Chicken Meatballs and Caprese and Green Bean Couscous

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-16Summer means fresh, colorful meals. It also means easy, lazy meals, am I right? Who wants to spend more time at the hot stove than absolutely necessary when you could be doing something more fun, or just relaxing? One dish dinners are my absolute personal faves, because you cook it all at the same time, with minimum pots and pans, and you have your entire meal – protein, side dish and vegetables all done in one fell swoop. Score!

Chicken meatballs are definitely my favorite and these are extra special not only because they are tiny and really cute, but because they are really juicy and have lots of extra flavor factors, like Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. They go so well with the ultimate summer ingredients – green beans and caprese – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Couscous literally cooks in 5 minutes, so you’ll only have time to set the table before it’s all ready to be served. I love how fresh and summery this dish looks and tastes. The tomatoes are just warmed through and you could even add them after the couscous is finished cooking, so they are cold and still fresh, if you prefer. The mozzarella balls are added at the very end too, so they don’t lose their shape but do start to get warm and melted around the edges.

Isn’t this a beautiful meal? It’s totally company worthy, but really easy to put together. I’m sure I’ll be making it a lot this summer. 

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 lb ground chicken (you can use any other kind of ground meat instead)

1 onion, minced

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoons oil

Couscous:

1 1/2 cups green beans, cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 onion, chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

6-8 oz mozzarella balls or regular mozzarella cubed

1  cup couscous

2 cups chicken broth (warm/hot)

fresh parsley and basil, chopped, to taste

Instructions:

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-1-21Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. (I usually pour the milk into the breadcrumbs, so that it soaks in before adding it to the ground meat mixture.) Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-3Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture. With slightly moistened hands, form little meatballs. I like to make mine on the smaller side, because they are extra cute that way and just because I prefer smaller meatballs.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-5At this point, I also boil some salted water in a medium pot and add the cut green beans to it for about 3 minutes and then drain them. Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-2This is a really important step because blanching the green beans will set the color to a lovely vibrant green and it’s important to cook the green beans before adding them to the couscous, because couscous cooks up in 5 minutes, which will not be enough time for the green beans to cook through at all. You basically want all the ingredients that you want to be cooked to already be cooked BEFORE adding the couscous.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-4In a large nonstick skillet, heat up 3/4 Tablespoon of oil on medium high heat. Add part of the meatballs and cook them until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-6Honestly, the time depends on the size of your meatballs, so the bigger they are, the longer they will take to cook. Mine were really tiny, so they cooked really fast. Set the cooked meatballs aside, while continuing to cook the remaining meatballs, adding more oil as needed. You should have enough oil left over when you’re done cooking the meatballs to use to cook the onions, but if you don’t just add more oil or butter to the skillet. If the bottom of the pan starts to get really dark and grimy, just wipe it out. Cover the cooked meatballs, so that they stay warm while you are cooking the couscous.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-7Add the chopped onion and garlic to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-8Add the tomatoes and the beans to the skillet and then pour in the warm/hot chicken broth to the skillet. Bring the broth to a boil.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-10

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-11Add the couscous to the skillet, distributing it evenly so that it’s all covered with the broth. Turn off the heat, cover the skillet and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-12

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-13Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-14At this point, add the mozzarella balls and the fresh herbs (parsley and basil) to the couscous. Don’t the mozzarella balls look adorable? Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-15

Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-18But don’t worry, if you can’t find them in your grocery store or just want to use regular mozzarella, you certainly can. Just cut up mozzarella into cubes and it will work just as well. I recommend using whole milk mozzarella though, since it will have a much better texture. The mozzarella will start to get warm and melted around the edges from the hot couscous, but since it’s added at the very end, it will keep it’s shape. It’s SO awesome.

Serve with the meatballs on the side or return the meatballs to the skillet and serve it all together. Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-20 Chicken Meatballs With Caprese Couscous-17

Chicken Meatballs and Caprese Couscous
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground chicken (you can use any other kind of ground meat instead)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ Tablespoons oil
Couscous:
  • 1½ cups green beans, cut into 1 - 1½ inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6-8 oz mozzarella balls or regular mozzarella cubed
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups chicken broth (warm/hot)
  • fresh parsley and basil, chopped, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. (I usually pour the milk into the breadcrumbs, so that it soaks in before adding it to the ground meat mixture.) Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture. With slightly moistened hands, form little meatballs. I like to make mine on the smaller side, because they are extra cute that way and just because I prefer smaller meatballs.
  2. At this point, I also boil some salted water in a medium pot and add the cut green beans to it for about 3 minutes and then drain them. This is a really important step because blanching the green beans will set the color to a lovely vibrant green and it's important to cook the green beans before adding them to the couscous, because couscous cooks up in 5 minutes, which will not be enough time for the green beans to cook through at all. You basically want all the ingredients that you want to be cooked to already be cooked BEFORE adding the couscous.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat up ¾ Tablespoon of oil on medium high heat. Add part of the meatballs and cook them until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Honestly, the time depends on the size of your meatballs, so the bigger they are, the longer they will take to cook. Mine were really tiny, so they cooked really fast. Set the cooked meatballs aside, while continuing to cook the remaining meatballs, adding more oil as needed. You should have enough oil left over when you're done cooking the meatballs to use to cook the onions, but if you don't just add more oil or butter to the skillet. If the bottom of the pan starts to get really dark and grimy, just wipe it out. Cover the cooked meatballs, so that they stay warm while you are cooking the couscous.
  5. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and the beans to the skillet and then pour in the warm/hot chicken broth to the skillet. Bring the broth to a boil.
  7. Add the couscous to the skillet, distributing it evenly so that it's all covered with the broth. Turn off the heat, cover the skillet and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  8. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. At this point, add the mozzarella balls and the fresh herbs (parsley and basil) to the couscous. Don't the mozzarella balls look adorable? But don't worry, if you can't find them in your grocery store or just want to use regular mozzarella, you certainly can. Just cut up mozzarella into cubes and it will work just as well. I recommend using whole milk mozzarella though, since it will have a much better texture. The mozzarella will start to get warm and melted around the edges from the hot couscous, but since it's added at the very end, it will keep it's shape. It's SO awesome.
  9. Serve with the meatballs on the side or return the meatballs to the skillet and serve it all together.

6 Comments

  • Sophie

    This looks really delicious!! I’ve tried most of your patty and meatball recipes and I’m convinced your husband is right. You are the queen of meatballs!! 🙂

  • Tzivia

    Wow omg yo will hafta try these sometime looks sooooooo adorable and way colorful too mmmmm sooooo very delish and tantalizing u outdid urself again olya darlin score

  • liz

    Olga, i just want to say “THANK YOU, THANk YOU AND THANK YOU” a hundred times over and over. This site is such a HUGE INSPIRATION to me! i tried many of your recipes including this one (which came out so delicious) and most of them became our family favorites. Seeing all these recipes has motivated and inspired me to cook more and more because the results were always satisfying. I’m not the best cook but i am slowly learning and this site has been one of the leading factors along with my family who encourages and compliments me on YOUR cooking. lol. Thank you!

    • olgak7

      Aww… Your sweet comment just made my day. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Liz. I am thrilled to hear that you are enjoying the recipes.

  • Mila L.

    Olga,
    Made this recipe for the first time and loved it. I loved how you were able to make it simple and tasty. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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