Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Sauce and Zucchini Noodles are a delicious and healthful way to spice up your spaghetti and meatballs routine!
Spiced chicken meatballs are smothered in a flavor-packed roasted red bell pepper and chickpea sauce which are then served atop quickly sautéed zucchini “noodles” in this Middle Eastern twist on spaghetti and meatballs.
Traditional Italian-style meatballs are often made with a combination of beef, pork and veal. Lighter all the way around than the traditional, these meatballs are made with ground chicken instead. Use all white meat, or if you’re not afraid of a small amount of extra fat, use a combination of white and dark ground chicken for better flavor. The combination of spices, cumin, coriander, Hungarian paprika and a touch of cayenne makes them irresistible!
When making meatballs, get all the ingredients except the ground protein mixed together first, then add the ground protein last. This order ensures that all the ingredients and seasonings are more evenly distributed. When I mix up any ground protein dish, I put on disposable gloves and mix with my hands to get the job done faster and more thoroughly.
The best way I’ve found to portion and form meatballs is with a 1-inch cookie scoop. After mixing everything together, grab a handful of it in one hand and the cookie scoop in the other. Use the heel of the hand holding the meat mixture to level off the scoop. Empty the scoop onto a baking sheet. After they are all portioned out, roll into neat balls.
Frying meatballs is messy and requires more time and attention. Instead, I place on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle some stock or broth over them so they don’t dry out and simply bake in the oven.
My favorite flavor of hummus–roasted red bell pepper–was my inspiration to create this sauce that pairs perfectly with the spiced chicken meatballs. If time allows, I prefer to roast my own red bell peppers for the best flavor. However, good-quality water-packed roasted red bell pepper in a jar is a fine substitute. Canned chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), thicken the sauce while adding complex carbohydrates, fiber and iron.
Vegetable spiralizers such as the Paderno Spiral Slicer and the Vegetti are two of the hottest gadgets to hit kitchens in a while. I haven’t tried the Vegetti, but the Paderno makes quick work of spiralizing vegetables. If you don’t have either one of these two gadgets, thinly slice zucchini the long way, then cut into noodle-like strips.
The sauce is also delicious with regular pasta, rice and with roasted cauliflower.