Monday, April 11, 2011

Paleo meatballs

Saturday's dinner: a salad with spinach, blackberries, and avocado, and grilled flank steak with coarse black salt. Eating healthy is such a sacrifice, isn't it?

Mmmm meatballs

I also made some Paleo meatballs yesterday. I LOVE meatballs, and I admit that I miss the tasty breadcrumb and romano version I used to make. But these satisfied the craving without poisoning my body with grains. I didn't even bother with the spaghetti squash, I just wanted the meatballs so I put them in a bowl with tons of sauce and ate them with a spoon. Tasty and very filling. I can't wait for leftovers at lunch.

There are a lot of Paleo meatball recipes out there, but my recipe is pretty bare bones, contains no nut flours, and uses my Italian grandmother's trick of poaching the meatballs in the sauce rather than cooking them in oil. Easier, makes the sauce tastier with the addition of the beef fat, and makes the meatballs much more tender. I make them really small so they get even more tender! Here's the recipe:

Simple Paleo meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 jar marinara sauce (I used Bertolli)
oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper

Get the ground beef to room temperature so you don't end up with numb hands. Using your hands, mix the beef with the egg in a big mixing bowl. Don't try to use a spoon, just get your hands messy and squish it through your fingers.

Add coconut and mix in with your hands until the mixture holds its shape but is not too dry. This takes maybe 1/2 cup, but I'm not sure of the amount. Coconut is pretty absorbent so start with a little and add gradually.

When the mixture is a good texture, roll it into balls. Again, use your hands - forget those cookie dough scooper things! The smaller you make them, the less time they'll take to cook.

Put the meatballs in a large saucepan and pour the marinara on top. Add oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. I like a lot of oregano to make up for the missing spices that come from seasoned breadcrumbs. Stir very gently, to avoid breaking apart the meatballs, cover, and simmer on low for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Eat by itself or over some baked spaghetti squash. If you can tolerate a bit of dairy, top with a sprinkle of high-quality parmesan or romano (no fillers). It's low-lactose for cheese and you don't need much.

Let me know if you try them!



Julie Petro said...

Looks fantastic Amy. I have some ground beef thawing today and now I know just what I'm going to do with it! I have been using nut flours to bind them but I think the coconut will add some nice texture.

By the way, my turing word was "bacon." How f*cking boss is THAT?!?

Amy said...

Yeah, I've tried almond flour but found them too dense and crumbly. Plus nuts are causing me some problems, so I'm cutting way back on them.

Let me know how they turn out! I forgot to mention, if you make the meatballs really big, you could probably do this in the crockpot.

Bethany said...

This recipe looks great Amy, I'm gonna try it on my next "cooking day". Since the days are so long here (leave the house at 5am, get home after working out at about 8 or 8:30pm), there isn't any time to cook on the days I work. So I try to cook a whole bunch of paleo foods on the weekend to eat through out the week.
I like the idea of poaching the meatballs in the sauce, sounds great and easy! I'll let you know how they turn out. Hope you're doing well!

Julie Petro said...

So I tried the meatballs Amy and they are delish! I've been eating them ever since, with steamed broccoli smothered in ghee. OMG.

I think next time I might try to mix coconut flour into the meat instead of the shredded stuff. The texture was a little distracting to me. But poaching them in the sauce was really nice! Thanks again!

Vern said...

Wanted to drop a note to let you know I followed your recipe and the meatballs came out GREAT! My Mom, Dad, hubby and I snarfed them down and when I told them there was coconut in them they were surprised. Usually I get the eyeroll when I mention Paleo/Primal recipes.
I had the last two for breakfast! :P

Health, it's a God thing said...

Made these last night. They were awesome. My daughter who doesn't like coconut, LOVED them. This will be my go to recipe for meatballs. Thank you!