10 Mouth-watering Meatball Recipes

swedish_meatballs_recip
Swedish meatballs (not from Ikea)

I LOVE MEATBALLS! The succulent beef meatballs braised in traditional Italian tomato sauce, the spicy Lebanese Kofta, the Swedish meatballs form Ikea, and my grandmother’s fluffy pork rissoles – I love them all equally and unconditionally. They are easy to make, the mince is a cheap meat option and there are as many varieties of meatballs as there are cuisines in the world. Plus, once you take out the breadcrumbs or other grain based fillers, all these glorious meatballs are Paleo friendly. You can eat them with salads, vegetables, dips, mashed sweet potatoes, or as a snack on the go. And so I give you not one but ten delicious meatball recipes to try at home.

Basic meatballs

Makes about 12-14 meatballs.

300g each beef and pork mince
1 egg
1/2 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
ghee, coconut or macadamia oil for frying

Sautee onion in olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Combine all ingredients, including the onion, and mix thoroughly using your hands. Make sure to knead the mixture for a few minutes to work the protein in the meat which will bind everything together. Wet your hands and roll the meat mixture into balls the size of a walnut in its shell. Heat a large frying pan, lightly coated with ghee oil. Brown the first side of the meatballs on high heat, then bring the heat down to medium and fry for 3-4 minutes. Turn and fry the other side on medium/low heat for 5 minutes. Keep turning to make sure all sides look visibly cooked. Total cooking time should be about 12-13 minutes. Remove from the pan and let the meatballs rest for a few minutes before serving.

Another method is to brown the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side and then finish cooking them in an oven for about 10 minutes at around 170C.

Meatballs are best served with a sauce, that’s why you will often see meatballs braised in tomato or wine sauce, or served with a condiment on the side. These basic meatballs are delicious with some tomato relish or with creamy mashed sweet potato or cauliflower.

Lamb, harissa and almond meatballs
These are inspired by The Burke Stree Bakery’s sausage rolls with the same filling.

600g lamb mince (you can also use 300g each pork & beef or just beef)
3 tablespoons harissa (you can use a store-bought harissa, just check the ingredients)
2/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted in the over or frying pan until golden brown
2/3 cup dried currants
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Quick harissa (makes more than you need so store in an air-tight container for a few days)

1 red capsicum (pepper), seeded, membrane removed and finely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small red chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon apple cider or balsamic vinegar

To make the harissa, heat oil in a large frying pan and gently sautee all ingredients, except for fresh coriander, on medium heat for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and once cooled down, add fresh coriander and process to a course paste.

To make the meatballs, crush almonds into crumbs using a food processor or mortar and pestle. Combine lamb, harissa, almonds, currants, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Roll and cook as per the basic recipe. Serve with tomato sauce or relish.

Simple Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

tomato_meatballs

300g pork + 300g beef mince
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped oregano
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
black pepper
sea salt

For tomato sauce

1 medium onion, finely chopped
150ml dry red wine
400ml canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of black pepper
fresh basil

Mix all ingredients and roll the meatballs as per the basic recipe. Brown meatballs in a large, deep frying pan or a saucepan but don’t cook all the way through. Remove and set aside. Add some extra oil or ghee and sautee onion for 5 minutes in the same frying pan. Deglaze with red wine and let it bubble away for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, paste, water, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Add the meatballs and braise in the sauce on medium heat for 10 minutes. Serve with zucchini spaghetti or a side of vegetables and some fresh basil.

Truffle oil & Pecorino cheese chicken meatballs (contains some dairy)

500g chicken mince
1 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
1 tbsp truffle infused oil
2 tbsp grated Peroricno cheese (you can also use aged Parmesan or remove cheese completely)
2/3 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of black pepper
1 egg

Combine all ingredients, roll and cook as per the basic recipe.

Turkish lamb kofte meatballs
This recipe is from the Food Safari series.

