Who doesn’t love a good meatball? Meatballs are my favorite and I can honestly say that I would be happy living off of them.
As I mentioned in the Homemade Italian Red Sauce recipe, I owe my talents in the kitchen to my mother who I watched cook almost every night. One of her staple Italian dishes was homemade pasta with meatballs and red sauce. When she would tell me that we were having pasta for dinner my first question was, “are we having meatballs?” If she wanted to see a smile on my face all she had to say was “Yes!”
My mom passed down her recipe to me but there is one ingredient that I try to stay away from these days, gluten. Growing up we didn’t know what gluten was until my father developed a very severe gluten allergy. If he even looks at gluten he’ll get sick. I hated seeing my dad have to give up his favorite foods. I decided to learn more so my mom could cook the Italian dishes we all loved (and so I knew what to do in case I developed an allergy like my dad).
Even for those without an allergy, gluten can cause inflammation and digestive problems, like Leaky Gut Syndrome, that lead to severe health disorders. Add lectins and phytates, the other anti-nutrients found in grains and it is worth finding better alternatives.
Lectins bind to insulin receptors and intestinal lining. When they bind to insulin receptors it makes it harder for insulin to push glucose into cells, which sends a signal to our body to release even more insulin. Over time this can lead to insulin resistance and even diabetes. When lectins bind to intestinal lining it creates an inflammatory immune response that causes GI distress, bloating, and a host of digestive issues.
Phytates render minerals bio-unavailable. That pretty much cancels out any nutrients grains have to offer.
Personally, I feel so much better when I avoid gluten, so I have found many ways to substitute ingredients and still be able to enjoy the foods I love. I was so excited to experiment with making gluten free meatballs. I know sometimes when you substitute ingredients, the dish just doesn’t taste the same but these taste exactly the way my mom’s did!
1 lb organic grass-fed beef
1 lb organic grass-fed lamb
2 pieces gluten-free bread
½ cup whole milk
2 Tbsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
4 organic eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp thyme
Extra virgin coconut oil for frying
Start by breaking up the 2 pieces of gluten-free bread and place in a food processor. Now pour the ½ cup of whole milk on top of the bread to evenly coat.
Next add in all the other ingredients except for the 2 lbs of meat. Process it together.*
Slowly add 1 lb of meat. It should mix and combine well. Now slowly add the second pound of meat. Once it is ALL combined you are ready to fry up your meatballs.
In a large frying pan put enough coconut oil to coat the bottom of the pan. The meat mixture will be a bit gooey and sticky. It is easier to make perfect round balls by putting a bit of water on your hands before forming.
When the pan is hot (the oil should pop a bit) start adding your meatballs. They will brown on one side pretty fast, but it usually takes an average of 2 minutes on each side depending on how hot your pan is and the size of your meatballs. When fully cooked place on a plate and serve.
*I mix all the ingredients in a food processor. You can use a mixing bowl instead, but I love using my food processor for everything. My food processor will easily combine all the ingredients, including the meat, but it is important to add the meat gradually or else it will ball up.
From my kitchen to yours with love,