Recipe: Meatballs with Vegetable Ribbons

There is nothing like spaghetti and meatballs. Every bite is flavoursome, meaty and the sauce brings everything together. For those on a gluten, sugar and dairy free diet this fun take on the classic spaghetti and meatballs is perfect, using vegetable ribbons instead.

Ingredients – Serves 4-6


650g ground beef or turkey
⅔ cup brown rice/gluten free bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large garlic clove, minced (avoid if following a low FODMAP diet)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Olive oil


650g whole tomatoes, peeled
3 minced garlic cloves (use garlic infused oil if following a low FODMAP diet)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped onion
¼ teaspoon oregano
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Vegetable Ribbons

3 zucchini, ends trimmed
2 carrots, ends trimmed and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)


1. Add ground meat of choice to a large bowl and gently break it up with your hands.

2. Pour in the brown rice bread crumbs along with the egg, oregano, salt and pepper.

3. Gently mix with your hands. Make sure not to overwork the meat (no one likes tough meatballs).

4. Drizzle oil into a large pan over medium-high heat.

5. Roll into 2.5cm balls and place into the pan.

6. Brown on all sides and lower the heat to medium.

7. Cook until internal temperature reaches a safe 75C.

8. Remove from the heat and set meatballs aside.

Now switch your focus to the sauce.

To make the sauce

1. Add the oil to a small pan along with the minced garlic and onion.

2. Cook while stirring until fragrant.

3. Add the vegetables into a blender or food processor along with tomatoes, oregano and a generous amount of salt and pepper.

4. Process until smooth (add water as needed to achieve the right consistency).

5. Taste and season as needed.

Once the meatballs and sauce are done

1. Pour sauce into the pan with the meatballs. Heat over medium-low until the sauce begins to bubble.

2. Use a mandolin or julienne peeler to make the zucchini and carrot ribbons. You can eat these raw if you prefer, or if you find raw veggies harder to digest then sautéing or steaming may be best for you.

3. Drizzle a sauté pan with oil and add the ribbons.

4. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until they soften a bit.

5. Add chilli flakes and toss.

6. Plate the zucchini and carrot ribbons.

7. Top with meatballs and finish with sauce.

Once all the cooking is done you have a tasty, fresh and filling dish. The meatballs are excellent, the sauce is amazing and the zucchini and carrot “pasta” brightens up the dish and increases your vegetable intake.

For other nutritionist recipes see this Avocado Pesto Zoodles for another vegetable ribbons recipe.

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