This is a great little weeknight dinner and this pesto is something you will want to have on hand. It’s great here, as well as on chicken or beef, or when used as a mix-in for all sorts of “basic” ingredients to give a little kick. Paleo friendly and gluten-free.
A note on coconut cream: Coconut cream is easy to source. Take a can of full fat coconut milk, place into a container with a lid and chill a few hours or over night. A thick layer of cream will rise to the top and solidify. This is coconut cream and it is tasty.
Sundried Tomato Basil Meatballs with Walnut Pesto and Broccolini
Based on Sun Dired Tomato Meatballs with Creamy Pesto from Everyday Paleo
For the meatballs:
2 lbs. ground beef (or a mixture of beef, veal and pork depending on your particular culinary inclinations)
1 big hand full basil
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
Big pinch salt
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
For the broccolini:
1 bunch broccolini
Salt & pepper
For the pesto:
1 c. walnuts
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 c. basil
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes
1/2 c. coconut cream
Big pinch salt
Big pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375. While you are waiting for the oven to heat, prep your broccolini by chopping the cut ends off, placing the stalks on a cookie sheet, and drizzling with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. When your oven comes up to temperature, add the broccolini and set the timer for 15 minutes.
Bring a cup or two of water to a boil. Place the sundried tomatoes in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let reconstitute 15 minutes. If you are using oil packed tomatoes, skip this step.
While your tomatoes are reconstituting, mince the scallions, garlic and basil for the meatballs.
When your tomatoes are reconstituted, remove from the water and mince. Add the meatball portion to a large bowl along with the other meatball ingredients (minus the coconut oil).
Mix the meatball ingredients together and form into ping pong ball sized meatballs.
Heat the coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown on all sides.
When your broccolini timer goes off, flip the broccolini and return to the oven and cook an additional few minutes until browned but not burnt.
When the meatballs are all browned, slide the pan (if it is ovenproof, otherwise use a cookie sheet) into the oven and bake an additional 7-10 minutes.
While the meatballs are working, make the pesto. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whiz until smooth and pesto like. Taste and add more salt/vinegar/pepper as needed until your desired taste balance is reached. You’re looking for a bright and lively pesto – something you want to eat more of before dinner. If it is too thick, thin with a bit of the tomato water if you have any on hand, or regular water. Don’t forget to adjust your seasoning after thinning. I went for a thick sauce – more of a paste – and it was delicious.
To serve, pile meatballs on top of broccolini and top with pesto. And more pesto.
Serves 2-4 for dinner (meatballs and pesto – if you’re serving 4, double the broccolini quantity) or 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch with more pesto left over.