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Adding whole-grain bulgur allows you to use less meat, resulting in meatballs
with less than half the total fat and saturated fat of the original.
Plus a vibrant-tasting combination of fresh and canned tomatoes in the sauce
helps reduce the sodium by two-thirds.
- ½ cup bulgur
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 4 cups diced plum tomatoes, (about 1½ pounds)
- 2 cups cubed whole-wheat country bread
- 1 large egg
- 1 pound 93%-lean ground beef
- ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Place bulgur in a medium bowl and cover generously with hot water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, pressing to remove excess liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in canned tomatoes and plum tomatoes; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and let simmer while you prepare meatballs.
- Place bread in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for a few minutes. Drain and squeeze out moisture.
- Whisk egg and egg white in a large bowl. Add the bulgur, the bread, beef, Parmesan, cinnamon, pepper and salt. Gently combine with a potato masher and/or your hands. Form into 20 oval meatballs about 2 inches long.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; blot with paper towels. Brown the remaining meatballs.
- Mash the simmering tomato sauce with a potato masher to break down any large chunks of tomato. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 50 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and add sugar, if it seems tart, and additional pepper to taste. Serve the meatballs with the sauce.
Recipe by: Patsy Jamieson