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Gemelli with Zucchini Meatballs and Avocado Chimichurri


Don’t let this recipe’s length intimidate you. It’s as simple to make as it is delicious. I like to make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time so their flavors develop even more. When I’m not in the mood for chimichurri sauce, I substitute my favorite salt-free marinara or the Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe in the cookbook).


For the Zucchini Meatballs


Combine the chickpeas, garlic, oats, nutritional yeast, flaxseeds, and chia seeds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.


Add the lemon juice, miso paste, basil, oregano, onion powder, and black pepper. Pulse until thoroughly mixed.


Transfer to a large bowl and add the shredded zucchini. Stir together until well combined. The mixture should hold together when pinched between two fingers. If the mixture is too wet, add a little nutritional yeast or ground flaxseeds to absorb excess moisture.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking pan with a silicone mat or Gefen Parchment Paper.


Scoop about two tablespoons of the zucchini mixture at a time and use your hands to roll the mixture into balls. Arrange the zucchini balls on the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.

For the Chimichurri Sauce


In a food processor, combine all the chimichurri sauce ingredients plus 1/4 cup of water and pulse to combine. Set aside.

For the Pasta


Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.


Add the chimichurri sauce and toss gently to combine.


Divide the pasta into shallow serving bowls and top each portion with two or three zucchini meatballs.


Excerpted from The How Not to Diet Cookbook: 100+ Recipes for Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss by Michael Greger. Copyright © 2020 by Michael Greger. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Antonis Achilleos.