Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

Another great transitional recipe for those weird days between winter and spring, this creamy risotto-style dish is loaded with vegetables. It’s still warm and comforting, but the overall light feeling of the dish gives a nod towards warmer days ahead. I absolutely love it and I hope you do too!

Ingredients needed to make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

The ingredients are straightforward and veggie-heavy. A few notes on substitutions- I prefer using ground chicken in this recipe, but you could use turkey as well. If using frozen cauliflower rice, it may take longer to rid the pan of liquid before adding the goat cheese, as described below. I find fresh riced cauliflower in the refrigerated produce section in most grocery stores, and generally prefer it to frozen riced cauliflower! Here’s the list of everything you’ll need:

For the meatballs:

  • Olive oil
  • Ground chicken
  • Fresh garlic
  • Roasted red peppers, jarred
  • Fresh or dried oregano
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

For the risotto:

  • Grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Olive oil
  • Riced cauliflower
  • Shallot or yellow onion
  • Roasted red peppers, jarred
  • Tuscan kale
  • Chicken broth
  • Goat cheese
  • Whole milk or unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • Flour or tapioca starch, if gluten-free
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

This is a wonderful meal to make on a weeknight because it’s made using just one large skillet! I prefer using a deeper skillet to make sure there’s enough room in the pan for everything, but you could also use a large Dutch oven if you prefer. Here’s a complete list of equipment for your convenience:

  • Large, deep skillet (at least 12 inches) or large Dutch oven
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs
  • Stirring utensil, such as a wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • #40 (1 1/2 Tbsp) cookie scoop, optional

How to make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

As always before beginning a recipe, make sure to read the entire recipe through. Part of stress-free cooking is taking time to do this simple step, as well as chopping and measuring everything that needs to be chopped and measured before you even turn on a burner. If you do those two tasks, I guarantee you’ll feel better tackling whatever recipe you land on, not just including ones I’ve written.

You’ll start by mixing the meatballs and forming them into balls. I like to use a cookie scoop to ensure all of my meatballs are the same size, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one. You can eyeball them, keeping in mind the recommended size for these meatballs is about 1 1/2 tablespoons per ball.

Once formed, cook the meatballs over medium heat. You’ll need to work in at least two, if not three, batches to ensure your meatballs get a nice browning and don’t just steam from a crowded pan. When a recipe says work in batches, it’s for a reason more than just slowing you down!

After all of the meatballs have cooked, set them aside. In the same skillet you cooked the meatballs, lower the heat slightly and add the butter and olive oil. Stir in the riced cauliflower and scrape up any meatball bits from the bottom of the pan, which are going to add a ton of flavor to this risotto!

After the cauliflower has cooked for 1-2 minutes, add the garlic, onion, roasted red peppers, and chicken broth, then cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower has become tender.

At this point, you’ll remove the lid and check for liquid in the skillet. You can also add the kale at this point. We want to let as much of the liquid evaporate as possible before adding the cheese and milk, which is what gives this dish that “risotto” feeling. To do this, simply continue cooking the cauliflower, uncovered, over medium heat until the liquid has evaporated. Note: If using frozen riced cauliflower, there may be more liquid. Plan to increase the time needed to reduce the liquid.

Next, we’ll make a “slurry” of flour and milk. This is just a fancy way of saying we whisk flour into milk before adding to a hot pan. It helps the dish thicken and leaves us with a creamy “risotto” as the final product. If you’re dairy free, you can swap any unsweetened dairy milk you like. To make the dish gluten-free, as I often do, swap flour for tapioca starch or a gluten-free flour blend. Both options work! Once the slurry is made, add it to the cauliflower along with the goat cheese. Stir everything up until the goat cheese has melted and incorporated, and the whole dish is creamy.

Finally, you’ll stir in the lemon juice and crushed red pepper, then season again with salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs back into the skillet and serve hot!

Looking for other one-pan/one-pot recipes from The Ardent Cook?

