Dinner / Uncategorized

Gluten-free/Paleo Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

My father’s side of my family is Italian and there is a secret rivalry between myself and my aunt as to who makes the best meatballs and sauce. It’s so secret, in fact, that she doesn’t even know about it. I’m competitive by nature and if I could make a meatball better than my aunt’s it would be a personal coup.

Recently, the quest for awesome red-sauce seamonsters has taken a new turn, veering off into the rocky terrain of the Paleo-sphere. Long gone are the days of breadcrumbs and shredded parmesan, but gluten and grain-free meatballs can be super delicious. After about a hundred meatballs worth of trying, this is my recipe. I highly recommend making the sauce the day before and then reheating it in order to simmer the meatballs–tomato sauce is always better the day after you start it.

Paleo Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1lb ground pork
½ sweet onion minced (easiest method is pulsing in the food processor)
½ Tbsp minced garlic
5 large fresh basil leaves (or more/less depending on personal taste) finely chopped [about 1 Tbsp]
3 Tbsp coconut aminos* (*a delicious gluten/soy-free soy sauce substitute available at Whole Foods)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp coconut flour
3 Tbsp almond meal
2 eggs

!. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl with spoon, hands, or potato masher (my weapon of choice).
2. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil, roll the mixture into golf-ball sized balls, and broil on high until lightly browned and then drain fat (blot with paper towel).
3. Add to simmering tomato sauce to finish cooking (20-30min).

*Makes about 30 meatballs. If you want to save some for later, freeze pre-formed balls in an airtight freezer bag and defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before broiling.

Tomato Sauce

1 29oz can tomato puree
1 29oz can crushed tomatoes
29oz water (fill one of your tomato cans)
½ sweet onion diced
½ C chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp minced  garlic
½ Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp crushed red pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot with a lid. If you plan to make meatballs be sure the pot is large enough to accomodate everything.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until sauce begins to bubble, making sure the burner’s not so hot that the sauce scorches.
3. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for about an hour, allowing the sauce to cook down. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, basil, garlic, or honey.
4. Serve hot over broiled eggplant, mandolin-sliced or julienned pan-seared zucchini, or spaghetti squash.


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