Spaghetti and Meatballs in a Spicy Secret Red Sauce

Home Made Simple chef Laila Ali makes a delicious, healthy version of a classic meal.

Spaghetti and Meatballs in a Spicy Secret Red Sauce

Home Made Simple chef Laila Ali makes a delicious, healthy version of a classic meal.

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
Spaghetti and Meatballs
2 pounds ground beef, turkey or lamb, or a combination of beef and lamb
2 tablespoons dried dulse flakes
2 tablespoons golden flax meal
1 tablespoon minced, fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooked whole-grain or gluten-free spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional, for spice-loving kids and adults)

Secret Red Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1½ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
Up to 1 tablespoon unrefined brown sugar (optional)

    Steps

    Secret Red Sauce
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes, until softened and starting to color
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until softened
  3. Add the oregano, Italian seasoning and salt, and cook for about 30 seconds, until aromatic
  4. Stir in the carrot and zucchini and cook for 2 minutes to coat them in the spices and soften them
  5. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, stirring to release any of the delicious browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes
  7. Uncover the pan and taste the sauce. Add a little salt if needed and some brown sugar if the sauce calls for a little sweetness
  8. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce directly in the pan until smooth (for a silky-smooth sauce — especially for kids who would otherwise veto the veggies — transfer the sauce in batches to a standing blender and blend until smooth, and then return the sauce to the pan)
  9. Cook for up to 20 minutes more (the flavors will continue to develop), or as much time as you have to get dinner on the table!
    Meatballs
  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, dulse flakes, flax meal, parsley (if using), Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper
  2. Wearing a disposable glove or using clean hands, mix very well to incorporate all the ingredients
  3. Form the mixture into about 24 equal-size balls measuring about 1½" each. Place them on a plate as they are formed. Set aside
  4. In a large, wide sauté pan (10" to 12" wide) rather than a saucepan (so the meatballs will easily fit without crowding), bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat
  5. Using a slotted spoon, gently add the meatballs to the sauce and lightly stir so the meatballs get coated in the sauce
  6. Return to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through
  7. Serve the meatballs and sauce over spaghetti, with or without cheese and red pepper flakes sprinkled on top