Chicken Cauliflower Meatballs with Pickled Shallots and Mint | Wine Enthusiast
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Three meatballs on a plate with salad

Chicken Cauliflower Meatballs with Pickled Shallots and Mint

These chicken meatballs have an unlikely yet delicious ingredient: garlicky cauliflower rice. It acts as a binding agent. Gently simmered in a tomato sauce, these meatballs can beautifully complement steamed basmati rice.

Eaten on their own, or with a crisp salad with lemon vinaigrette, they’re great for those who seek to avoid carbohydrates or gluten. Drape them with pickled shallots (recipe below), add some fragrant mint on top and enjoy a family-style meal.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cups raw cauliflower, riced
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 egg
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped fine
1 large shallot, sliced thin crosswise into rings
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon julienned fresh mint


In 12-inch skillet or sauté pan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When glistening, add garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Add cauliflower rice, increase heat to high and sauté for 2 minutes. Cover with lid, reduce heat to medium-low and steam for 2 minutes, or until cauliflower rice becomes tender. Transfer into medium mixing bowl and set aside to cool. This will yield about 1½ cups cauliflower rice.

Once rice is cool, add ground chicken, egg, salt, red chili flakes and dill into mixing bowl. Mix well with silicone spatula. Mixture should appear thick and sticky.

Over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet/pan. When glistening, add shallots. Sauté until shallots are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce. When it comes to boil, add meatball mixture by heaped tablespoon. Cover with lid, and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until edges of meatballs appear opaque. Flip meatballs gently, and raise heat to medium-high. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water in ¼-cup increments if sauce begins to evaporate. Top with pickled shallots and mint. Serves 4, about 16–20 meatballs

Pickled Shallots Ingredients

2 large shallots, sliced thin crosswise into rings
½ cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt

Pickled Shallots Directions

Place shallots in medium-sized heatproof jar. In small saucepan over high heat, combine vinegar, sugar, salt and ¼ cup water. When liquid comes to boil, pour over shallots. Let cool, cover with lid and refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours.

Wine Pairing

Try a Rioja crianza like the Bodegas Olarra 2016 Cerro Añon Crianza to pair with the dish’s herbal and tomato-driven notes.

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