to form an even ball. Set meatball aside on a plate and repeat with remaining turkey mixture and cheese. You should have approximately 32 meatballs.
To make sauce, heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, then tomatoes, oregano, and thyme, and season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. If sauce gets too thick, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) water.
Add meatballs to saucepan and carefully spoon sauce over meatballs to coat. Simmer meatballs in sauce until meat is cooked through and cheese is starting to melt, about 20 minutes.
Serve over your favourite whole grain pasta. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Each serving contains:
454 calories; 48 g protein; 13 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 39 g carbohydrates; 11 g fibre; 649 mg sodium
Tip: You can use dried navy beans from the bulk section if you prepare them in advance.
Source: "Cheese Please," alive #347, September 2011
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