Chicken and Dumplings

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Chicken with Nectarines and Crispy Prosciutto

Recipe Ingredients

For the meatballs 

2 tbsp olive oil

1lb ground chicken

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium roasted red pepper, finely diced, from a jar of roasted red bell peppers 

½ tsp dried oregano

A few shakes crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

For the “risotto”

Two tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee

1 tbsp olive oil 

Two 12-14oz bags fresh or frozen riced cauliflower 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium shallot or small yellow onion, diced 

One 10-12oz jar roasted red peppers (minus the one used in the meatballs), drained and chopped

1 small bunch tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves very thinly sliced

½ cup chicken broth 

6oz goat cheese 

¾ cup whole milk or dairy free milk of choice

2 tsp flour, GF flour blend, or tapioca starch

Juice of ½ lemon

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs and mix well using your hands or a fork. Form into 1 1/2 tbsp-sized balls. Recipe makes about 15 meatballs, for reference.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook meatballs, flipping often to brown them on all sides, until cooked through, approximately 5-6 minutes. When all meatballs are cooked, set aside.
  3. Make the risotto. Lower the heat slightly and add the butter and olive oil. Add the riced cauliflower and scrape up any bits of meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, chopped roasted red peppers, and chicken broth. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.
  5. Remove the lid and check for liquid in the pan. Continue cooking, uncovered, over medium heat until all of the liquid from the cauliflower has evaporated.
  6. While the liquid evaporates, vigorously whisk the flour into the milk to form a slurry. Once all the liquid has evaporated, stir in the goat cheese and the milk slurry and continue stirring until thickened.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes. Season once more with salt and pepper to taste, add the meatballs back into the skillet to warm, then enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Miso Ginger Meatballs

Miso Ginger Meatballs are little bombs of umami flavor perfect for adding protein to any meal or serving as a delicious appetizer. Made using just 8 ingredients and baked in the air-fryer or oven, these meatballs are quick to whip up and great for meal prep, if that’s your thing. You may consider doubling the recipe if you’re feeding a larger family or adding them to lunches for the week, as this recipe makes approximately 15 meatballs.

Ingredients needed to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

As mentioned, you only need 8 ingredients to make these meatballs, and many of them are pantry staples. Here’s the list:

  • 85/15 grass-fed ground beef
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Rice vinegar
  • White miso
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Scallions (optional, for serving)

Tools used to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

To make these meatballs, you’ll really only need a few kitchen tools. The mandatory items you’ll need are as follows: cutting board, sharp knife, measuring spoons, mixing bowl, and an air fryer OR rimmed baking sheet (if using oven method). If you’d like to make your life slightly easier, I’d also recommend a #40 cookie scoop (this fits about 1 1/2 tbsp) to make sure each meatball is the same size, as well as a microplane or citrus zester for grating the garlic and ginger. Both of those items are completely optional, however. That’s all you need to make delicious meatballs in no time!

How to make Miso Ginger Meatballs

This recipe is as simple as combining all the ingredients, shaping the meatballs, and baking. It’s really that easy. No eggs, no breadcrumbs, no fuss. There is one caveat, which is that you really should use 85/15 ground beef. The fat ratio is very important to achieving juicy meatballs without adding extra ingredients, so don’t go any leaner than that ratio. I beg!

If using an air-fryer, I like to line the basket with parchment and bake the meatballs in two batches so they get nice and crispy outside while staying juicy inside. Adding all the meatballs at once would make for a crowded air-fryer and soggy, not crispy meatballs. If using the oven method, it’s helpful to line the baking sheet with parchment to minimize sticking, but you could also just spray your pan very well to avoid this issue.

Once baked, I let them cool slightly before topping with scallions (and sometimes cilantro) and devouring. They’re so delicious!

Looking for other make-ahead recipes for meal prep and beyond?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Harvest Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, and Golden Raisins

Recipe Ingredients

1lb 85/15 ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

½ inch piece ginger, minced or grated

1 tbsp soy sauce 

1 tsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp white miso

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Scallions, optional, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the air-fryer or oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the air-fryer basket or sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients except scallions in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a #40 cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop approximately 1 1/2 tbsp of the meat mixture into your hands and roll to form a meatball. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed.
  3. If air-frying, bake the meatballs in two batches. Lower the temperature on the air-fryer to 390 and cook for 9 minutes, then repeat with the second batch.
  4. If baking, add the meatballs to the prepared sheet tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches at least 155 degrees and the meatballs are beginning to brown on the outside.
  5. Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired, and serve hot. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Green Goddess Meatballs with Carrot Fries and Lemony Herb Sauce

Hey guys! Here we go, my first formal recipe. When I was deciding what to post first, I agonized over what I thought people would want to make. Insert: a vote on Instagram stories, and now you’ve all decided for me! Thanks for that.

