This Easy Cheesy Low-Carb Meatball Artichoke Casserole was an idea that just popped into my head, and it's a low-carb and gluten-free dinner that's as easy as it is delicious.
Since I first started blogging, people have been asking me "How do you think of the recipes?" Of course, sometimes I've credited a cookbook, magazine, or other blogger who has inspired me with an idea, but there are some recipes like this one where I have to admit that I have no idea why the recipe popped into my head! And surprisingly enough, some of those recipe ideas that just pop into my head turn out to be favorites.
This Easy Cheesy Low-Carb Meatball Artichoke Casserole was inspired by two favorite low-carb products I buy at Costco, Aidells Organic Chicken Meatballs with Basil and Garlic, and Kirkland Artichoke Hearts. (I also buy Colemans Chicken Meatballs when my Costco doesn't have the Aidells brand, and they're equally good.)
So this easy and cheesy casserole is simply a combination of meatballs, artichoke hearts, low-sugar marinara sauce, and grated mozzarella, all melted together in to a cheesy dish that is quick to throw together after work. There aren't many recipes on this blog that just assemble purchased ingredients, but I promise you that this casserole is really good. And everyone has those nights when you need something that goes together quickly for dinner, right?
Drain the water from the artichoke hearts well while you brown the meatballs. (I was careful about turning each artichoke heart over in the colander so the maximum amount of water could drain out.) Layer the browned meatballs and cut artichoke hearts in a large casserole dish.
The first time we tested this we simmered the sauce for about 15 minutes to cook off some of the water. The second time we skipped that step and there was the tiniest bit of water in the bottom; we didn't think there was enough water to worry about, but take your choice on that. Spread the sauce over the meatballs and artichoke hearts and top with grated cheese. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbling and browned to your liking.
Serve hot, with something like Roasted Asparagus or Roasted Broccoli on the side for a low-carb meal.
Easy Cheesy Low-Carb Meatball Artichoke Casserole
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn)
33 oz. jar artichoke hearts packed in water (I used Kirkland's Artichoke Hearts from Costco)
2 lb. package pre-cooked chicken meatballs (I like Aidell's Organic Chicken Meatballs with Basil and Garlic or Colemans Chicken Meatballs.)
2 tsp. olive oil
24 oz. jar low-sugar pasta sauce (I used Newman's Own Common Good Tomato Basil Sauce, which was the lowest-sugar sauce I found.)
2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
Dump the artichoke hearts into a colander placed in the sink and let the water drain out while you brown the meatballs. (I turned each artichoke heart so the open side was down and the maximum amount of water could drain out.) Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray a casserole dish (9" x 13" or close to that size) with non-stick spray.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the meatballs, and cook over medium-high heat, turning a few times, or until all the meatballs are nicely browned. (Browning the meatballs is probably optional, but we thought it added flavor. You may need to brown them in two batches if you don't have a large enough frying pan.) Put the browned meatballs in the bottom of the casserole dish.
Wipe artichoke hearts dry with paper towels and cut each one into half or fourths, depending on how big they are. Put the artichoke hearts over the meatballs in the casserole dish.
You can simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes to cook off some of the water if you want to; we made this both ways and although when we didn't simmer the sauce there was a tiny bit of water in the bottom, we felt it wasn't worth the extra step of reducing the sauce. Pour the sauce over the artichokes and meatballs. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling hot and the cheese is nicely browned. Serve hot. I haven't tried freezing this, but it did keep in the fridge for several days and and reheated well.
South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
Artichoke hearts do have some carbs, but they also have a lot of fiber, which makes the amount of net carbs not that high. If you use low-carb meatballs and look for a sauce without added sugar, this would be a good dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or most other low-carb eating plans.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Meatballs for Dinner:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)
Slow Cooker Sausage and Meatballs Photo Index Page ~ Slow Cooker from Scratch
Low-Carb Baked Greek Meatballs with Feta and Oregano ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Greektown Turkey Meatballs ~ The Perfect Pantry
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)