Getting a good balance of lean protein in the diet can be really helpful for supporting the body’s natural growth and repair systems. Animal proteins such as meat, fish and eggs provide the complete range of essential amino acids which the body uses as the building blocks for muscle and tissue which is why it’s often discussed in the context of sports nutrition and athletes. However we all need a certain amount of protein to help repair the daily damage our body occurs through everyday tasks, as well as through exercise. For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, plant proteins such as quinoa, beans and pulses provide many but not all of these same amino acids so its important to include a wide variety in the diet to get the combined intake. For current nutritional guidelines click here.
Lean protein such as fish and turkey meat provide less of the saturated fats which typically are considered unhealthy in the diet. This recipe is a popular favourite with many of my clients as it combines minced turkey breast with courgette and fresh mint for a light meatball, and alternative to eating a steak or full fillet of meat.
Ingredients (Serves 4-8): 500g minced turkey, 1-2 eggs (1 large or 2 small), 1 large courgette (grated), 1 large handful fresh mint (finely chopped), salt & pepper, olive oil or coconut butter (for frying)
Optional: 1 carrot (grated), other fresh herbs; parsley, coriander, flour* (for rolling)
Preparation: 3 stages: <10 minutes to make mix, < 30 mins leave to chill in fridge, <10-20 mins rolling & pan frying / oven baking**
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then leave to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. If using grated carrot, add at this first stage.
- Prepare a large fry pan with a light covering of olive oil or coconut butter and bring to a medium heat.
- Take the polpette mix and using a teaspoon scoop a small meatball-sized amount into the palm of your hand and roll (You can choose the size you prefer).
- Roll all the polpette first and then place into the pan so that they cook evenly.
- Cover for 1-2 minutes and then turn the polpette and cover again for 1-2 minutes to ensure they are cooked through. Leave to turn golden for the last couple of minutes, shaking the pan every so often so that they roll and cook on all sides.
*You can use flour for rolling which also provides an additional crust to the polpette if desired
** For oven baking, place the polpette in an oven proof dish prepared with oil / coconut butter and bake at 180C for 25-45 minutes depending on the size of the polpette. The best way to check if they are cooked through is wait till they are nicely golden on the outside and then cut one open. You may also need to turn them half way through cooking to colour them on each side.
Serving suggestions & Accompaniments:
- Mixed garden salad: mixed leaves, tomato, grated carrot, cucumber, celery, radish
- Steamed greens: broccoli, spinach, kale, bok choi, cabbage
- Roasted root vegetables: Beets, sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnip, turnip
- Yoghurt & mint sauce
- Beetroot Puree (see recipe)
For other recipes click here.
Download a printable pdf version here.