Saturday, September 29, 2012

Zucchini "Meatballs" with a Tomato Ragu over Creamy Polenta

I think it's safe to say I am obsessed with Joanne's blog Eats Well With Others. Her main dishes are hearty and healthy. She cooks with whole grains and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Many of her recipes are vegan (always a bonus). Best of all, her recipes are the kind that are healthy enough to eat for dinner one day and then for several lunches and dinners after that.

Joanne certainly eats well, and whenever I look at her pictures I wish I was eating with her.

The barley risotto with roasted brussels sprouts that she posted is just what I want on a winter/spring/summer/fall evening. These poached eggs with chickpeas and swiss chard would coax me out of bed any day. She's got this fig and ricotta pizza that's been calling my name for weeks.

And she's even got a collection of layer cakes that will make your mouth water.

Needless to say, I couldn't have been happier when Joanne posted this recipe for zucchini "meatballs" with a curry tomato sauce over a creamy polenta base. I pinned it a few weeks ago (a bit of a new obsession), and every time I visit my Pinterest page, it calls out to me.

Joanne's original recipe was 100 percent vegan, but I went the vegetarian route and added butter and Parmesan cheese to my polenta. I also omitted some spices that I just don't have, and I made some substitutions for things I wasn't quite willing to splurge on (like chickpea flour).

I ended up with a hearty, healthy vegetarian dinner. And I ate well with others--my cousin and his wife joined me for dinner.

I'm linking up with Bookmarked Recipes, a monthly foodie challenge held on Tinned Tomatoes. Visit to see all the recipes bloggers bookmarked a while back and revisited this month!

Zucchini "Meatballs" and Tomato Ragu over Creamy Polenta
recipe adapted from Eats Well With Others

This recipe can be vegetarian or vegan, depending on how you prepare your polenta. It would serve at least 4 as a main course, and it could easily serve six if you made a few extra "meatballs." I ended up with extra curry and polenta, and I enjoyed it with sunny side up eggs.

3 zucchinis, scrubbed with the edges trimmed off
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons white onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 recipe creamy parmesan polenta

Zucchini Meatballs: Grate zucchini into a large bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

After 30 minutes, squeeze handfuls of zucchini as tightly as possible (over a bowl) to extract as much moisture as you can. Save the zucchini liquid for later

Add the jalapeno pepper, onion, and ginger to the zucchini. Mix well. Sift the flour over the mixture and stir until the entire mixture is combined. Form the mixture into 16 meatballs, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Tomato Ragu: While the meatballs are baking, prepare the tomato ragu. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute with 7 to 10 minutes, until the onion is tender.

Add the spice mixture (tumeric, cayenne and cumin) and stir together for about 1 minute. Add the can of diced tomatoes with liquid, and stir the mixture until combined. Simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes to cook more of the moisture off.

A few minutes before serving, add 1 cup almond milk and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Stir and cook at least one minute

Creamy Polenta: Prepare according to package instructions or your favorite recipe (mine's soon to come!).

Assembly: Heap creamy polenta onto a large plate or a shallow bowl. Top with a large scoop of tomato ragu, and add a few zucchini meatballs on top. Serve immediately. This recipe reheats well. Leftovers are fantastic with a fried egg on top.


  1. That looks wonderful! Great way to use up some of this zucchini overload!

  2. Aww you are positively the sweetest!!! ANd I'm SO glad you liked those meatballs...they were one of my favorite dishes last year.

  3. Thanks for the recipe, it seems interesting!