Veggie and White Bean Pasta with Turkey Meatballs


Tomorrow is a big day for me. I’m doing a 21 mile run, the longest run I will complete before the Portland Marathon. So naturally, for dinner tonight I immediately thought of pasta. My marathon training group says carbo loading isn’t necessary, but what is the point of running so much unless you can stuff your face with pasta? Plus, I’m convinced it makes me run better.

Tonight I decided to make a tomato sauce from scratch, since our garden is spewing countless numbers of juicy, ripe tomatoes. If this meal doesn’t give me the energy to get through 21 miles, I’m not sure what will. This dish has the perfect balance of fiber and protein and is packed with vegetables. If you don’t have the time to make your own sauce from scratch, just use your favorite spaghetti sauce.

Ingredients (for both meatballs and pasta sauce)

1 large onion

1 red bell pepper

4 cloves garlic

1/2 large carrot

1 cup mushrooms

1/2 cup celery

1/2 cup zucchini

6 large tomatoes

1 cup white beans

1/2 pound lean ground turkey

1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil, dried (or a few fresh basil leaves)

1/4 cup red wine

garlic powder

salt

pepper

cayenne

olive oil

1 egg white

Pasta Sauce:

In a large pot, boil water. Add tomatoes to blanch; remove from heat when tomato skins start to peel. Put tomatoes in a food processor or blender and drizzle in a little olive oil.  Puree until no longer chunky.

Saute 1/2 onion, 3/4 of the bell pepper, celery and carrot over medium heat in a pan until veggies begin to soften. Put tomato puree back in large pot over medium-high heat. Add sauteed vegetable mixture. Add 2 tsp garlic, red wine, 1 tsp oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add zucchini, mushrooms and beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve over whole wheat pasta.

To make meatballs:

Mix together ground turkey, 1/2 chopped onion, 1/4 of the red bell pepper, 2 cloves garlic, bread crumbs, egg, 1/2 tsp oregano and salt and pepper in a bowl. You can also put the vegetables in a food processor or blender to grind them up finely. Roll into 2-inch balls and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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