Bison Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons

Bison Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons | My Engineered Nutrition

OK. So it may be a stretch to call this a "recipe". I mean, it is so simple and I didn't make everything completely from scratch (gasp!). However, this combination of flavors is just too good not to share. 

The zoodle craze (zucchini noodles, for those not in "the know") has really taken over. I had yet to jump on the zoodle train, merely because I couldn't justify spending $50 on a kitchen tool that could do just one task: spiral slice vegetables. However, the more and more I saw new recipes involving zucchini noodles, the more I really wanted to try them. Enter: my mandoline slicer. 

Zucchini Ribbons | My Engineered Nutrition

THIS kitchen tool has many uses, and I find myself using it more and more lately. I set my mandoline to the thinnest setting and sliced my zucchini length-wise. The result were these delicate and elegant zucchini ribbons. The thought of weighing these down with heavy marinara meat sauce seemed just wrong. These noodles needed something lighter and vibrant. Zucchini is a summer squash after all, they needed a summertime flavor profile! 

Zucchini Ribbons | My Engineered Nutrition

The pesto still allows their zucchini ribbons to keep their shape, unlike a heavy tomato based sauce which would weigh the ribbons down. The lemon zest really sets this dish apart, in my opinion! It adds an element of brightness and awakens all the flavors. 

This dish is simple, elegant and light - try it tonight!

Bison Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons | My Engineered Nutrition


Bison Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes 

Servings: 4


  • 1 lb ground bison (if you want to make this extra lean use 93/7 ground beef but I highly recommend bison)
  • 4 zucchini
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz pesto, pre-made or homemade
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Prepare your zucchini ribbons. Slice all 4 zucchini length-wise on the thinnest setting of your mandoline. You could also use a spiralizer or in a pinch, you can thinly slice your zucchini.  Once you have your ribbons, thinly slice your asparagus into 1" pieces (not with the mandoline), cutting the thicker parts in half length-wise. 
  2. Heat your cast iron (or metal) skillet over medium heat.
  3. Mix together bison and 1/3 of pesto. Form into 12 meatballs.
  4. Evenly space meatballs in hot skillet. Brown for about 2 minutes each side, turning until all sides are cooked and a nice crust has formed. 
  5. While meatballs are cooking, sauté garlic in the olive oil in a separate pan over medium heat until garlic begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and asparagus and toss. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add remaining pesto and mix thoroughly. Turn off heat to skillet. 
  6. Zest lemon over the vegetables and lightly toss. Plate your zucchini mixture and top with meatballs and additional lemon zest, if desired. 

Nutritional info (1 serving = 1/4 of vegetables and 3 meatballs)

370 Calories - 28 g Protein, 12 g Carbs, 23 g Fat

*This may seem to be high in fat but these are healthy fats! Remember, we need to be sure to include enough in our diets. This is a great meal option for when you are eating low carb for a day. 

Posted on June 30, 2015 and filed under Recipes, Beef.