One of my go-to Paleo foods is meatballs. I can’t seem to get enough of them but ordering them each time was getting a bit pricey. So I decided I would master meatballs. You see, it is not like me to “half-ass” do anything so everything new becomes a major analysis. It drives my mother crazy but the result is always pretty impressive. Especially, if you can avoid the admittedly exhausting process.
Now the sensible thing to do first is see what Mario Batali has to say on the subject. Why anyone would attempt to cook anything Italian without checking in with him first is really beyond me. However, I forgot and produced way, way too many rubbery meatballs. To be fair, I did consult my Lidia Bastianich cookbook and found they weren’t there. Maybe they are just an American thing? Nope. Perhaps looking in more than one book for something so widespread may have been smart. Just sayin’
So Mario always soaks the bread crumbs in milk or water first to make a lighter meatball. He also says the proportions of meat to bread crumbs in american meatballs are off. He says the ratio should be about 50/50 because the meat will overcook and get tough while the bread will not. Enlightening. However, in the Paleo world, bread crumbs are verboten.
So I am repeating this exciting (I know, I need to get out more) information to my sister-in-law and she says, “How about mushrooms? They won’t overcook.” I look at her stunned and say this is absolutely brilliant. She modestly replies, “Oh I’m sure it’s already been thought of.” Perhaps, but I don’t think so and I am still wildly impressed.
Taking all this new information and adjusting Mario’s proportions for a Paleo product has yielded the lightest meatball I have ever tasted. Enjoy!
Yields 24 meatballs
30 minPrep Time
50 minCook Time
1 hr, 20 Total Time
2 large organic eggs
1 large organic egg yolk
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 pound organic ground beef
1 pound organic ground pork
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup organic grated pecorino romano cheese (optional)
1/4 cup organic Italian parsley, finely chopped*
1/4 cup organic oregano or marjoram, finely chopped*
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
*Note: This recipe calls for fresh herbs. When using dried herbs, always use half the amount. In this case, 2 tablespoons.
2 small rutabagas* or 2 medium turnips
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Tip: Remember the oven needs at least 20 minutes to preheat fully in spite of what the read out says.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add all other ingredients and mix to combine. Tip: Add the to flours to the beaten egg and let them soak while you chop the herbs. Soaking the flours makes for a lighter meatball.
- Use an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup) to make balls and place on a cookie sheet, 12 per sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes to brown. Tip: Rotate the cookie sheets halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.
- Add to warm Tomato Basil Sauce in a slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on low for 30 minutes. Tip: Start the sauce when you preheat the oven so it is warm by the time you add the meatballs.
- Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Tip: Remember the oven needs at least 20 minutes to preheat fully in spite of what the read out says.
- Spiralize the rutabagas. Tip: Instructions for spiralizing a rutabaga below.
- Place the rutabaga noodles on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss together to combine thoroughly and roast the rutabaga for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, but still al dente. Tip: I use my fingers to toss.
- Cut off the ends.
- Peel the rutabaga.
- Using the C blade, spiralize your rutabaga.