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Paleo Baked Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

On top of spaghetti, All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, When somebody sneezed. I love this little rhyme, it makes me smile every time I make meatballs. The below baked meatballs recipe was created when I went on a brief paleo diet. It features coconut flour or almond flour instead of wheat flour to thicken the meatballs.

Another special part of this recipe is that they are baked.  I started making my meatballs baked instead of pan-fried because it requires much less attention than constantly turning them in a pan. This means you will plenty of time to prep a nice big salad to accompany your meal 🙂

Also, key to this recipe is the use of a lot of herbs. I think using fresh is the best way to go. I highly recommend growing a few of your herbs own for the amazing difference in flavor and nutrients that these so many recipes benefit from. If you don’t have fresh herbs you can use dried herbs, just scale back to 1-2 teaspoons total depending on the herbs you use and their strength.

I also recommend using grass fed beef.  Look for 100% grass-fed beef that has no unnecessary added antibiotics and hormones.

You can try serving these meatballs with my chunky basil and garlic tomato sauce and manchego cheese. My favorite accompaniment is spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash with pale meatballs and homemade sauce is the perfect dinner to treat your family and friends to. It is gluten-free and includes so many beautiful veggies, nutrients and proteins. Check out my basic cooking instructions for  spaghetti squash. 

Recipe for Paleo Baked Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

Yield: About 15 meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass fed beef (or bison!)
  • 1/4 cup onion diced or minced
  • 1 small garlic clove chopped, minced or pressed to preference
  • 1-2 large handfuls of fresh herbs chopped (basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, etc.)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup organic gluten-free almond flour  or coconut flour for paleo diet (or you can substitute other gluten-free flours or try a flour blend being careful that none of them dominate the flavor too much). Alternatively, you could just use regular white flour.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or a little more to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In medium bowl, beat egg, add onion, garlic and herbs.
  3. Add ground beef and mix well.
  4. Add flour and mix well (a few heaping tablespoons at a time so that you can mix it evenly).
  5. Form into 1 to 1 and ½ inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets or shallow pans and place in oven.
  6. Turn every 10 minutes for 25-40 minutes until cooked to your tastes (e.x. medium-well).
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Moroccan lamb with local winter squash and mustard greens

moroccan lamb

In general, I am an avid vegetable eater, more apt to order a veggie burger than the lamb chops or hamburger. Yet, I  gained a serious appreciation for lamb while I was Morocco. Specifically, it was a prune and lamb tagine in a small cafe in Tangiers that took me by serious surprise. Since then, I’ve made some rendition of the dish for every person I’ve truly loved (and has caught me at the right time).

I love this recipe for Moroccan lamb because it is flexible. Instead of raisins, you may use prunes, dates, or experiment with figs. If you like a slightly sweeter sauce you can add even more of the dried fruit.  To make this recipe gluten-free you could use potatoes or tapioca starch to thicken the stew. It is an excellent main dish served with rice, flat bread, potatoes, or like I did, squash and greens.

Tropical “winter” squash grows great here in Hawaii. The best way to get seeds to grow them is to buy a few squashes from local markets and find the ones you like the best. Then either plant the seeds fresh or clean the pulp from them and dry for storage. Mustard greens also do great in the Hawaiian climate. You can simply buy mustard seeds from your Indian grocer (or online, etc.) and scatter them on the soil.  In a short time you will have tender mustard greens for your culinary enjoyment.

Recipe for Moroccan Lamb

Ingredients for the lamb:

(in order of entry)

  • 1 small onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 – 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  •  Piece of fresh ginger (1 -2 inches)
  • 1-2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 and ½ cup water
  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1 two inch piece of cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins
  • salt
  • pepper
  • tablespoon or two flour or other thickening agent

Steps for the lamb:

  1. defrost lamb
  2. heat olive oil set to medium-high and sauté onions for 5 minutes
  3. reduce to medium and add garlic 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  4. add paprika, ginger, cumin and stir until aromatic
  5. add lamb, salt and pepper and allow to brown, turning every few minutes (about 10 minutes total)
  6. next, add water, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, raisins and stir
  7. bring to a simmer
  8. reduce to a slow simmer 1 and ½ hours to 2 hours.
  9. If there is still a lot of water – take out a ladle-full of the “broth” and mix it in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of flour until uniform in consistency. Pour back into the pot with the lamb and allow to simmer at least 5 minutes later. check consistency and repeat if needed.
  10. Serve with yummy sides

 

Recipes for the sides:

Winter squash

  • two cups cooked winter squash
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • salt to taste

mix together and heat in small pan

Mustard Greens

  • 3 cups washed and chopped mustard greens (ok to have water dripping)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps: Sauté all together and continue to cook up to 10 minutes as long as there is enough oil or water.

 

 

 

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