It’s Italian night with meatballs, and I am here for it, apron and all!
Gotta say, I am loving these jumbo meatballs which pack some serious flavor and protein (19 grams per ball).
During the live Instagram series, I made the popular dutch oven meatballs and experimented with almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. Don’t get me wrong, the original recipe is cheesy and delicious, but it was time to explore the possibilities of a “cleaner” meatball.
That is: no dairy, no wheat, no milk
Turns out, almond flour totally works to bind the meatballs together and the eggs keep things plenty moist. There’s no cheese, but they’re still really flavorful and, surprisingly, light in texture. So, yes, your Italian grandmother would approve.
And if you’re wondering whether the almond flour has “a taste,” the answer is no. I’m very happy with how these turned out, and I’m looking forward to impressing somebody…so lemme know if that’s you:)
These Paleo Meatballs Involve 3 Easy Steps (30 Minutes Total)
Step 1: Mincing and Mixing
Start by mincing the onion, garlic, and parsley finely. Put all your meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix until combined, but be careful not to over-do it with the mixing.
Step 2: Shaping and Baking
Oil a sheet pan and drop the balls on top. You can use a medium or large ice cream scoop or shape with your hands into smooth round balls. Put them in the oven for a short bake so that they hold their shape better for step 3.
Step 3: Simmering in Marinara Sauce
While the meatballs are baking, you can put all the sauce ingredients in a large pot and start simmering. Right out of the oven, transfer the meatballs with a spatula to the sauce and put a lid on it. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
What’s the Best Ground Meat Blend?
The perfect meatball blend combines both flavor and fat. While you could use 100% beef, you will get a very good flavor and proportion of fat if you mix half grass fed beef with half ground pork. In this recipe, that’s 1 pound each for 2 pounds total. Of course, you could also try ground turkey, in which case, you might want to check out these turkey burgers with jalapeno and apple kale slaw.
If this is your first time making meatballs, you’ve so got this! Can’t wait to welcome you to the meatball club. Oh, and if you want to try your hand at making zoodles (that’s zucchini noodles), this contraption makes it a 1-minutes process, even faster than cooking spaghetti!
Zoodles Tip: Spiralize the whole zucchini and serve raw. The hot marinara sauce will give the zucchini the perfect slightly cooked texture.
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, please share how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what’s happening on The Frayed Apron.
Paleo Gluten Free Italian Meatballs
For the Meatballs
- 1 cup almond flour (95 grams)
- 1 pound ground beef preferably grass fed
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup onion (50 grams) minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley (15 grams) minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
For the Marinara Sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or dried oregano
- 6 oz canned tomato paste
- 2 28-oz canned crushed tomatoes
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 oz fresh basil for serving
- Preheat oven to 415°F. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil.
Form the Meatballs
- Add all the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix by hand just until combined. Use an ice cream scoop or your hands to form 10 – 12 smooth meatballs. Spread them out on the oiled baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes (meanwhile make the sauce).
Make the Sauce
- In a large pot or dutch oven, combine bay leaves, Italian seasoning, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and 1 Tablespoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce and cover with a lid. Continue to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and garnish with freshly torn basil. Taste and add more salt if needed.
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