This recipe was inspired by my garden, which is really blooming now! Every morning, I check on the garden and pick anything that is ripe and ready to eat. So while picking some cherry tomatoes and jalapeños  I was staring at those huge green tomatoes (which are really just underripe red tomatoes) and I decided to pick a few to cook with. Instead of frying and baking the green tomatoes, which is probably the most traditional way to eat a green tomato, I had the great idea to make a fresh tomato sauce. I love making homemade sauce but I’ve never tried a green tomato sauce before so this seemed like the perfect time to try it out. The sauce is creamy from the coconut milk and Chardonnay, spicy from the jalapeño and packed with intense flavor from the garlic, ginger, fresh oregano and basil. If you don’t have white wine around, you can use vegetable or chicken stock in it’s place. And is there any better way to serve this green tomato sauce than with herbaceous meatballs?!? I love the addition of molasses to the ground meat to give it a depth of flavor that you wouldn’t expect. If you don’t have green tomatoes on hand, you can definitely make this sauce with ripe red tomatoes instead. Have fun!

Green Tomato Sauce
makes 2 cups sauce 

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
3 cups chopped green tomatoes (around 3 tomatoes)
3/4 cup white wine (Chardonnay)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Meatballs
makes 12 meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs (or gluten free brown rice bread crumbs)
1 Tbsp molasses
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

I began with the green tomato sauce! Here are the beautiful tomatoes and jalapeños from my garden.

I sliced the onion, seeded and chopped the jalapeños, minced the garlic and ginger and chopped the green tomatoes. Always a good idea to prep your sliced fruits and veggies before the cooking begins!

I heated the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat then added the onion, garlic, jalapeño and ginger. I cooked the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the onions were soft and beginning to brown, around 6-8 minutes.

I added the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, sugar and Chardonnay. I scraped the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up any bits of browned onion and jalapeño (this adds tons of flavor to the dish) and stirred together the mixture. I tasted the liquid in the pan and added salt and pepper to taste.

I brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat then lowered the temperature to low and simmered the sauce for 35-40 minutes, stirred occasionally. While the sauce was simmering, I made the meatballs, which you will see below. Since the meatballs only cook for 20 minutes, the sauce and meatballs will actually be ready at the same time!

I carefully poured the chunky tomato sauce in to my food processor and blended until smooth. If you want a few pieces of tomato in the sauce, spoon out some of the chunks of tomato and onion and set them aside while you blend the rest. I poured the sauce back in to the pan, sprinkled with the fresh basil and oregano and cooked over a low simmer until the meatballs were ready.

As I said before, while the sauce was simmering, I made the meatballs. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F and lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. I mixed together the ground meat, egg, bread crumbs, molasses, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

I rolled the meatballs into golf ball size meatballs (around 1 heaping tablespoon) and placed them an inch apart on the baking sheet.

I baked the meatballs uncovered for 20 minutes, until browned on top and almost cooked through.

Using a slotted spoon, I separated the meatballs from the fat on the bottom of the pan and placed them on top of the simmering green tomato sauce. I cooked the meatballs for another 5 minutes. I suggest not mixing the meatballs in to the sauce.

Meatballs and Green Tomato Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
Green Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cups chopped green tomatoes (around 3 tomatoes)
  • ¾ cup white wine (Chardonnay)
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Meatballs
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (or gluten free brown rice bread crumbs)
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat then add the onion, garlic, jalapeño and ginger. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown, around 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, sugar and Chardonnay. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up any bits of browned onion and jalapeño and stir together the mixture. Taste the liquid in the pan and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then lower the temperature to low and simmer the sauce for 35-40 minutes, stirred occasionally.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, prepare and bake the meatballs. Since the meatballs only cook for 20 minutes, the sauce and meatballs will actually be ready at the same time!
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Mix together the ground meat, egg, bread crumbs, molasses, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
  7. Roll the meatballs into golf ball size balls (around 1 heaping tablespoon) and placed them an inch apart on the baking sheet. This recipe makes around 12 meatballs.
  8. Bake the meatballs uncovered for 20 minutes, until brown on top and almost cooked through.
  9. When the tomato sauce is ready, carefully poured the chunky sauce in to a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want a few pieces of tomato in the sauce, spoon out some of the chunks of tomato and onion and set them aside while you blend the rest.
  10. Pour the sauce (around 2 cups) back in to the pan over low heat and sprinkle with the fresh basil and oregano.
  11. Cooked over a low simmer until the meatballs are ready.
  12. When the meatballs come out of the oven, separate the meatballs from the fat on the bottom of the pan using a slotted spoon and place them on top of the simmering green tomato sauce.
  13. Cook the meatballs for another 5 minutes and serve.