These meatballs are everything you need them to be during a quarantine- healthy, versatile, and delicious. The ones pictured here use ground chicken, but they would truly be great with any ground protein. I considered using a combination of ground beef and ground lamb, but unfortunately my local store was out. Use what you have, and don’t sweat it!

The meatballs are herb HEAVY, and I like them that way. If you’re not a fan of fresh herbs, just omit them or use less. Don’t like dill but love parsley? Just sub extra. But, they are called ‘Green Goddess’ for a reason people, and the herbs really do add to their flavor.

I absolutely love oven-baked fries, particularly sweet potato. However, I don’t love the work that goes into chopping all those sweet potatoes. It’s actually the worst. Your knife always gets stuck, you risk losing a finger, and the pieces never seem to turn out the shape or size you want. These carrot fries are the perfect alternative and require far less intense chopping, so you can spend more time eating them than you did prepping them. The carrots mimic the sweet-yet-earthy taste of the sweet potatoes, and the high roasting temperature allows them to get crispy and slightly caramelized on the ends.

Finally, we have the Lemony Herb Sauce, which is a non-negotiable for me. It comes together in about 3 minutes start-to-finish, and uses one bowl (or blender cup, if you want to get technical). The nuttiness of the tahini is balanced by the sharp flavors of the lemon and fresh herbs, and because we’re making it in a blender, you don’t get the big leaves of the herbs stuck in your teeth. This sauce is perfect for dipping, or you could use it as a salad dressing. Bonus: if you like the vibe of this dip, try doubling the recipe and adding a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas to the blender along with it for a flavorful, lemony hummus situation. What could be better?

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to post your photos and tag me @theardentcook on instagram. It would truly mean the world to me. Enjoy!

For the Meatballs:

1lb ground chicken (or other ground protein of choice)

3 small cloves garlic, minced

⅛ cup finely chopped parsley

⅛ cup finely chopped cilantro

⅛ cup finely chopped dill

1 TBSP dried oregano

1.5 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste 

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1 egg or scant ¼ cup plain greek yogurt

½ cup homemade breadcrumbs*

1 TBSP avocado oil, or other high temperature cooking fat, for coating the pan

For the Carrot Fries:

1lb whole carrots

2 TBSP avocado oil, or other high-temperature cooking fat

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Lemony Herb Sauce

⅛ cup tahini

Juice and zest of 1 whole lemon

1 TBSP dijon mustard

⅛ cup finely chopped herbs (cilantro and parsley work best)

3 TBSP water, or more if thinner consistency is desired

Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place a large rimmed cookie sheet inside the oven and allow it to get hot as the oven preheats.
  3. Wash and dry carrots. Cut into ¼ inch sticks, resembling french fries. Coat in oil, salt, and pepper. 
  4. Carefully remove the preheated cookie sheet from the oven, using mitts. Use a spatula or tongs to spread carrot fries in an even layer on the cookie sheet, being careful to avoid crowding. Carrots should audibly sizzle when placed on the hot tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  5. Meanwhile, combine ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs*, parsley, cilantro, dill, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, in a large mixing bowl. 
  6. Using your hands, work chicken mixture together until just combined.
  7. Roll into 1.5 inch balls and place in an oiled 9×12 glass baking dish, leaving some room in between. Use a second baking dish if needed to avoid crowding. Recipe should yield about 15 meatballs.
  8. Bake meatballs for 10-12 minutes, until firm to the touch and lightly golden around the edges.
  9. To make the Lemony Herb Sauce, combine tahini, lemon juice and zest, mustard, and water in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk together until emulsified. If the mixture appears to be “breaking” or separating, add a small amount of hot water and continue whisking until cohesive.  Add parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. To thin sauce, add an additional 1-2 TBSP water. Use as a dipping sauce, sandwich spread, salad dressing, or drizzle on grilled vegetables or protein
  10. To serve, add meatballs and carrot fries to a plate. This meal pairs well with a side salad, or grilled/roasted vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, or asparagus. Drizzle Lemony Herb Sauce over the top, or serve on the side for dipping. Enjoy!

*for the Homemade Breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. 
  2. Bake bread slices directly on rack, flipping over halfway, for 10 minutes. Bread should feel warm and slightly toasted, but not overly browned or hard. 
  3. Break bread into smaller pieces and add to a food processor or high speed blender with nothing else. Pulse repeatedly in 3-second increments until desired particle size is achieved. 2 slices of bread will yield approximately ½ cup of breadcrumbs.