Wow, that recipe title is a mouthful.
A delicious mouthful!
A few weeks ago, I polled you guys on Instagram stories, asking if you would be interested in a delicious, healthy meatball bowl that I had recently made for dinner and loved. I think 98% of people said yes. So, here we are! These are the meatball bowls I promised you, and I’ll promise you again: they are DELISH.
This type of meal is what Dan and I often eat during the week. This is an everyday, easily-meal-prepped dish that we enjoy regularly. We’re big “bowl” fans in our house. I make at least one “bowl recipe” a week, often switching up the proteins, veggies, and flavor profiles.
These meatball bowls are healthy and can be kept relatively low carb, too, if you serve them over veggie rice. That’s what we do. I buy frozen cauliflower rice in bulk and use it ALL THE TIME in meals like this one. We absolutely love it as a rice substitute. It makes you feel like you’re eating a lot of food (which you are) but without the heavy, nap-inducing carbs.
That said, we are definitely not carb-adverse people. Trust me. We eat our fair share of good bread and pasta. That isn’t really the goal when we use veggie rice instead of regular rice or grains. We just like it! A lot. If you prefer pasta or regular rice here, swap it in. Farro, couscous, or barley would also be awesome here.
These bowls, like many of the bowl meals I make, have a few components to prep. That’s what makes a bowl so good! There’s a lot going on. Varying textures and tastes are key to a good bowl.
The good news, though, is that most of the components can be made once and prepped ahead for use over several meals. I make the meatballs and avocado cream ahead. Those are the most labor intensive components, but neither is difficult nor time consuming. I like to make the quick-marinated veggies and cauliflower rice just as we’re going to eat, as neither particularly holds up well in the fridge. If you were using real rice or another grain, though, you could definitely do that part ahead as well. Store the different components in airtight containers and reheat as needed.
That’s what makes these so perfect for weeknight dinners. Or lunches!
The meatballs are flavored with spices and herbs, which makes them taste absolutely fantastic. I love the punch of fresh parsley and dill here, and the smoky savoriness of cumin gives them that little somethin’-somethin’ that makes my mouth water. I mix them up, form them into balls, and bake in the oven for a no-mess meatball situation. If you have any left over from the bowls, I highly recommend a couple chopped up over a green salad. So good.
The avocado cream is a quick mix in the food processor: ripe avocado, Greek yogurt, herbs, and fresh lemon juice. That’s it! I thin it out with some water, as needed, to get it to the perfect spoonable consistency. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days with minimal browning of the avocado. If you are turned off by the discoloration, top it with a little lemon juice each time you put it back in the fridge and ensure that you’re using an airtight container to store it.
When it’s time to eat, I do a quick marinade for some grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, red onion, and kalamata olives. The veggies add a very important crunch factor as well as some acidity.
I cook up the cauliflower rice in the microwave (it is seriously one of my favorite grocery store short cuts), reheat the meatballs, and get to makin’ the bowls. A generous spoonful of the avocado cream goes down first. Then the cauliflower rice topped with the meatballs, marinated veggies (and any residual juices!), some chunks of feta cheese, a sprinkling of fresh herbs, and a little fresh lemon juice squeezed over the top.
Dinner is ready in 10 minutes.
It tastes decadent and satisfying but is actually quite good for you. The meatballs are a lean protein, the avocado sauce is chock-full of goodness, and the rest of the meal is made up of veggies! Oh, and cheese. The feta cheese is not optional here. Really, though, that’s the only true indulgent part of the dish, and a little does go a long way.
Most importantly, though, these bowls taste damn good. I wouldn’t pitch a healthy meal to you without first ensuring that is delicious.
And these are just that.
1 lb ground chicken
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh dill
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Water, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup sliced cucumbers
2 tablespoons minced shallot or red onion
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Feta cheese, cut into chunks or wedges
Cooked rice, couscous, or veggie rice
Additional fresh dill, optional
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
To a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the meat and the egg. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning, as needed (if it tastes a little over-seasoned at this point, that’s OK. The egg and meat still need to go in). Mix in the egg and meat until everything is combined.
Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp on the outside.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
With the machine running, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time or until the mixture reaches a smooth, creamy consistency.
Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
To each bowl, add a large dollop of the avocado cream and spread it on the bottom of the bowl.
Top with your grain/veggie rice of choice, the meatballs, marinated veggies, and a wedge of feta cheese.
Spritz with lemon juice, sprinkle with fresh dill, and serve while the meatballs are warm. Serve with the remaining avocado cream on the side.