We have recently acquired all kinds of zucchini and summer squash! My husband’s grandma has a big garden as do we, and we also got some in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box today too! This blog is all about saving up local produce when it’s in season, so I’m here to help you with ideas for using all those zucchini your garden is pumping out right now! Aside from the famed zucchini bread, I also like to toss a cup of grated zucchini into brownies. You can grate it all up as well as using a tool called a spirooli to spiralize it into zucchini noodles or “zoodles”. I normally will grate or spiralize all the zucchini I have at once, put it into quart sized freezer bags, and toss what I’m not using right away into the freezer. This will save you some time. I find batch prep much quicker than prep for EACH meal!
I know the oven was quite hot to cook the meatballs, and normally I avoid turning on the oven on hot days-but today was the perfect rainy, and cooler day to have the oven on for a short 20 minutes. It was well worth it for these meatballs too!
In this recipe I used dried red peppers we collected from the pick and pay farm last fall. They are so delicious in this dish as well as so many others that I really encourage you to try drying some peppers for your pantry stash too! You can read my other blog post regarding tips and tricks on drying peppers for storage.
When we have a summer CSA-or garden for that matter, I almost cannot bear to toss out the leafy green part of the carrots! There are so many nutrients in the green leafies of carrots! So, tonight I had no guilt as I turned the carrot tops into a delicious pesto.
The local fare I used for preparing this meal includes the following:
Parsley, Oregano, Italian spice blend from our backyard garden, Scallions, and zucchini from Ahavah Farm-And zucchini also from my grandmother-in-law’s garden, sausage from my family’s farm, carrot tops from Ahavah Farm. I also picked up a jar of red sauce from a local vendor at CFAM (Colorado Farm and Art Market). I want to give this local producer a shout out too because the sauce was excellent! The pasta sauce is Mama Giuseppa and you can find them at the Pioneer Museum Wed from 3p-7p; email them at email@example.com, or visit their website at http://www.mamagiuseppas.com. I really liked this sauce because it included vine ripened tomatoes, no water, no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, and no artificial flavors or colors.
My little guys were exclaiming over the red sauce and the meatballs! It always warms my heart to hear the words, “these are the best meatballs ever!”
I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as we do!
Homemade Meatballs and Zoodles with Carrot Top Pesto
These meatballs are so savory and versatile! The noodles can be served with this recipe or with just the pesto
- For the meatballs:
- 3 lbs ground pork sausage
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp oregano
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 medium scallions minced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp red pepper (dried or flakes)
- 1/3 c. warm filtered water
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- For the noodles:
- 3-4 medium to large zucchinis
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 TBSP butter
- For the carrot top pesto:
- Leafy green tops of 4-5 carrots
- 3 tsp Italian spice blend
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
- 3 TBSP pumpkin seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 425 and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Step 2 In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs. Then form into about 1 inch in diameter balls, and place on the prepared baking sheets.
- Step 3 Bake the meatballs for 20 min.
- Step 4 While the meatballs are cooking, spiralize the zucchini noodles onto a clean dish towel. Allow them to sit on the dish towel while you prepare the carrot pesto. This will soak a lot of the water from the noodles
- Step 5 For the carrot top pesto, place all the ingredients in a blender on high speed for about 1-2 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
- Step 6 Next put 2 TBSP grass-fed butter into a cast iron skillet and add the zucchini noodles in batches. Keep the heat to medium and only warm the noodles through. Do not over cook. Sprinkle each batch with salt and pepper to taste and a dash of Italian spice blend.
- Step 7 Warm your red sauce in a medium sized sauce pan, and add the meatballs once they are done.
- Step 8 To serve, place a helping of the zucchini noodles on each plate, top with red sauce and meatballs, and then the carrot top pesto. You can grate some asiago cheese, or parmesan over the top if you like.