Friday, August 27, 2010

Italian Meatballs



Don't have a lot of time to cook? This one is easy.

1 lb grassfed ground beef (bison and/or lamb works well also)
1 lb turkey sausage (best to find no nitrates brand)
1/2 c onion, finely chopped (if time is critical, you can use dried onion flakes)
1/4 c almond flour
1 egg
1 tblsp italian seasoning
1 tblsp basil
1 tblsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp onion salt (optional)
28 oz. organic tomatoes, crushed (no sugar added - I will use tomatoes purchased at our local farmer's market and finely chop, for fresh flavor)

Mix all ingredients except tomatoes in a large bowl. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs. Place in crockpot that has been lightly brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking. Pour tomatoes over meatballs.  Cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 4).
Serve w a small salad!

62 comments:

  1. So...how many pounds of meat do you think I'd need to serve 40 hungry missionaries?? :) Of course I'd have a big salad with lots of vegies in it to go with it!

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  2. That sounds delicious!! 4-8 ounces per person. That's a lot of meat, but you have a lot of hungry boys!

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  3. What did you pour over the meatballs?

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  4. It's the tomatoes and seasoning that are in the recipe above!

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  5. I don't know if the crushed tomatoes I bought were too watery, but I found that after I added 28oz the mix wasn't firm enough to shape the meat effectively. I'm guessing using fresh tomatoes or less of the canned crushed tomatoes would help with the consistency.

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  6. I don't know how I didn't notice this! Thanks for making a comment - the tomatoes should be poured over the meatballs! I made correction in recipe!
    P.S. I always use seasonings in my tomatoes (whether canned or fresh) to add flavor to sauce.
    Thanks again!

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    1. That makes sense, thanks.

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  7. By turkey sausage do you mean ground turkey or did you actually buy turkey sausages and de-case them? Also, what fat content of ground beef did you use?

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  8. I make my own turkey sausage (you can do a search on my blog for "Homemade Breakfast Sausage").
    I purchase and eat grass-fed beef and never, ever worry or even think about fat content with grass-fed products, since the meat is incredibly lean. Grass-fed meat is the healthiest meat you can eat - cows eat what they were meant to eat and this translates into some seriously healthy benefits for you.
    I encourage you to do research on it! :)

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    1. I agree about grass fed. Our farm raises sheep, goats, cattle and chickens ALL are grass fed year round.

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    2. Does the sausage get chopped up and go into the meatball mix itself, or does it go in with the meatballs "as is" and the tomato puree covers them both? I'm confused on what to do with the turkey sausage!

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  9. Hello Maria! This is a great recipe and I love using the crock pot to cook with because I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking. I have it in the crock pot right now. I doubled the recipe because I am feeding a big boy (my boyfriend) and he likes his meatballs! I also used bison instead, because we like it. Thanks again for the recipe. I found you through the 30 days of Paleo Crock pot meals post.

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  10. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for the comment. Hope the big boy liked it! :)

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  11. Thanks for posting this recipe, I've made it four times now and it gets better every time. Typically I double it and have leftovers to last most of the week.

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  12. Glad you like the recipe, Aaron. It's favorite here as well. Way to go on planning for leftovers - smart!

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  13. Mariah ~ I deleted your question by accident, but YES, you can bake these in the oven and they will turn out great!

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  14. All of my recipes are gluten free. Make sure the ingredients you use have no hidden items that contain gluten, though.

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  15. So I used Turkey which doesn't 'ball up' as well as beef. So I tried to compensate with a little more almond meal. Still didn't stick very well. Any suggestions?

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  16. Jennifer,
    I've made this using turkey (but still use turkey sausage) and have not had problems. Sometimes I have thrown in some cauliflower "rice" (http://marianutrition.blogspot.com/2009/10/cauliflower-rice.html) since it contains some moisture and they have turned out great!

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  17. About how many meatballs does this recipe yield?

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  18. Depending on the size, anywhere from 15 (large!) to 30 (small).

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  19. If using fresh chopped tomatoes rather than the canned, are you still able to yield enough sauce?

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  20. Yes, although I put my fresh tomatoes in my food processor and pulse a few times so I get plenty of juice out of my tomatoes. You can certainly add more tomatoes as needed.
    Fresh tomatoes are always the best!

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  21. For someone just starting out the Paleo way, and would normally eat meatballs with spaghetti. What do you recommend to serve with this?

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    1. Shredded zucchini... or you can make zucchini noodles using a spiralizer. They are amazing!

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  22. You can serve these meatballs with just a side salad, which is how I like them. But I've also served them over a bed of cooked spaghetti squash strands or cauliflower "rice".
    All options are delicious!

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  23. Can I use elk? Also I am allergic to something in turkey sausage, do I need sausage at all?

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  24. Yes! Elk, however, is so lean, I might also use some other meat/sausage that has some amount of fat to help bind and add some flavor. These work well with ground pork instead of sausage.
    Hope that helps!

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  25. Just put this together. Cooking over night hope it turns out ok.

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  26. Will these work without the Almond flour? There was none at the store today and I'm hoping to make them tomorrow...thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they will fall apart though without the binding agent from the almond flour - but, still delicious!

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  27. Could you use regular flour instead as well as a tomato/spaghetti sauce instead of crushed tomatoes?

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  28. Hi Melanie,
    Since I do not advocate the use of pro-inflammatory ingredients like white/wheat flour, I will say no. :)
    Tomato/spaghetti sauce is fine!
    Thank you!

