Spinach "Meat"balls.

Now before you jump to any conclusions, you're not going to find the word "tofu" anywhere in this recipe. Nor will you find any other supposedly-tastes-like-meat-but-looks-gross-to-me meat substitute. Now if you're a tofu loving, tempeh tasting maniac, more power to you. It's just not my thing. The day I walk through my front door with tofu is the day my husband will send me packing. Seriously.

If it weren't for my husband, I'd probably be a vegetarian. (That eats steak on occasion.) (And a bite or two of fried chicken just to remind myself of what I gave up.) Basically, I'd eat a lot less meat if I wasn't cooking for a guy. I do think roasted chicken and turkey sandwiches have a place in our diet, just in moderation. I try to eat vegetarian for lunch, and have at least two veggie only dinners during the week. Sounds hard? It's really not.

The key to eating more vegetable is to find new ways to make them. I know I say it every time, but it really works! When I made these "meat"balls, Justin actually had to ask me if there was meat in them. There's so good, you won't even miss the traditional version. They're salty, cheesy and have a kick from the crushed red pepper.

I serve them over brown rice pasta with lemon and zucchini. The beautiful thing about this recipe is you can make the meatballs, and change up everything else. They would be fantastic served with marina sauce and a nice side salad, or piled into a pita topped with tzatziki sauce. The options are endless.

Spinach "Meat"balls w. Lemon Zucchini Pasta

Adapted from { this recipe }

{ Serves 4 }

{ Meatballs }

1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 tsp. crushed pepper

3-4 cracks of fresh black pepper

1 TBS coconut oil

Preheat oven to 325.

Place all ingredient in a large bowl and mix until well combined. (Best to use your hands.) Using a 1" ice cream scoop, form meatballs. Make sure to firmly pat each meatball into a ball.

Heat coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Place one meatball in the pan. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Add remaining meatballs to the pan and cook for 1 minute on first side, or until well-browned. Using a spatula, carefully turn over each meatball to brown on all sides.

Once browned, remove meatballs from the pan and add to an oven-proof plate. (Leave pan sans meatballs on the stove.) Place in oven, uncovered, until pasta is finished cooking.

{ Pasta }

1 lb. brown rice pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

3 garlic cloves

1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped

2 zucchini, cut into thin strips

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

juice from 1 lemon

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, using the same pan you just removed the meatballs from, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper, garlic and thyme to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add zucchini to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until zucchini has just begun to soften. Stir in parmesan cheese, lemon juice and cooked (and drained) pasta. Toss well to combine.

Serve meatballs over spaghetti for a delicious vegetarian dinner!