Ah, January, where everyone you know is now on some sort of diet or cleanse. Maybe you are, too. Or you can be like me, and pretend you aren’t attempting to make up for a month and a half of decadent dining, but calling it “not a diet.” January is a month-long reset where I re-teach my body that Prosecco and scoops of warmed brie is not the ideal dinner. I push myself through the post-holiday slump by trying a handful of new recipes a week, replacing latkes with slow simmered beans, and cinnamon rolls with roasted veggies.
This dinner is the perfect balance between “not a diet” and a family meal. Kid-friendly, greens-packed, turkey meatballs can be enjoyed over a pile of fresh zucchini or butternut squash “noodles” (pictured above). Dip them in your favorite pasta sauce or drizzle with some of that pesto you tucked in the freezer last September.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
5 green onions, roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, leaves removed from stems, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground turkey
1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine garlic, green onions, and cilantro. Process until chopped and uniform.
3. Add the Swiss chard or kale, a handful at a time, and process until chopped and uniform.
4. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Use your hands to create a uniform mixture.
5. Roll meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Refrigerating the meatballs for an hour or two will help them set, but isn’t necessary if you’re in a hurry. Lay them, without touching one another, on top of a roasting pan or a baking sheet with a cooling rack fitted on it.
6. Bake meatballs for about 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through, until no longer pink in the interior. A meat thermometer inserted into a meatball should read 165˚ F.
Joanna Sooper is the owner of Turnip the Heat cooking school (visit turniptheheatcooking.com for more info), as well as an elementary school teacher. Her favorite things include hosting friends in her yard in Northeast Portland and adding to her secret stash of fish sauces. She has a 7-year-old son.