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Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Sesame Vegetables

The meatballs are saucy, so you want to form the parchment into a bowl shape to keep the sauce from running onto the vegetables as they roast together in the same pan.

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4 to 6
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
45 min


  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • 5 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 6 heads baby bok choy (about 24 oz), trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 cup jarred unsalted puréed strained tomatoes (aka passata)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp potato starch


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mist a 13 x 9-inch roasting pan with cooking spray. Line 1 side of pan with a 10-inch length of parchment paper; fold and crumple all 4 edges to make 2-inch-tall rimmed sides, resembling a shallow bowl. (Or use a piece of foil to create a shallow bowl shape on one side of sheet.)

2. In a large bowl, mix together beef, spinach, onions, egg, bread crumbs, half of garlic, ginger, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1/8 tsp salt. Shape by heaping 1 tbsp into balls. Arrange in a single layer in parchment or foil “bowl.” Bake for 8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, toss together bok choy, mushrooms, 1 tbsp soy sauce, safflower oil, sesame oil, pepper flakes (if using) and remaining half of garlic, ¼ tsp black pepper and 1/8 tsp salt. Remove pan from oven; arrange bok choy mixture in single layer on remaining half of pan. Return to oven; bake for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together tomatoes, vinegar, maple syrup, potato starch and remaining 3 tbsp soy sauce until smooth.

5. Remove pan from oven; pour tomato mixture over meatballs and stir. Stir bok choy mixture. Return to oven; bake until meatballs reach 160°F when tested with an instant-read thermometer in centers, sauce is slightly thickened and vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Divide meatballs and bok choy mixture among plates; drizzle meatballs with any sauce left in parchment.

Tip: Squeeze the thawed spinach in a clean tea towel to remove as much liquid as possible; this gives the meatballs the best texture and flavor.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories 267
  • Carbohydrate Content 22 g
  • Cholesterol Content 80 mg
  • Fat Content 11 g
  • Fiber Content 4 g
  • Protein Content 21 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 3.5 g
  • Sodium Content 618 mg
  • Sugar Content 11 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 4 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 2 g