I’m constantly tiptoeing the line between healthy food and food that others actually want to eat. For the record, my friends do like the food I create, but they also crave those classic fatty comfort dishes…especially during these blasted cold months.
In this comfort-dinner redo of classic spaghetti and meatballs, swapping sweet potatoes for pasta may seem completely out in left field, but when quickly sautéed in a touch of butter these faux “noodles” are delightfully chewy and satisfying. Yes, I did say butter. Once in a while a touch of high quality butter really does the trick (though ghee, olive oil or coconut oil would all work as well).
To take the sweet potato linguine a step further I tossed in a garlic cream sauce made from cashews. I know it sounds weird, but if you haven’t tried making cashew sauces, you really need to. Cashews are the new bacon…not quite. But they create an amazing base for desserts, mayos, dips and so much more. My olive cream sauce has a bite from the raw garlic, but the salty-spicy combo shines against the buttery sweetness of the “linguine.”
Let’s talk meatballs for a moment. I lightened up the beef by using ground turkey and totally ramped the nutritional value with mushrooms. Then I have the whole blast of Moroccan flavor using ginger, garlic, cilantro and raisins. The meatballs are delish and get even better the next day.
Have your classic comfort foods, just upgrade them. You’ll still be warmed from the inside out but without the heavy part.
Turkey and Mushroom Meatball with Sweet Potato Spaghetti
and Olive Cream Sauce
Turkey Mushroom Meatball
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons minced ginger
- 16 oz (roughly 3 – 3 1/2 cups) chopped small mushrooms
~I used shitakes & baby bellas
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 4 tablespoons chopped raisins
- 2 eggs
Sweet Potato Pasta and Cashew Olive Cream Sauce
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked
- 1 cup warm broth
- 2 garlic cloves
- roughly 12 olives
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the shallot, garlic and ginger and cook to just soften the shallots, about 3 minutes, tossing often. Add in the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are wilted, about 5 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Spiralize the raw sweet potato while the mushroom-turkey mixture is cooling. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the cooled mushroom mixture, turkey, cilantro, raisins and eggs.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place a foil covered pan in the oven (to hold the meatballs warm while cooking all of them).
Reheat the mushroom pan to medium and add a bit more coconut oil in. Drop spoonfuls of the turkey meatballs into the hot pan (don’t try to form them in your hands) and cook until golden on the first side and then flip. Place in the oven pan to keep warm.
Blend the cashew cream: Warm the broth. Add all the ingredients (cashews, broth, garlic, olives, cayenne) to the blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste
Cook the sweet potato: Melt the butter over medium-high heat, add in the sweet potato noodles, a pinch of salt and pepper and toss well. Continue to toss, 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are just fork tender.
Toss with the cashew cream and serve with the meatballs.
TIP: Toss the leftovers with a few whipped eggs for a yummy brunch frittata.
Happy Healthy Tips: A spiralizer is key to make noodles out of the sweet potato. If you don’t have one, use vegetable peeler to shave off larger noodles or slice the potato into thin layers and then slice into small matchsticks.