Meatballs feature quite frequently in my bariatric regime, I find them wonderfully versatile to serve with pasta, rice, salad, in wraps, on skewers … well you get the idea! Sometimes I make my own from scratch and sometimes I purchase some good quality ready-made ones. A favourite at the moment is the new Heck brand Chicken Italia Meatballs – low in fat, carbs/sugars and bursting with Mediterranean herbs and spices (with basil, tomatoes and mozzarella), they’re hard to beat.
Yesterday I made this recipe which turns a salad into a meal meal …unlike a light leafy salad it’s hearty and guaranteed to leave you satisfied. Packed with four of your 5-a-day they are high in protein and packed with nutrients to help you stay or achieve tip top health. I think this is just the dish to plan to serve when the whether is dodgy or unpredictable – eat outside in the sunshine or under cover indoors.
If the list of spices looks daunting or you don’t have them in your store cupboard then substitute with 2 tsp Cajun spice seasoning instead.
CAJUN SWEET POTATO AND MEATBALL SALAD
350 g/12 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes
low-fat cooking spray or mist
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp paprika
pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
12 small or 350 g/12 oz low-fat prepared meatballs (I used the Heck Chicken Italia ones)
1 little Gem lettuce, shredded
2 sticks/stalks celery, very thinly sliced
1/2 x 400 g/14 oz can kidney beans in water, rinsed and drained
7.5 cm/3 inch piece cucumber, very finely chopped
1 medium chilli, very finely chopped (optional)
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp honey or other liquid sweetener to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/425 F/gas mark 7.
2. Line a roasting tin/pan with non-stick baking parchment. Add the sweet potatoes, spritz with low fat cooking oil or spray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. Mix the cumin with the coriander, paprika and chilli flakes if using. Add the meatballs and spice mix to the potatoes, toss and cook for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, toss the lettuce with the celery and beans in a bowl. Spoon onto a serving plate and set aside.
5. Mix the cucumber with the chilli if using, lime zest and juice, honey and salt and pepper to taste to make a salsa.
6. Top the salad with the meatball and potato mixture then drizzle with the prepared salsa to serve.