Part of my “Cooking with your CSA” series!
These could maybe be titled “Not-So-Swedish” meatballs. The classic Swedish meatball inspired this recipe, but since there is WAY too much dairy in regular Swedish meatballs, I had to rethink the formula. I went with a meatball in gravy over noodles, but added some healthier ingredients and of course made the whole thing dairy and egg free. It’s difficult to find dairy and egg free meatball recipes where the meat isn’t totally dried out, or don’t fall apart when you add them to a sauce. But I think this recipe fits the bill!
This week’s CSA box included Swiss chard, something that I really don’t cook with that often. I’m not a big purchaser of leafy greens beyond salad lettuce and frozen spinach, because Tom and Sweet Pea are both iffy on long strands of greens in a sauce or casserole. Using the chopped frozen spinach solves the “stringy” problem. But since leafy greens are a good source of calcium for Sweet Pea, I’d like to start using them more. There are a bunch of cookbooks out there that recommend hiding vegetables in food for your kids, and adding pureed greens to meatloaf is one way they suggest getting in additional nutrition. Now I’m all for getting nutrition into kids who absolutely won’t eat anything green, but fortunately we don’t have that problem with Sweet Pea. It’s more of a texture thing for her. So I wondered what would happen if I just chopped the Swiss chard and mixed it into the meatballs? The greens are in plain sight, but still “hidden” by the meatball goodness.
These meatballs are delicious. Even reheated the next day in the microwave, they still taste good! Sweet Pea ate two whole meatballs, plus who knows how many noodles. The dairy-free gravy can also be used to top shredded chicken or turkey for sandwiches (great for the crock pot: pour gravy over chicken breasts, let it cook on low all afternoon, then shred). If you don’t want a creamy sauce, by all means leave out the coconut milk, but it gives the meatballs a more “Swedish” quality.
Recipe Note: This meal can be made in two steps. Prep and bake the meatballs, then put them into the fridge to wait until the next step. When you’re ready for dinner, cook the noodles, make the gravy, and reheat the meatballs in the gravy.
Turkey and Swiss Chard Meatballs with Noodles
For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground turkey
scant 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I used two Wasa whole grain crackers, crumbled)
1/3 c. unflavored soy milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 c. finely diced onion
2 1/2 c. sliced Swiss chard
For the Gravy and Noodles:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. full-fat coconut milk (if you can use the cream at the top of the can, that’s even better)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. of your favorite pasta (egg noodles are traditional, but we used whole wheat linguine)
To make the meatballs:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Mix the bread crumbs and soy milk in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add onion and Swiss chard, and cook until the onion is translucent and the Swiss chard is wilted. Add to the mixing bowl with the now-soaked bread crumbs, then add the ground turkey and the rest of the ingredients. Mix with your hands until well combined. Form the meat mixture into small (1-inch) meatballs, trying not to squeeze or handle the meat too much (a lot of pressure will dry out the meatballs). Place meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned. If you’re prepping the meatballs ahead, let them cool slightly then place in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a day. If you’re making dinner all at once, continue straight to the next step!
To make the noodles and gravy:
Cook noodles according to package directions. Using the same skillet in which you sauteed the onion and Swiss chard, heat the second Tbsp of olive oil. Slowly stir the flour into the hot oil, and let it cook until it is a light brown paste. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, keeping an eye out for flour lumps. When everything is smooth, add the coconut milk and seasonings. Add the meatballs to the gravy, and cook until heated through. Serve over cooked noodles and enjoy!
This is an original recipe by Kristin Lanari. If you’d like to share it with others, please credit this website! Thank you!