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Zesty Chicken Meatballs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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1 pound ground chicken

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, whisked

3 tablespoons unseasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Hungarian or hot paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, about 1 small sprig

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, about 5 sprigs

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 lemon, zested

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Serving suggestion: Collard Green Pesto Linguine, recipe follows

Collard Green Pesto Linguine:

1 pound bunch collards, ribs discarded, leaves roughly chopped

One 13-ounce box whole-wheat linguine

1/4 cup pecans

1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 cloves garlic

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, gently mix the chicken, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, paprika, onion powder, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, lemon zest, 2 healthy pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a bowl. Form into mini meatballs, slightly smaller than a golf ball; it should make 28 to 30 meatballs. Warm the butter and oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the meatballs to the pan and do not disturb for 3 minutes to brown well. Turn, cooking another 3 minutes without disturbing. Keep cooking until browned and cooked on all sides, but still juicy and plump with a spring to the touch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve atop Collard Green Pesto Linguine, if desired.

Collard Green Pesto Linguine:

Yield: 6 servings and 3 cups pesto
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Blanch collards until bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer immediately to an ice bath to shock, saving the boiling water for cooking the pasta. Remove the collards from the ice water and pat dry with paper towels before transferring them to a food processor.
  2. Add the linguine to the pot of salted boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, over low heat, toast the pecans until fragrant. Transfer to the food processor with Parmesan, olives and garlic. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until pesto comes together. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  4. To serve, put enough pesto to coat the pasta into a large serving bowl. Drain the pasta and quickly add it to the bowl. The water still clinging to the pasta will loosen up the pesto. Toss to coat. Add more pesto, if needed. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and garnish with Parmesan sprinkled over the top.