500g minced lamb
1 medium onion, grated or finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
punch of allspice
pinch of fresh ground pepper
pinch of sweet paprika
pinch of ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Mix and roll as per the basic recipe. Flatten slightly and fry on a lightly oiled barbecue grill, or in a chargrill pan, for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with tahini yogurt or a baba ganush dip and a large garden salad on the side.

Mexican meatballs with guacamole & fresh lime

500g minced beef
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped Jalapeno peppers
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
salt

Mix, roll and cook as per the basic recipe. Serve with freshly made guacamole (puree flesh of 2 ripe avocados, 1 garlic clove, 2 tbsp lime juice, some chopped coriander, a pinch of salt and pepper). Drizzle with fresh lime juice.

Leek, bacon & chicken meatballs in white wine sauce

450g chicken mince
1 cup finely diced bacon
1 cup finely chopped leek, white part only
1 garlic clove, crushed
2/3 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg

For the sauce
150ml dry white wine
200ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch of black pepper
2 tbsp pouring cream (optional)
fresh parsley

Mix, roll and cook meatballs as per the basic recipe except for half the time. Remove and set aside while you prepare the sauce. Keep the frying pan on the heat, bring it to high and deglaze with white wine. Let it bubble away for a few minutes before adding the vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and add butter and cream to further thicken the sauce. Add the meatballs and cook in the sauce for 5 minutes stirring through a few times. Toss through some fresh parsley before serving.

Pork, fennel and apple meatballs

500g pork mince
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves
1 small green apple, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
pinch of chilli flakes

150ml white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
150ml chicken stock
sea salt & ground pepper
1 tsp butter or ghee
1 tbsp pouring cream (option)

Mix, roll and cook the meatballs as per the basic recipe. Remove and set aside. Deglaze the flying pan with white wine, add stock, tomato paste a pinch of salt and pepper. Cooking for a few minutes, add butter or ghee and let it thicken and become glossy. Add some cream for extra richness and flavour. Add the meatballs and toss through the sauce before serving.

Swedish meatballs (sauce contains dairy)

300g pork mince + 300g beef mince
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp ghee (clarified) or macadamia oil
1/2 tsp ground Allspice
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1 egg, plus 1 extra egg yolk

1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups beef stock
2/3 cup heavy pouring cream
1 tsp Tapioca flour or Xanthan Gum (a type of thickener)

Pre-heat oven to 150C. Heat a large frying pant to medium and sauté the onion in ghee or other type of fat until translucent. Combine with minced meat, spices and eggs and roll as per the basic recipe. Brown and cook for about 10 minutes, remove to an oven proof dish. Put in the oven to keep warm. Deglaze the frying pan with white wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes before adding the stock. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Dissolve tapioca flour in a little bit of warm water and add to the broth. Let is simmer for a minute and then add cream to finish the thickening process. Take the meatballs out of the oven and pour the gravy over before serving.

French meatballs a la Steak Tartar

300g pork + 300g beef mince
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp small capers
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine, roll and prepare as per the basic recipe. Serve with a home-made hollandaise sauce or hot mustard and some cornichons (mini gherkins).

Do you have a favourite meatballs recipe?

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On another note, check out my Eat Drink Paleo Cookbook  for more delicious paleo recipes, introduction to paleo nutrition and philosophy and a handy inventory of foods to focus on and avoid. Available on my website.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve tried both the chicken, leek, bacon and mexican meatballs – LOVE!!!! My daughter loves meatballs so finding this page was awesome – Thank You! Served the chicken ones with salad and asparagus. Served the mexican ones with corn tortillas, guacamole, sour cream (not paleo – I know but at least no cheese!), salsa, lettuce and corn. Ate as taco and by self – both ways awesome but especially good in tortilla with all the fixings – incl. the corn which I tossed with vegan butter, herbs and paprika.

    • imacri says

      Yum! Mexican meatball tacos sounds like a great idea although I think i’ll stick with real butter, it’s mostly fat so I’m not too worried about lactose etc. And I do give in to some corn every now and then.

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