Healthy chicken meatballs over mashed cauliflower will fool everyone

Feb 10, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Getting kids or picky eaters to have a healthy, filling dinner can be quite a challenge... until now.

These homemade meatballs are made from ground chicken breast and are tossed in a sweet and spicy pineapple-based sauce the whole family will love. And while I love mashed potatoes, let's face it: As good as they are, they aren't the healthiest thing for dinner. Now you can easily fool everyone by steaming cauliflower and mashing it just like mashed potatoes. This is a wonderfully sneaky way to get those veggies in. I also added some fresh steamed broccoli on the side, sprinkled with a bit of sea salt.

Homemade pineapple chicken meatballs with mashed cauliflower recipe

These healthy, homemade, pineapple-glazed meatballs are served over mashed cauliflower seasoned with roasted garlic and red pepper flakes, along with fresh steamed broccoli. These meatballs freeze great if you want to make a big batch to have on hand for busy nights.

Serves 6

Prep time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 55 minutes


For the pineapple chicken meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 whole egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pineapple sauce

  • 1 cup pineapple apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

For the mashed cauliflower

  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs, and mix very well.
  3. Form the mixture into the desired shape of meatballs, and place them on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake the meatballs for 25 minutes or until the juices run clear and the centers are cooked completely.
  5. Meanwhile, to a large pot, add the chopped cauliflower and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Using a potato masher, mash the cauliflower until smooth. Fold in the cream cheese, butter, garlic and seasonings, and mix well. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  7. To a pan over medium-low heat, add all the ingredients for the pineapple sauce, and mix well.
  8. Bring the sauce to a light simmer, and reduce the heat to low. Add the cooked meatballs to the pot, and gently toss to coat the meatballs.
  9. Divide the mashed cauliflower and meatballs among dinner plates, and serve warm alongside fresh steamed broccoli or any other green vegetable.

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