Cilantro Chicken Meatballs with Heirloom Tomato Sauce

This morning, I woke up to a text from my friend Liz asking me where my chicken meatball recipe was. I quickly ran down the list of all the recipes I'd written over the last year and realized there was no chicken meatball recipe. I make them a lot, but somehow had never photographed or written down what I did - so here we are. This one is super easy, very quick, and really healthy. (And delicious- that always helps!) The sauce recipe is delicious on it's own, or used for an enchilada sauce, quick spaghetti sauce or even the start to a tomato soup. 

Sauce Ingredients: 

  • 3 pounds tomatoes (I used two from my garden and two Heirlooms from the store), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, cut into medium dice
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Noodles:

  • 2 pounds of summer squash, spiralized  

Meatball recipe: 

  • 2 pounds of ground chicken (I used dark meat, but if you'd like to cut down the fat, use white meat)
  • 5 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro plus a tablespoon of minced cilantro for garnish 
  • 3 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 red Fresno chiles (seeded if the pepper is too hot) (can also substitute 1 Jalapeno)
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp black pepper 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil to cook the meatballs

Combine the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until ingredients are soft and the onions are translucent. 

Once softened, puree them with an immersion blender, food processor or blender. Return to pot and continue cooking over low heat while you make the meatballs. 

Spiralize the squash noodles and set these aside. 

Combine the chicken, scallions, cilantro, garlic, chiles, salt, and pepper in a food processor. 

Pulse in 1-second intervals until just blended. 

Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan until it sizzles when you add a droplet of water. Form the meat mixture into two-inch balls and place in the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan. You may need to do this in batches, or use more than one pan. 

Once they are brown on one side, roll them over. Keep rolling until all sides are browned and meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This should take about 10-12 minutes to cook through. 

Saute the squash noodles for five minutes until they are soft. (You could also microwave them in a bowl for 4 minutes.) Place the cooked noodles in a bowl. 

Pour some of the tomato sauce over the noodles and then place the cooked meatballs on top. Grate some black pepper over the top and garnish with cilantro. Serve at once. 

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