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Eating These Meatless Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce Is a Tasty Way to Improve Gut Health

Dr. Megan Rossi – known as The Gut Health Doctor – developed these meatless meatballs with the body's fiber and gut health needs in mind. 

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Dr. Megan Rossi – known as The Gut Health Doctor – developed these meatless meatballs with the body’s fiber and gut health needs in mind. “If you’re eating for gut health, you (and your microbes!) will love this plant-based take on rich, saucy meatballs. They’re incredibly tender and full of flavor, and provide 15 grams of fiber per portion,” she notes.

The meatballs, from her recent book Love Your Gut: Supercharge Your Digestive Health and Transform Your Well-Being from the Inside Out, are part of her efforts to promote plant-based eating with an emphasis on food diversity.

“Seventy-five percent of the world’s food being generated from only twelve plant and five animal species. Essentially, this means that both our taste buds and our gut microbiota are missing out on so many foods. The consequence? This restricted diet is thought to starve microbes that require a diverse nutrient supply, and may very well explain why, compared to our ancestors, our gut microbiota diversity as a population has taken quite the hit,” she writes in Clean Eating. “The more diversity in your plant-based diet, the more diverse the nutrient supply for your gut microbiota (think dietary fibers, prebiotics, and polyphenols). All in all, this equates to a well-fed and diverse range of happy gut microbes, each with their own unique skill set to complement ours.”

 


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Meatless Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce

Excerpted from Love Your Gut: Supercharge Your Digestive Health and Transform Your Well-Being from the Inside Out © Megan Rossi, 2019, 2021. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available everywhere books are sold. experimentpublishing.com

From Clean Eating

Servings
2

Ingredients

Meatless meatballs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 eggplant (about 14 ounces/400 g), diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, preserved in oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce such as Annie's Organic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (60 g) rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
  • Scant ½ cup (10 g) basil

Tomato sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, preserved in oil
  • Half a 14.5-ounce (411 g) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • Pinch of salt

Extras (optional)

  • 1 1/3 cups (40 g) spinach
  • Probiotic Yogurt or Parmesan

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To make the meatballs, warm a large frying pan over medium heat, add the oil, then the eggplant, onion, garlic powder, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt, and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, until starting to color.
  3. Place the oats and flaxseeds in a food processor and blend to form coarse crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Place the sautéed mix, along with the basil, in the food processor. Combine roughly.
  4. Transfer to the bowl with the crumb mixture, stir to combine, and leave in the fridge to thicken for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the fridge and roll into golf ball–size “meatballs” (makes around 12) and place on the prepared baking sheet, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. Warm a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the diced tomatoes, basil, and salt. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  7. Serve the meatballs on a bed of spinach, if desired, and topped with the tomato sauce and yogurt, if you like.

Variations:

  • Spice things up by adding half a chile to the sauce.
  • For vegans: Use vegan Worcestershire sauce, or replace with barbecue sauce, and use vegan yogurt and cheese, or omit them, for serving

Notes:

  • Garlic has been used for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years, and now we have the science to back it up. Trials have shown that garlic can have positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol management. And what about its flu-fighting power? There have been some quality trials to support this, too.