Mini cocktail meatballs amped up with whole grain bulgur, enriched with herbs and spices, and tossed in a luscious pomegranate balsamic sauce. Whether you’re entertaining guests, or simply feeding the family, kick off the festivities with this elegant and crowd-pleasing holiday appetizer.Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the #JuiceCentral campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time.
Can you guys believe we are ONE WEEK away from Christmas?! I swear, if December flew by any faster, I’d have some serious whip lash.
But what better way to celebrate the holiday season than with festive appetizers? Especially when you’ve already hit your sugar quota from Christmas cookie overload (guilty..) and need some savory goodness in your life.These festive holiday meatballs boast flavors that feel indulgent, but healthier ingredients so you can endure holiday gatherings without overdoing it. By forgoing sodium-laden ingredients like the usual ketchup, tomato paste, or chili sauce and including whole-grain bulgur in place of breadcrumbs, these two-bite treats are more nutritious and outrageously flavorful.
They’re also made with 100% juice, which is filled with the same important vitamins and nutrients as the whole fruit it is squeezed from with no added sugar. Considering a whopping 80% of the American population does not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in their diet, juice can be an easy way to supplement this intake.100% pomegranate juice is brimming with potassium, folate, Vitamin K, and a wealth of antioxidants. The juice’s natural sweetness helps cut the vinegary edge of the balsamic and rounds out a deeply savory flavor profile. Garnished with fresh mint and studded with pomegranate arils, you’ll want to make sure your meatballs are fully doused in this sticky-sweet sauce.
I’m tellin’ ya, love at first BITE.Beyond appetizers, you could totally turn these meatballs into a meal, too. Serve them with a gorgeous winter salad with pears and arugula, a hearty loaf of fresh focaccia and an assorted cheese platter and you are good to GO.
That is literally the exact meal I enjoyed last night with my girlfriends and we were in heaven. How awesome is food for bringing people together this time of year?
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- ½ lb ground pork
- ½ lb 90% lean ground beef
- 1 cup cooked and cooled bulgur
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
- ½ cup beef or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
- Optional garnish: pomegranate arils
- Place all meatball ingredients in a large bowl - ground pork through black pepper. Mix well to combine. Shape into 20-24 (1-inch) meatballs.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-heat. Place meatballs in pan and cook, turning on all sides, until browned. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
- Leaving remaining oil and browned bits in pan, add pomegranate juice to deglaze. Add broth and vinegar. Stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, combine cornstarch and water; mix well. Pour cornstarch mixture into pan and use a whisk to thoroughly combine, removing any clumps. Place meatballs back in pan.
- Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until sauce is thickened and meatballs are cooked through. Top with fresh mint and pomegranate arils, if desired.