Avocado, Spinach & Ricotta Meatballs Recipe

Put a new spin on family favourites this avo season!

Celebrate the 2021 avo season by adding an avo (or two) to your family’s best-loved dishes, for simple, quick and utterly delicious meals made with love.

If 2020 taught us anything, it was to spend more time doing what we loved, and less time doing what we didn’t. Like enjoying more time together sharing wholesome meals, and less time in the kitchen preparing them. Good thing that the 2021 avo season is in full swing. Why? Because avos are definitely more of what we love and are an easy way to add that something special to any regular family meal!

The buttery, creamy green-skinned avo varieties Fuerte, Edranol, Ryan, Reed and Pinkerton are available from March until October, and the rich, nutty dark-skinned Hass, Maluma Hass and Lamb Hass from March until November.

While we love the fact that South African avos are available almost all year-round, we’re particularly happy that we can get our hands on them in winter due to the immune support they may offer in the colder months.

Did you know avos are high in copper (33%), a source of fibre (5.3g fibre per 100g) and contain antioxidants?

Copper is known to support immune system function. Fibre is essential for good gut health; around 65% of the immune system is housed in the gut, which regulates immunity and helps to protect against invading pathogens that cause disease. Antioxidants are powerful food components that maintain and regulate immune function, and avos contain the antioxidant nutrients lycopene and beta-carotene.

So not only are avos ripe and ready right now, but they’re a source of nutrients, versatile and super quick to add to almost any dish, cutting down on meal prep.

This season’s family dinner must-haves include oven-baked beef, pork or chicken schnitzel topped with Caprese-inspired sliced tomato, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and avo slices.

Also on the menu is a fun avo twist on family favourites – mac and cheese, and meatballs. Give your ho-hum mac and cheese a makeover with an avo cheese sauce topped with avo and coriander. Tired of drowning meatballs in gravy to enhance their taste? Imagine meatballs rolled up with avo, spinach and ricotta, baked to perfection, and served with Greek-style yoghurt and fresh lemon wedges.

Avocado, Spinach & Ricotta Meatballs Recipe

  • Makes approx. 24 meatballs
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 500g ground beef mince
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup mashed avocado
  • 2 tablespoons minced or finely chopped onion
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Blanch the spinach in boiling water, drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop the spinach.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Using a 1 ½ tablespoon measure ice cream scoop, make about 25 balls and place them on the greased baking sheet, about 4cm apart (wet hands help in shaping smooth balls). If you do not have an ice cream scoop, simply use a heaped tablespoon.
  • Brush the tops of meatballs with a little avocado/olive oil to prevent drying out in the oven, place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10
  • Cook in batches until all done
  • Serve meatballs with Greek style yoghurt and fresh lemon wedges.

For an eggless option, omit the egg and replace with 1 whole mashed avocado.

For further information and avo recipes, visit www.avocado.co.za, like @iloveavocadoSA on Facebook and follow @iloveavossa on Instagram.

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