Saturday, January 23, 2016

Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs Over Roasted Cauliflower Mash #SundaySupper

Porcupine Meatballs from

I want to thank #SundaySupper and The Beef Checkoff for sponsoring this post. You rock! 

OK, so let's get down to bidness here peeps! Raise your hand if you made a resolution to eat healthier in 2016 

Maybe you didn't make a "resolution", but you silently promised your little holiday treat stuffed body a break for a few months?

I know my jeans and I are not happy with each other, and don't even get me started on the bathroom scale. Ppfffttttt we are NOT on speaking terms .

Porcupine Meatballs from

My answer to those situations is to make some slight changes to my eating habits.

Notice I said slight changes?

Yes, just talking about eating healthier had Kevin's head spinning. He was pouting thinking that meant he couldn't have any of the foods that he enjoys. He had visions of an endless parade of salads, chicken, and fish, with our beloved cheese, pasta, and beef sidelined for a later date.

I am still enjoying my pasta, just not everyday. I bought a spiralizer so am excited to give some "voodles" a try. I still enjoy my dairy, just in low-fat form (I ain't given' up my cheeeeez), and I am still loving on my beef.

Some people think beef is not healthy for you. But that is far from the truth! There are so many lean cuts of beef that I can cook with. Did you know that in just 1 3-ounce serving of lean beef, there is almost half of your daily protein, and 10 essential nutrients, all for about 150 calories?

Porcupine Meatballs from

Do what?? #raisetheroof 

AND beef  provides more of the quality protein you need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and build muscle. Add that to some whole grains, produce, and low fat dairy, mmmm mmmmm mmmmmm, and the carnivore and I are happy happy people 

Plus beef is soooooo ding dang versatile. Some of our favorite beef dishes are, Spiced Coffee Rubbed Steak, Deluxe Cheeseburger Kabobs, Beef Kofta with Tzatziki and Tomato Cucumber Relish, and Slow Cooker Beef Stew. But I have soooo many more recipe. From Asian, to Mexican, and Indian flavors, the list goes on and on!

Not sure which cuts of beef you want to cook with? Well, I have that answer for you. Check out the Beef Checkoff's Interactive Butcher Counter.

Look for the little green "lean" icon and you will find cut suggestions, as well as recipe ideas for those cuts.

It is pretty cool, and takes all of the guessing out of the situation. PLUS everything that you want to know about beef as a part of your healthy diet is right there as well!

Now, about this particular recipe, I decided I wanted to prove to Kevin that I could switch it up a bit, without losing any flavor. He loves his juicy meata balls, and his mashed taters, so I put them both together in one dish AND gave myself a break by making it a slow cooker recipe. Yes, you do have to roast the cauliflower at the end, but that is still really hands off time, then you chuck it all into a food processor, and DING dinner's done!

My kids showed up right as we were getting ready to eat (funny how that seems to happen), so I served them both up a plate. Nobody, and I me nooooooobody realized it wasn't mashed potatoes!

Way to go Mom!!

Porcupine Meatballs from

Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs Over Roasted Cauliflower Mash

Bobbi Burleson
Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs Over Roasted Cauliflower Mash
A healthier version of the traditional porcupine meatballs, using brown rice in place of regular white. Serve these tasty meatballs, over a bed of roasted cauliflower mash, for a delicious and nutritious Sunday supper meal


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 head + 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 5 teaspoon dried basil, divided
  • 4 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 24-ounce containers of finely chopped Italian tomatoes (I used Pomi)* see Cook's notes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup (or more) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped and divided


  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, salt, and pepper. with your hands into the ground beef.
  2. Form the meatballs by squishing the mixture together until a tightly condensed meatball is formed. Tight meatballs are a must, or you run the risk of them falling apart in the sauce. You should have 24 meatballs. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Pour the chopped tomatoes into the slow cooker, then whisk in the remaining basil and oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
  4. Carefully place the meatballs into the tomato sauce.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours (brown rice will be slightly al dente, that is the way it is supposed to be).
  6. Meanwhile, about 1 hour before the meatballs are done, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Cut the cauliflower into florets, and separate and peel each clove of garlic. Place them on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to combine, then spread them out into a single layer.
  8. Roast in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes (time depends on your oven, and the size of the florets) until the cauliflower begins to brown on the edges and is soft.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit. Then place the roasted cauliflower and garlic into the bowl of a food processor, along with the Parmesan cheese, warm vegetable stock, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Process until smooth, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  10. Serve the meatballs over the cauliflower mash, spoon the sauce over the top, and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Equipment Used

Large Cutting Board
Chef's Knife
Large Mixing Bowl
Baking Sheet
6 Quart Slow Cooker with Temperature Probe
Food Processor

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Cook time: 05 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 5 hrs. 20 mins.
Tags: slow cooker meals, slow cooker, beef, healthy, meatballs

*Cook's note - If you cannot find the chopped Italian tomatoes, you can use crushed tomatoes in their place.

Nutritional info via Calorie Count

Beef Recipes to Live A Flavorful Life in 2016
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

For more terrific beef recipes, make sure to check out the Healthy Meals with Beef Pinterest board, and follow the Beef Checkoff on their  
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This post is sponsored by the Beef Checkoff in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

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  1. I love your writing style, Bobbi---you always give me a nice giggle! And your meatballs look terrific! Wonder if I can get Bill to eat cauliflower mash? Myay need to have some potatoes on the back burner ;)

    1. Hehe I am glad I can make you smile Liz. I don't know about Bill, but Kevin is a potato guy and VERY picky and he loved it!

  2. Hahaha, everything Liz said about your writing, I echo!! I love taking hearty dishes and lightening them up. "Healthy" doesn't mean "lacking in flavor"!

    1. Exactly! I hate it when people think healthy has to mean blah.

  3. I like the mashed cauliflower idea. These beefy rice balls sound healthy AND delicious!

    1. I could totally forgo mashed potatoes now that I have tried these, and that is saying a lot because I love my taters!!

  4. I am in on that mashed cauliflower for sure! It all sounds delicious!

  5. I LOVE porcupine meatballs. They were always a favorite when I was a kid. Great idea putting them over mashed cauliflower, YUM!

  6. I've never made porcupine meatballs but your post makes me what to make them tonight! Serving them on cauliflower mash is brilliant!

  7. I've never made porcupine meatballs, but now I can't wait to make your recipe. They look fabulous.

  8. Truly a wonderful recipe and I just love the name of it so much.

  9. I have never had porcupine meatballs, but this looks like such a tasty bowl of comfort!

  10. Great idea for good homestyle comfort food lightened up!

  11. You'll love your spiralizer! You did a terrific job of lightening up this comfort food!