The health philosophies that we adopt in the Funch kitchen in reality extend way beyond our quest for healthy snacks. Commitment to a healthy lifestyle for our families includes healthy eating choices, exercise and our general lifestyle choices. As such we thought this blog was a great platform to share some of our health choices for our families which in this case includes a great healthy family dinner.
Today's recipe is a great winter warmer: Tuna Meatballs with Pasta Two Ways.
We have included a kids and adult version. If your kids don't mind 'green bits' then they would be be more than happy with the added flavours in this adult version, just as many adults would be happy with the simpler kids version. Obviously it is a personal thing and this recipe can easily be adapted to suit your families needs.
What you'll need:
- 2 x 185g tin tuna in oil (drained)
- 100g (1 cup) dry wholemeal breadcrumbs
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablspoons oilve oil
- 400g spaghetti pasta (we prefer wholewheat, wholemeal or gluten-free)
- Handful of grated cheese to top with on serving
Extras for the adults:
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Handful chopped kale (if you are not a fan of kale, a combo of parsley and chives)
- 4 tablespoons blanched almonds
- 80ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 25g (¼ cup) grated Parmesan
- 1 garlic clove
- freshly ground black pepper
- teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- Pre-heat oven to about 150C (fan forced) or 180C conventional.
- Pop the tuna, breadcrumbs, pine nuts, lemon zest and egg in a food processor or stick blender and pulse until combined.
- Halve the mixture.
- Shape one half of the tuna mixture in to balls (about 8).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat and cook the balls. You will need to turn these frequently to ensure they are golden all over.
- Take out of pan and pop on a tray in the oven to continue cooking (and keep warm) whilst you prepare the adults tuna balls.
For the adults:
- Make kale pesto - pulse the almonds, kale, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan (reserve a little for serving) and black pepper in a processor until finely ground. Set aside.
- Add the chopped parsley to the other half of the tuna mixture and a sprinkle of chilli flakes and shape in to balls.
- Cook the tuna meatballs as you did for the kids (turning frequently to brown all over).
- Bake all the tuna meatballs (kids & adults) in oven whilst preparing the spaghetti.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to instructions on packet. Reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
To Serve: Kids
- Pop the kids pasta into bowls and top with the kids tuna meatballs and some grated cheese.
- Toss the kale pesto (reserve a little to sprinkle on top) through the pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the mixture.
- Top the pasta with the tuna meatballs and spoon over the left over kale pesto and add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Health Benefits of this recipe:
Tuna: an excellent source of protein and is easily digestible. Canned tuna also contains essential vitamins and minerals and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important during early childhood for eye and brain development.
Pine Nuts: not only crunchy, sweet and delicious, pine nuts are particularly good for kids because they are a great source of plant derived nutrients, essential minerals, vitamins and "heart friendly" mono-unsaturated fats.
Pasta: I have used gluten-free pasta, but you can use whatever pasta you prefer. The carbohydrates in the pasta provides a 'slow-release' of energy, as well as essential nutrients in the form of fibre (even more so in wholewheat and wholemeal), vitamins and minerals. Pasta is low in sodium and cholesterol-free.
Kale: high in iron and protein, packed with vitamins, filled with powerful antioxidants, a great anti-inflammatory food, great for cardiovascular support and an excellent source of healthy fats.
Almonds: lowers 'bad' cholesterol, protects artery walls, builds strong bones and teeth, provides healthy fats and aids in weight loss, nourishes the nervous system, alkalises the body and lowers the rise in blood sugar after meals.