John's Perfect Paleo Meatballs

John's Perfect Paleo Meatballs

I grew up in a very Italian household, and meatballs along with many other classic Italian dishes were a staple in our house. I used to spend weekends making meatballs with my grandmother in the kitchen, squishing my little hands into the meat to form imperfectly sized meatballs. I have many good memories making our family recipe! After finding out that I couldn't eat gluten anymore, we quickly got working on trying to find a replacement for the family meatball recipe that would be just as tasty but have that added kick of nutrition. When it comes to really complicated recipes, I lean on John for his scientific and methodical approach to cooking, so this recipe wouldn't exist without his cooking skills.

After flying back from a two-week work trip to India, Hong Kong and Tokyo, John asked what the one food was that I missed most and wanted to cook. I quickly answered, "Meatballs!" While I was still in a jet lagged fog, we spent my first day back cooking 98 meatballs. We generally are of the thinking that it doesn't take too much more time to double or triple a recipe, and it helps us during the week to have healthy meals on hand and avoid having to order take-out. In this case, we actually made 6x the below recipe in an attempt to reach a household record of 103 meatballs!

I find that it's pretty easy to double, triple or even quadruple this recipe so you have plenty of leftovers on hand in the freezer. We divide up the leftovers and put them in glass containers along with some extra marinara sauce to enjoy during the week when we're crunched for time. I like to top these meatballs on a generous heaping of spaghetti squash for a healthier take on 'spaghetti' and meatballs.

Serves: ~15 meatballs
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: ~1 hour of active cooking then 2 hours simmering

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1/2 pound of ground veal
  • 1/2 pound of ground grass-fed beef
  • 1/4 loaf of cashew bread cut or torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • Handful of parsley chopped
  • Handful of marjoram chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil (enough to fill an inch of the pan)
  • 2x recipes of my simple marinara sauce

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, soak the cashew bread pieces in the coconut milk. Soak for a few minutes and then drain any excess liquid
  2. In a large bowl, combine the soaked cashew bread, beef, pork, veal, eggs, parsley, marjoram, garlic, pecorino, pine nuts, salt and pepper and mix with your hands. 
  3. With wet hands, form the mixture into balls a little larger than a golf ball and put to the side on a plate
  4. In a large saute pan (w/ high sides) over medium high heat, melt enough coconut oil to fill an inch of the pan
  5. After the oil is melted and hot enough to sizzle, VERY carefully (to avoid breaking them!) add the meatballs in batches to the pan and make sure there is enough room between the meatballs so they arent touching. I would recommend using a splatter guard here to protect yourself from any flying oil debris!
  6. Cook for 8-10 minutes and then flip and cook for another 8-10 minutes on the other side.  Then remove and add the next batch.
  7. While the meatballs are cooking, take a medium to large sauce pan and fill with the marinara sauce
  8. After the meatballs are done cooking, put them on a plate with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Let sit for five minutes
  9. After the meatballs are finished, add to the marinara sauce and let simmer on low in the sauce for ~2 hours to fully soak in the flavor
  10. Serve over your favorite gluten free pasta (this is mine!) or a bed of spaghetti squash
  11. Enjoy!

 

We sized our meatballs somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball, but you can form them into whatever size you want!

We sized our meatballs somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball, but you can form them into whatever size you want!

There's John with half of our meatball batch, making the first of 97 meatballs!

There's John with half of our meatball batch, making the first of 97 meatballs!