A throwback to my earlier life cooking for my best friend and my son, and sometimes for her parents as well, this recipe holds lots of memories. The marinara sauce is a remake of my Aunt Jean’s sauce while the meatballs are an off-shoot of my meatloaf recipe. If you prefer, a jarred sauce works just as well if you have one your family especially likes, and it sure is a lot quicker and easier than making a sauce from scratch.
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
- 2 garlic cloves diced
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 64 ounces of pureed tomatoes
- 16 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley (about 2 tablespoons of each)
- monk fruit powder, stevia, or agave nectar if needed for additional sweetness
In a large skillet, saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes and then add the diced garlic and the grated carrot. Saute until softened, about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the red wine and cook off the alcohol. Add the pureed and diced tomatoes and cook over a low heat, covered, for approximately 1 hour. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes. Add the fresh herbs along with salt and pepper to taste and the tomato paste. If needed, depending on your taste, add additional sweetener. Simmer over low heat until ready to add the meatballs.
- 1/2 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, pulsed in a food processor until small dice
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used an herb mixture such as Mrs. Dash)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
- 1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (such as Organicsville Agave Ketchup) OR 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 2 slices of gluten-free bread crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees; grease an 8×10 baking pan with olive oil. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until combined but try not to overmix so that the meat mixture stays tender. I use a soup spoon to measure out the meatballs so that they are all about the same size. Mine were approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and the recipe made 24 meatballs. Bake in the prepared pan for about 45 minutes, in the middle of the oven so that the bottoms of the meatballs don’t burn. Add the meatballs to the sauce.
Prepare your favorite pasta. I use the red lentil and quinoa linguine which takes just about 8 minutes to cook and my husband thinks tastes good even though he doesn’t realize its gluten-free and contains protein. After you drain your pasta, put it back in the cooking pot, add sauce and mix thoroughly. Serve with the meatballs and feel free to sprinkle some grated mozzarella (non-dairy of course) over the top.