Chef Rocco DiSpirito, author of The Negative Calorie Diet, was raised on classic Italian meatballs. His meatball recipe is one for the books. Instead of typical meatball gravy that's loaded with butter and flour, this gravy is made out of mushrooms and spinach. Mushrooms are particularly good for you, as they only have 19 calories per cup and are good sources of vitamin D. This dish is under 200 calories, but will be sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied!
- 12 oz 96% lean ground beef
- 1 cup finely chopped puffed brown rice (such as arrowhead mills)
- 4 cups unsalted beef stock
- ground pepper
- olive oil cooking spray
- 4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup thinly sliced onions
- 8 cups washed spinach
- 2 tbsp arrowroot, dissolved in 2 tsp. of the stock
- 1 oz parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
1. Place beef in a mixing bowl, and push to one side of it. Add rice and 1 1/2 cups of stock in the other side.
2. Add salt and pepper, and let rice absorb stock for about 1 minute.
3. With an electric mixer, mix for about 1 minute until both sides are homogenous.
4. Form the mixture into 16 equal-size meatballs.
5. Coat a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray and place over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the meatballs and brown on one side, about 1 minute. Turn the meatballs over and brown the opposite sides, about 30 seconds.
6. Transfer meatballs into holding plate.
7. Spray skillet again with oil. Add the mushrooms and onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until brown and softened. Add spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.
8. Add remaining stock and arrowroot slurry. Whisk until thickened.
9. Add meatballs and simmer until cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Spoon the meatballs and mushroom mixture into four bowls, distributing them equally. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve. Enjoy!
*Tip: Include some no-sugar-added dried cranberries if you want to liven things up a bit for an additional 20 calories per tablespoon.
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