This Easy Cheesy Low-Carb Meatball Artichoke Casserole was an idea that just popped into my head, and it’s a low-carb, low-glycemic South Beach Diet friendly, and gluten-free dinner that’s as easy as it is delicious. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
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.
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.
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.
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 low-carb eating plans and any phase of the South Beach Diet.
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