HEALTHY DINNER PASTA GEMELLI WITH COURGETTE MEATBALLS AND CHIMICHURRI

 Don’t let this recipe’s length intimidate you. It’s as simple to make as it is delicious. I like to make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time so their flavours develop even more. When I’m not in the mood for chimichurri sauce, I substitute my favourite salt-free marinara or the Roasted Tomato Sauce .

Ingredients

COURGETTE MEATBALLS

  • 1 (400g) BPA-free tin or Tetra Pak salt-free chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and blotted dry
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ⅓ cup/35g old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup/150g grated courgette, squeezed dry
  • CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup/4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • ¼ cup/4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

PASTA

  • 8 ounces/225g whole-grain or bean-based gemelli or other pasta of choice

Preparation

FOR THE COURGETTE MEATBALLS: Combine the chickpeas, garlic, oats, nutritional yeast, flaxseeds and chia seeds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, miso paste, basil, oregano, onion powder and black pepper. Pulse until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a large bowl and add the grated courgette. Stir together until well combined. The mixture should hold together when pinched between two fingers. If the mixture is too wet, add a little nutritional yeast or ground flaxseeds to absorb excess moisture.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or baking parchment.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the courgette mixture at a time and use your hands to roll the mixture into balls. Arrange the courgette balls on the prepared baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned.

FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE: In a food processor, combine all the chimichurri sauce ingredients plus ¼ cup/60ml of water and pulse to combine. Set aside.

FOR THE PASTA: Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the chimichurri sauce and toss gently to combine. Divide the pasta into shallow serving bowls and top each portion with 3 or 4 courgette meatballs.

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