Italian food is one of my guilty pleasures. I’m not a big eater and I’m incredibly picky. But toss a good plate of pasta with an amazingly flavorful sauce or a pizza my way, and I tend to eat until I’m ready to pop. But canned sauces and restaurant foods are loaded with sodium and a bunch of ingredients I can’t say, let alone spell. Those aren’t the things that I want to put in my body (in mass quantities), or into the bodies of my family. For that reason, I make all of my sauces from scratch. This Low Sodium Marinara and Meatballs over Angel Hair Pasta is a family favorite.
A good sauce starts with good, fresh ingredients. Most of my ingredients come from my container garden or the organic produce section at my local grocery store. The only exception is that I do typically use Mrs. Dash products for seasoning. There’s no sodium and they take the guess work out of flavor combinations.
- 8 large tomatoes (if you're using a smaller tomato, like a Roma, then you need to increase to 16)
- 2 small sweet peppers
- 6 green onions
- 3 cloves fresh garlic
- 1-2 tbsp corn starch
- Mrs. Dash Tomato, Basil, Garlic
- Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
- Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb (We really like garlic, but if you aren't a huge fan, you can leave this out.)
- Crock Pot
- Blender or food processor
- Quarter the tomatoes and put them in your blender or food processor (I use my Ninja Blender).
- Deseed the peppers and put them in the blender with the tomatoes.
- Cut just the white part off of the green onions and put them in the blender.
- Peel 3 cloves of garlic and put them in the blender.
- Blend all to sauce consistency and pour into your Crock Pot.
- Simmer on low for 4-6 hours (the longer you simmer, the more the flavors will combine together).
As the sauce simmers, it will change in consistency. If it’s too watery (some tomatoes are way more juicy than others), mix 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch with just a tiny bit of water to make a paste and stir it into the sauce. That will thicken it right up and won’t change the flavor at all.
Now let’s get to the meatballs. I only use ground turkey or chicken for our meatballs because they have so much less fat than ground beef. I really do like to keep everything as healthy as possible. These turkey meatballs are a healthier version of the typical meatball and you can slip even more veggies into this meal and your kids will still love it.
- 1.25 lbs ground lean turkey
- 1 small sweet pepper (if you're trying to disguise it so the kids won't notice, use the yellow variety)
- ¼ cup diced purple onion (or any onion but we like the flavor of these the best)
- 1 loaf bread heel
- muffin tin
- Break up the ground turkey and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Dice the onion and pepper and toss over ground turkey.
- Crumble the bread into tiny pieces and place in the bowl.
- Mix everything together well.
- Roll into balls, about 1.5 inches, and place meatballs in muffin tin holes. This keeps the mess minimized and they're way easier to turn over midway through baking.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees and cook on one side for 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs over with a spoon and cook at 375 degrees for an additional 15 minutes.
- When they are finished in the oven, place them in the Crock Pot with your sauce and allow to simmer for 30 minutes to an hour to absorb the flavor of the sauce.
Serve the marinara and meatballs over a bed of Angel Hair pasta with a slice of garlic cheese toast and you have a delicious, low sodium, family meal that everyone will enjoy. If you love this healthy family meal idea, be sure to check out all of our other healthy recipes to help you with your family meal plan. And for even more family meal ideas, join in on the conversations on Facebook and Google+, and be sure to visit our Pinterest boards. Bon appetit!