Ann Wayne on Challenge 2

  • Ann Wayne made Spaghetti & Fishballs with roasted broccolini in a pesto sauce for her second entry in the 2019 Cook of the Week Challenge.

    Ann Wayne made Spaghetti & Fishballs with roasted broccolini in a pesto sauce for her second entry in the 2019 Cook of the Week Challenge. COURTESY OF ANN WAYNE

Posted10/16/2019 6:00 AM

I was super excited when I opened the bag this week and saw whole wheat spaghetti, broccolini and hemp seeds. These are all staple ingredients I have on hand when I cook for my family.

My husband's favorite meal is pasta with broccoli, so I knew this is what I was going to make with the mystery ingredients. I usually just put hemp seeds on my oatmeal or in smoothies, so I was looking forward to trying something new with them.


I do not typically buy canned fish, so the King Oscar Lemon Royale Filet Mackerel is definitely going to be a welcomed challenge.

When I opened the can of mackerel, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and the taste of the fish.

I made Spaghetti and Fishballs with Roasted Broccolini in a Pesto Sauce. One of my family's favorite vegetables is roasted broccoli. I decided to use the lemon olive oil from the fish on the broccolini. Boy, was it good!

We like our broccoli extra crispy with charred edges, which creates a crunchy texture that complements the nutty flavor of the whole wheat pasta, combined with the pesto and the fishballs rolled in hemp seeds.

Making the fishballs was a challenge. The first batch was dry, too fishy, and nothing special. I decided to roll the fish balls in the hemp seeds rather than use the hemp seeds inside the balls. This was a game-changer!

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The hemp seeds became all toasty and nutty on the outside. I added a little sweet potato to lighten up the fishy flavor and to add some moisture. Also, the sweet potato offers more added vitamins. Baking the fishballs instead of frying them is a much healthier option.

While I typically add pine nuts or pistachios to my homemade pesto sauce, it wasn't necessary with this recipe since the hemp seeds have a natural nutty flavor. This also keeps the fat calories lower and is figure-friendly!

My testers liked the pesto sauce right away. They were pleasantly surprised by how fresh it tasted. The ladies at my Zumba class loved the fish, and were amazed it came from a can.

The presentation of my dish is very green. I did this intentionally to emphasize it is fresh and healthy.

Ann Wayne

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