I’ve never been one for green beer (or really any beer), and I’ve seen the Chicago River dyed green enough times in my life that it has lost its novelty completely and sort of skeeves me out, actually. I’m not Irish, and I always forget about St. Patrick’s Day until Pinterest blows up with neon green-hued concoctions. And yet, sucker-for-a-good-theme that I am, I always fall prey to it, year after year.
Last year, and the year before I made gluten free and grain free Irish soda breads, respectively, and this year I was going to make a green cookie for you but and given how much cake I’ve eaten in the last couple of weeks while testing the birthday cake (<–have you seen this cake and the giveaway???), I had to give myself a break. My tolerance for sweets isn’t what it used to be. I think it’s just another unmistakable symptom that I’m getting old. Does anyone else feel perpetually 22? Or maybe 17?
The theme of this past weekend was, apparently, the universe reminding me that I’m not 17 anymore. For example, on Saturday, my husband and I went to see my favorite band of all time, and were somewhat dismayed (to say the last) to find that literally everyone around us was either a middle school student or the parent/chaperone of one.
I was willing to overlook that (since most of them were taller than me anyway), but when the band broke into a song off of their very first album, which came out [redacted] years ago, and the entire arena went from jumping up and down and screaming to … eerily quiet and still … except me – I continued jumping and screaming because YOLO and also because I don’t believe “wife acted like fool at concert” is legal grounds for divorce (at least I hope not) – it was at that moment that I truly realized a) how old I am b) how kids these days don’t do their homework (listen to the older albums before declaring your SuperFan status, please) and c) how anyone who uses the phrase “kids these days” should probably have not been allowed to attend a rock-music-related event.
So, anyway, between the aforementioned jumping and screaming, the uber-late bedtime, and the lost hour of sleep (damn you, inconveniently scheduled end-of-daylight-savings-time) by the time Sunday rolled around, neither of us was up for anything even resembling a St. Patrick’s Day festivity, nor anything green that didn’t pack a serious nutritional punch. Our bodies needed it.
Calling these green meatballs may be a misnomer because, unless you bake them (I wouldn’t – they dry out), they don’t end up looking very green at first glance, but I promise you, they are packed with green-caliber flavor and nutrition. There is an entire bunch of chard in the batch of meatballs, plus some mint and some feta, too, if not for greenness, then the accentuate the other, greener flavors.
I served these balls with garlic zoodles, which are zucchini noodles, sauteed with olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic, then covered to steam for a few minutes until tender. It’s so easy even a sleep-deprived senior citizen with fried vocal chords like me on Sunday night can do it.
- 1 bunch chard ~ 1/2 lb, washed and stems discarded
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons almond flour
- 4 ounces finely crumbled feta cheese
- 1 lb ground turkey not too lean
- Olive oil for frying
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the "s" blade, process the chard and mint until very finely chopped. Add the garlic, oregano, and egg and pulse a few times until combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the feta and turkey. Use a spoon or your hands to mix very well until it reaches a uniform texture. Use an ice cream scoop to portion the meat mixture and roll each portion between your palms to form a tight ball. Repeat until all of the meat mixture is rolled into balls.
Preheat a heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add enough oil to generously cover the entire base of the pan and wait a moment for the oil to heat up. Add the meatballs, leaving at least an inch between them (note: if the first meatball does not immediately start to sizzle when you put it in the pan, remove it and let the oil heat up for a little longer).
Cook for 2-3 minutes until a crust has formed on the bottom of each meatball, then flip and cook until the other side has turned deep brown and a crust has formed.
Reduce the head to medium/med-high, cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through (firm and slightly springy when you press down on them).
Cover a large dinner plate with 2-3 layers of paper towels, and transfer the meatballs to the prepared plate to drain excess oil from them before serving.
Yield: 12-15 meatballs
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.