These meatballs are A.Ma.Zing. They taste great, keep well and can be served in a variety of ways.
The original recipe came from Karina at gluten-free goddess (one of my favorite sources for GF recipes); I adapted it a bit for our needs. My adaptation (below) calls for 3 lbs of meat, which makes a LOT of meatballs. Because leftovers are a mom’s best friend!
I call them “Last Minute Meatballs” because the first time I made them, I literally threw them together at the last minute, hoping the recipe would be a success.
In fact, I was in such a rush—and quickly running out of time to form the last of the mixture into balls–that Mr. Native Texan suggested I just cook up the rest of it on the stove in the cast iron skillet.
I did just that, and the results were absolutely perfect for adding to the boys’ GF noodles. (See below for pics of the “hash” and for more info about the noodles). It was sort of like a Real Food version of Hamburger Helper. (Click here for another variation of Healthy Hamburger Helper).
I relied on my Vitamix to mix most of the ingredients, but I imagine a food processor would work well, too.
Last Minute Meatballs
- ¾ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 1 large onion (I like to use frozen chopped onion)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 large carrot, peeled, cut into several pieces (I throw in whatever I have on hand–carrot sticks, matchsticks, etc)
- 3 pounds organic grass fed ground beef
- ¾ cup “good” ketchup (I make my own in the crockpot–
recipe coming soonHere’s the recipe.)
- 1 TB ground flaxseed (this helps bind the mixture)
- 1½ TB good balsamic vinegar (Read here about my favorite–I think it makes a huge difference in the taste!)
- ¼ cup dried Italian parsley (or ½ cup fresh)
- ¼ + ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
- Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place bread pieces in the blender or food processor and pulse into crumbs. Set aside.
- Place veggies, ketchup, flaxseed, vinegar, parsley, cinnamon, sea salt and pepper flakes in the blender and process until the veggies are finely diced and all ingredients are well-combined.
- Place ground beef in a large mixing bowl and add in the processed veggie mixture and bread crumbs.
- Mix gently to combine. Karina says: “Try not to over-mix (over-mixing makes a dense meatball).”
- Rub a little oil on your hands and form the meatball mixture into balls (roughly the size of golf balls).
- Place them on the lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.
- I like to save the ends and odd pieces of our GF bread, storing them in the freezer until they’re needed for a recipe such as this. You could also use GF crackers. In the original recipe Karina uses herbed crumbs, which can be created by tossing (Italian) herbs in with your bread pieces. I just use plain old GF bread, with no added herbs.
- Smaller meatballs cook faster; check them at about 20 minutes.
- You can also cook the meatballs in a skillet (with oil) on the stove top. (See photo at top of post). I used so much meat (and was in such a hurry) that I wound up baking most of them in the oven, making some on the stove top and then cooking up the rest of the mixture in the skillet without forming it into balls. The verdict: I liked the ones from the oven best, simply because I did not have to turn them or tend to them (like the ones on the stove top). They held together better. The non-balled “hash” was handy, too, for combining with noodles, rice, veggies, etc. My least favorite were the stove top meatballs, because they were messier and more time consuming. They still tasted great, though.
- I haven’t tried this, but I imagine you could form the meatballs ahead of time and cook them later (storing them in the fridge in the meantime, of course).
- And finally, this recipe works equally well as “meat muffins” and meatloaf. Check it out: Meat Muffins and Mini-Meatloaves.
Serve Last Minute Meatballs with:
- Buttered GF noodles**: Our favorite brand is Tinkyada, made from brown rice. We don’t eat noodles often, but I like to keep a few bags in the pantry, just in case. Prepare noodles according to package instructions, then add good butter, good shredded cheese and unrefined sea salt. (I can’t do dairy, so I use coconut oil and grated Pecorino Romano, which is made from sheep’s milk and is generally well-tolerated by those with milk allergies).
- Slow cooked brown rice (recipe coming soon).
- Veggies, veggies, veggies! I added sauteed spinach to our bowls of noodles-n-meatballs, and it was delicious! We also added leftover roasted carrots, which the boys loved. I imagine the meatballs would be great with just about any veggie your family enjoys.
- Nothing: as an appetizer (Think: Super Bowl!)
- See more ideas at the end of the original recipe.