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Winter Brain Healthy Recipe by Chef Annie Fenn, MD, Founder of Brain Health Kitchen

Chicken Miso Meatball Noodle Soup

Chicken is one of the ten brain-healthy food groups in the MIND diet study, one of the most successful dietary patterns proven to fend off age-related cognitive decline. The MIND diet allows two or more servings of poultry (such as chicken and turkey) each week, as long as it’s not fried. In addition to eating poultry infrequently and limiting portion sizes, keep these 3 things in mind:

  • Choose cuts that are lower in fat. Since much of the saturated fat from chicken comes from the skin, remove it before cooking or choose skinless thighs and breasts. For meatballs and burgers, use ground chicken or turkey that is 97% or more lean.
  • Opt out of factory farmed poultry. Look for organic poultry that has been pastured and displays the Certified Humane or Animal Welfare Approved seal. Expect to pay more for birds from farms with high ethical standards.
  • Cook low and slow. High-heat methods, like frying and grilling directly over a hot grill, oxidize the fat and create inflammatory particles. Instead, use low heat and slow-cook methods like braising, stewing, baking, and grilling over indirect heat.

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs or almond flour
  • 1 large bunch scallions, white and tender green parts finely chopped, dark green parts reserved for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

Soup and assembly

  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional) 
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF with a rack set in the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Place the chicken, bread crumbs, scallions, miso paste, egg, garlic, and ginger in a medium bowl. Use your hands to gently combine, then roll and shape mixture into 1-inch balls, placing on the baking sheet as you work. You should have 25 to 30 meatballs. Bake until springy to the touch and starting to brown, or an instant-read thermometer placed in the center of a meatball reads 165ºF, 15 to 20 minutes. 

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccolini and cook over medium heat until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and move the pot away from the burner. Stir in the meatballs and the noodles, cover, and let sit until the noodles are limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved scallion greens, soy sauce, and sesame oil (if using).

Serve with hot sauce on the side, if you like, and enjoy!

Learn more about Chef Annie Fenn & Brain Health Kitchen HERE.

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