Meatballs, Greens, & Orecchiette

This tasty Mediterranean dinner recipe can be ready in just an hour. Great for a speedy dinner, this easy dinner recipe is full of veggies and fresh herbs.

Meatballs, Greens, & Orecchiette
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
45 mins
Bake Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
42 meatballs


  • 1 recipe Veggie Meatballs

  • 6 ounce dried orecchiette pasta (1 3/4 cups)

  • 4 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 8 ounce pkg. button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • ½ medium zucchini, sliced (1 cup)

  • 1 medium red sweet pepper, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 8 cup chopped Swiss chard, beet greens, arugula, and/or spinach

  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil and/or Italian parsley

  • Salt and black pepper

  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Veggie Meatballs

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

  • ½ cup shredded zucchini

  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

  • ½ cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef or ground turkey


  1. Prepare Veggie Meatballs. Meanwhile, cook orecchiette according to package directions; drain, reserving some of the pasta water.

  2. In an extra-large skillet or wok heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, zucchini, and sweet pepper. Cook and stir 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender and any liquid has evaporated. Stir in the garlic.

  3. Add 1 Tbsp. of the oil to the skillet. Add Swiss chard, in batches, cooking and stirring until chard is wilted. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, the balsamic vinegar, and orecchiette. Toss to combine. Add enough pasta water to reach desired consistency. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in Veggie Meatballs. If desired, top with Parmesan.

Veggie Meatballs

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a 15x10-inch baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. In a large bowl stir together egg, applesauce, zucchini, onion, salt, and Italian seasoning. Stir in bread crumbs. Add ground beef; mix well. Shape beef mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Place in pan; bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through (160°F for beef or 165°F for turkey), turning once.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

363 Calories
16g Fat
32g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 363
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 79mg 26%
Sodium 476mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 47mg 235%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 3.4mg 19%
Potassium 727mg 15%
Folate, total 40.9mcg
Vitamin B-12 1.8mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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