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  29. I saw a comment about baking these in the oven? What temp. and for how long would you suggest to bake them for? Thank you for the recipe...I can't wait to try them!

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    1. Hi Leah,
      Bake @ 400 for 30-35 minutes.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. Made these today and followed the recipe. I also added some parmesan and fresh basil to the mix but after a whole day of slow cooking my meatballs turned out rather bland. They were still ok, just not as flavorful as my other go-to meatball recipes. I may sear the meatballs next time and slow cook. Thanks for the recipe!

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  32. I am new to this way of eating and can't wait to try these.

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    1. Lorie,
      Congrats on changing to this way of eating - you will reap serious health benefits! Let me know how you like them!

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  33. I'm new to Paleo, and I tried these today. Happy New Year to me! They're great! Two pounds of meat made 30 meatballs of a good size. How many would make a serving?

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  34. Karen,
    Glad you liked them!
    Depending on size; about 4 meatballs per serving. :)

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  35. My first crock pot meal! The whole family (adults, 4yr old and 20month old) LOVED them! We've eaten paleo for awhile, but I was looking for some new ideas that would leave me free to play with the kids in the afternoon; this recipe was perfect for that! ...trying the breakfast sausages next! thank you!!!

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  36. SO happy to hear that your entire family enjoyed this dish! Let me know how you like the sausage recipe!

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  37. Im single and cooking for one, so im wondering if these freeze and reheat well??? and if not making your own turkey sausage, any recommendations for brands of ground turkey sausage?

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    1. Freeze well. I don't like the premade turkey sausage personally, due to the ingredients used, so I can't recommend any. I would rather just buy ground turkey and add seasoning to the mix. :)

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  38. So do the spices go in the meatballs, or in the sauce?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. Just delving into Paleo diet. We have been eating the traditional American diet all our lives and it resulted in a heart attack and stroke (thankfully minor!) in my 50 year old husband. We are having a hard time because I have a child with allergies (soy, nuts, shellfish, corn...) Wondering if brown rice flour or coconut flour will work. I don't think I want to chance anything with almond in it. Does that follow the Paleo diet?

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    1. Brenda, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's heart attack and hope he is doing well. Congrats on your decision to steer away from the standard American diet!
      Using coconut flour is a great alternative and I most definitely suggest it for folks with nut allergies. Adjust the amount used since it requires much less coconut flour. Use half the amount suggested for almond flour. I don't recommend brown rice flour at all. Check out my new blog (www.optimalnutrition1.blogspot.com) and search for "Brown rice vs white rice" to understand why. You can even skip the flour altogether and use cauliflower "rice" instead, which I have done. Do a search for cauliflower rice under Paleo searches if you have not heard of this. It's delicious! Good luck! :-)

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  40. Lynz, as described in directions, mix all ingredients together, except tomatoes. So essentially, they go in the meatballs. :-)

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  41. Maria, your recipe sounds delicious! I just tossed everything into my crock pot, and I can't wait to see (& taste!) how it turns out! :)
    Thanks!
    Joe

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    1. Joe, let us know how it turned out!

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  42. These are the best meatballs I've ever tasted, hands down! Delish! Thanks for sharing!

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  43. Would be good over spaghetti squash.

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  44. Maria, this looks easy (always my goal) and delicious. I have my husband on the autoimmune protocol of paleo. What would you suggest to use to replace the tomatoes. I would love to be a good enough cook to taste something and know what additional thing it needs or what to replace something with. But I am not, so I REALLY appreciate those people who can do that and will share their skills with the rest of us!

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  45. Hi Rebecca!
    Thank you for the comment!
    Being on an AI protocol is, often times, difficult since you are eliminating LOTS of common foods. However, it's certainly doable (as I did it for 40 days!) and, with a bit of patience and resilience, it becomes easier to deal with.
    There is a recipe I used for meatballs, spaghetti squash, etc. that used carrots and beets. I know what you're thinking; "Beets?!" But it was actually good!
    I wish I could remember where I found it to give them credit, but I know there are recipes out there similar to this one. I know there are similar recipes out there like this:

    Nightshade Free Sauce
    Ingredients:
    -4 cups chopped butternut squash
    -2 cups chopped carrots
    -1 chopped red onion
    -1 cup sliced celery
    -1 cup chopped red beets
    -2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
    -1 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon salt
    -1 tablespoon fresh diced garlic
    -1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    -1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    -1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

    How To:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    2. In a large roasting pan (I use a large glass Pyrex) combine the chopped butternut, chopped carrots, chopped red onion, chopped celery, chopped red beets, 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and fresh garlic. Mix all the ingredients together and roast for 40 minutes. You want the veggies to sort of caramelize - this provides a nice sweet flavor to the sauce.
    3. Transfer all the veggies into a blender. To the blender also add the additional 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and the apple cider vinegar. Blend until smooth and everything is well incorporated.
    4. Serve immediately or warm on the stove top.
    Serves 6

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  46. Do you have the recipe for your turkey sausage? I couldn't seem to find it. Also, is there a way I can just use lean ground turkey instead?

    Thanks!

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  47. Here it is!
    http://marianutrition.blogspot.com/2009/10/homemade-breakfast-sausage.html

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  48. So you use 1 lb ground beef AND 1 lb turkey sausage (2 lb total), or just 1 lb total of one or the other? Also wondering how well it freezes if I make enough for leftovers. Thanks!

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  49. You use 1 lb. beef, 1 lb sausage for a total of 2 lb. Freezes well.

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