Chicken Zucchini Meatballs with Romesco Sauce

It’s too hot for heavy food. Skip the beef and serve these chicken-based meatballs with a flavorful roasted red pepper sauce instead of the usual marinara.


1 medium zucchini (about ½ lb.)
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup panko
1 egg
2 Tbsp. finely chopped basil
3 tsp. minced garlic, divided
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground dark meat chicken
1 cup raw almonds
1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil


• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
• Trim the stem and root from the zucchini and discard. Using a food processor or box grater, grate the zucchini and roll it in a clean kitchen towel, pressing out as much moisture as possible, then set aside.
• In a small bowl, pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk the egg, basil, 2 teaspoons garlic, the oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper until blended. Add the zucchini, ground chicken and breadcrumb-milk mixture. Using your hands, gently but thoroughly combine, then shape the mixture into 1½-inch meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
• Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is lightly browned and the inside temperature reaches 165 degrees.
• While the meatballs cook, prepare the romesco sauce. In a dry skillet, toast the almonds over medium-high heat, shaking the pan frequently. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned and smell toasted.
• In a food processor, pulse the toasted almonds until finely chopped. Add the roasted peppers, the remaining 1 teaspoon minced garlic and the lemon juice and pulse until puréed. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until the purée thickens.
• Serve the meatballs hot with the romesco sauce for dipping.