It’s been seven days since I started this little project and I have to say that I l have been reminded of two things. One, I love vegetables and two, I am lazy. I admit that prepping vegetables are a reason that I don’t eat more of them. It’s so much easier some days to grab take out or graze on something hanging out in the back of the refrigerator. I’m trying to prep things ahead of time, so it’s easier to pull a dish together without having to worry about a lot of cleaning and chopping. Setting an hour or two aside on the weekend can really set you up for healthy eating success.
These baked chicken zucchini meatballs are really versatile, and you can eat them in a lot of different ways. Here I’ve served them with my quicker roasted spaghetti squash and 5-minute everything sauce. You can layer them into pita bread with some tahini sauce, serve them over pasta, or put them on top of a salad. I used chicken thighs and ground them myself in my food processor, but you can use ground chicken instead. The addition of the mint and cilantro gives a lightness and freshness that you wouldn’t usually associate with meatballs. Instead of breadcrumbs, I used quinoa for some extra protein and some ground chia seed instead of egg.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag #scalingback on Instagram – I love seeing what you create in your kitchen! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat (username: scalingback)
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seed
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs or 1½ pounds of ground chicken
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup fresh mint
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the tablespoon of ground chia seed with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 5 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients. If you don't have ground chia seeds you can use a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds.
- Place the chicken thighs in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the chicken is chopped and no large pieces remain. Add the chia seeds, zucchini, parsley, mint, garlic, lemon zest, cumin, salt and pepper and pulse to chop the herbs and combine the mixture well. Use a tablespoon ice cream scoop to shape the mixture into 20 1-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared tray. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes turning the meatballs halfway through the cooking time.