Meatballs: they are a mom’s life saver when it comes to picky eaters. It’s difficult to find a kid that doesn’t like meatballs, and you can really hide everything in meatballs, as long as they are tasty and with a nice golden surface. I particularly love this recipe because even if it is loaded with broccoli (they have tons of health benefits!!) you can barely taste them. The meatballs are incredibly soft and tender, but still with a nice golden crust. My kids loved them and ate them all without even asking what was inside 😉
You can substitute the broccoli with other vegetables like cauliflowers, zucchini, sweet peas, but I strongly suggest the broccoli considering their incredible health benefits for you and for your kids: they do have cancer fighting and immune boosting properties, they are a powerful antioxidant and they help reducing cholesterol. They are also known for reducing allergy reaction and inflammation…not bad for a single green vegetable!!
Here you are the ingredients to prepare 60 small broccoli meatballs. I really like small size meatballs (one bite size) as they are more kids friendly and also they keep a good balance between the soft part inside and the crust outside.
And here you are how to prepare them:
– brake the dry bread in small pieces and place them in a small bowl. Soak the bread with the milk and set it apart.
– wash the broccoli, cut the florets and steam them for 8/10 minutes.
– in a food processor add 1/2 clove of garlic, the bread with the milk, the steamed broccoli and the ricotta cheese. Mix everything in order to obtain a smooth cream.
– Place the green broccoli mix in a big bowl altogether with the ground beef (you can use any other kind of ground meet that you like), the parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and one egg. Mix. You will obtain a very creamy and soft mix, not too dense.
– It’s time for our hands to do some work. Place 1/2 tablespoon of mix in your hand and with the help of some flour start rolling the mix in order to create a nice small meatball. Keep going with the rolling, dusting with flour, shaping work and you will obtain 60 cute meatballs.
Now you have two options: bake in the oven or pan fry on the stove.
Option #1 BAKING
– Grease a baking pan with two tablespoons of grape seeds oil. Grape seeds oil is currently very popular in Italy 😉 It’s a delicate flavor oil, perfect for frying or sautéing food as it has a very high flash point.
– place the meatballs in the pan one next to the other and drizzle two other tablespoons of grape seeds oil on top. Bake in the preheated oven at 400F/200C for 30 minutes. At 15 minutes (half time) remove the pan from the oven and flip the meatballs on the other side so that they will form a nice crust on every side. Place them back in the oven for the remaining 15 minutes.
Option #2 PAN FRYING
– add few tablespoons of grape seeds oil in a pan. Turn the heat on at medium and add the meatballs. Cook the meatballs for 10/15 minutes, turn them few times so that they will cook evenly forming a nice golden crust.