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Whole Grains & Chia Meatballs

Whole Grains & Chia Meatballs

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Chef Jo Lusted loves challenging us to expand our healthy-eating horizons with great ingredients. She brought in a whole slew of whole grains and wowed us with their superfood properties. Things ended on an extra high when she assembled delicious meatballs using chia seed, mushroom and a little bit of beef.


Freekeh

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Roasted baby green wheat with high amounts of fibre and protein.  Packs a much more nutritious punch than white or brown rice.  Acts as a pre-biotic and builds good bacteria in your system to help digestion.


Farro

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Tastes similar to barley and is an excellent source of vitamins B and E, and rich in magnesium.  Long-loved by the Italians, it became unpopular because it's difficult to grow. It's experiencing a huge comeback now thanks to European Chefs.  

Amaranth

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Good things come in small packages! This highly nutritious grain is packed with fibre and protein. It also contains lysine which helps the body repair damaged tissue. When it's cooked it turns sticky and looks similar to cream of wheat. Amaranth is also gluten-free.


Popcorn

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Whole grains include all three parts of a grain: the bran, the endosperm and the germ.  Popcorn has all three!  Nine cups of popcorn equals one day's worth of whole grain requirement.


Try Jo's Pizza Popcorn!


Ingredients

Olive oil in spritz bottle
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp or so smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all spices into a bowl (or empty salt shaker). Mist popcorn bowl with oil. Pop popcorn in air popper. As it comes out, mist with a little bit more olive oil and shake on spices and parmesan cheese. Mix completed batch thoroughly and enjoy.  

Alternative: put all spices into the bottom of the bowl and mix as big batch after all the popcorn has been popped.


Chia/Salba

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Chia seeds are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids! They contain five times the amount of calcium of milk. The seeds will absorb 9 to 10 times their volume in water which promotes a feeling of fullness. They are great for bowel health.


Chia & Mushroom Meatballs

Chia Seeds replace both the egg and breadcrumbs, cleverly adding an Omega-3 and fibre rich punch that no one will notice!

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Meatballs

2 tbsp whole chia seeds
1/3 cup skim milk
3 cups medium whole cremini mushrooms
2 medium shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (flat-leaf parsley and thyme)
1 ½ lbs extra lean ground beef
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups jarred all-natural tomato sauce

Garnish

¼ cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves
Shaved parmesan cheese to taste

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425F.    

2. In a large mixing bowl combine chia seeds and milk. Set aside. In a food processor, pulse mushrooms, shallot, garlic, parmesan cheese, ground chia and herbs until just combined and mushrooms are finely chopped. Add mixture to bowl with chia and milk. Mix in beef until thoroughly combined and season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

3. Roll into 2 tbsp balls and place on a parchment lined or non-stick baking tray. Bake for 13-15 minutes until crisp and lightly browned on outside. Transfer to a large sauce pan and pour in tomato sauce. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes until meatballs are cooked throughout. Garnish with fresh basil, shaved parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


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