Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Fast Day Feast- Low Cal Meatballs, Zoodles and Tomato Sauce

(Title stolen from this blog)

Today is a fast day. That means very restricted calories... It can get boring. The plan for dinner was zucchini pasta (thanks to the gadget my mum gave me) with meatballs and sauce, and that's what I made, but it all turned out much better than planned.

A quick stop on the way home from a friends house to get cauliflower (a brainwave I had to get more meatballs and lower the calories) also got me a giant bag of lovely, pretty much perfect, cherry tomatoes! So of course, I made sauce.

This is the total
collection of 'bad bits'
 I had to cut off

It is super yummy and overall, the meal is very low in calories for what you get.

10 mini meatballs= 180 cals
Zucchini Pasta= 15 calsish
Home made sauce= 70 cals (for 1/2 cup)

Total= 265 cals

This leaves a really decent amount even for woman sticking strictly to the limit of 500 cals for the rest of the day. I even had calories left for some after dinner yogurt and fruit (a very small amount....but just the idea of being able to have dessert on a fast day is exciting!). I think that I would have the meatballs mixed with some sauce on toast with veggies on the side next time, there's nothing really wrong with the 'pasta' but it's nice to have options, particularly when you have more calories to play with.

Where appropriate I have linked to the original recipes I used to base mine on.

Recipe Zoodles, Low Cal Meatballs and Tomato Sauce:

You will need:
-1.5 zucchinis per person, made into noodles or grated/sliced thinly
-small amount of olive oil
-400gm lean beef mince (Extra lean would be better but I didn't have any)
-200gm cauliflower blitzed in a food processor
-1/2 brown onion
-2 eggs
-salt + pepper
Tomato Sauce
-1.5 kg (ish, I didn't actually measure for this at all) cherry tomatoes, halved
-olive oil
-balsamic vinegar
-chili flakes
-1 brown onion, diced
-salt + pepper


  1. Pre-heat an oven to 200 Celsius and lay your tomato halves face down on trays, I had to do several batches. Bake for around 10 minutes until they begin to wrinkle and remove from oven.

  2. When cool enough to work with remove the skins and set aside flesh.
  3. Heat oil in pan and brown onions and garlic. Add tomatoes and seasonings. 

  4. Simmer for 10 minutes if using a pressure cooker and 1.5-2 hours if on a stove top.
  5. If using a pressure cooker, set the medium pressure, and set for 45 minutes. 
  6. Release pressure, remove lid and mix.
  7. Using a stick mixer, blend to the consistency you like. Simmer to reduce if you want, I simmered for about 5 minutes.  
  8. Taste and season as you need. 
  1. Prep cauliflower: 
  2. Steam cauliflower for 10 minutes or until it loses the 'raw' taste. Let cool.
  3. Mix meat, cauliflower, onion, eggs and seasonings well. 
  4. Form into meatballs (mine were 20-25gm each).
  5. carefully brown and cook in a fry pan, or microwave at 30 second intervals, draining as necessary. They are very fragile, and using my dumpling steamer allowed me to make them evenly sized very easily. They taste fine microwaved and covered in sauce no-one will no they're not nicely browned ;) 
  1. Fry in oil and seasonings until just tender, too much and they go sloppy.

Put your Zoodles in a bowl, top with meatballs and sauce, yum!


  1. That vegetable twister is so cool! I've always been a little deterred from making a zucchini spagghetti because it was so much effort to cut them to the right shape/size.
    - Mary

    1. It's so easy with it! And because it has the screw thread you don't even have to control the pressure. I feel like it might be worth trying with potato to fry/bake/microwave....yum yum!

  2. That looks so clever! I can't cook at all, so this is extremely impressive. :) I'm now hungry and have to ask my man to make me something to eat!


    1. This is really very easy, and if you cooked the meat in the sauce you don't even have to worry about the eggs/things binding and staying put as meatballs

  3. Love that meatball recipe! I have 1 child that won't really go near veggies so I have to trick him any chance I get. This would definitely trick him.

    1. It was really good! Defs try it as a spagbol, you can hardly notice the cauliflower taste and if you didn't know it was there....