Recipe: Paleo meatballs with garlic cauliflower & pumpkin mash
One of the biggest misconceptions about the Paleo way of eating is that it’s boring, limiting, and in no way comforting. Well, here is one of many dishes to blow that belief out of the water. How about succulent herbs and spices seasoned meatballs, cuddly mash made with my favourite cauliflower and pumpkin for sweetness and texture, and whatever condiment or salad you like on the side? Being a Ukrainian, I can’t go past gherkins when it comes to meatballs and mash, it’s something my grandma used to prepare for us. So, get cracking on those Paleo meatballs, throw that cauliflower in the oven and watch magic happen right in your kitchen.
- 500gm pork mince (aka ground meat for my US friends)
- 500gm beef mince
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (parsley, basil and oregano)
- 1tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 whole egg
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, finely diced
- Chili flakes or chopped fresh chili
- Ghee for frying
For cauliflower & pumpkin mash
- 1 head large cauliflower
- 2 cups diced pumpkin (Kent variety), this will give it a nice yellow colour and some sweetness. You can also go without or sub with sweet potatoes.
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (you can use other types)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Mascarpone (or thick cream, or grated Parmesan cheese, or omit if on 100% non-dairy Paleo and switch with 1 tbsp of olive oil)
- 1 tsp butter (also known as the food of angels)
- You will need a food processor or some kind of puree-ing device/stick
- Pre-heat oven to 180C. Break cauliflower into small florets and dice the pumpkin, skin off. Place in a baking tray with two cups of water, cover with foil and in the oven it goes, on the middle shelf. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil to medium, not too hot or you will ruin the oil. Add diced onion and saute (cook gently) for about 1 minute, we just want to soften it before mixing with the mince. Transfer to a plate to cool down a little.
- Using your hands, mix all meatballs ingredients really well in a large bowl. Roll mince into small balls using wet hands, think golf ball but smaller.
- Heat a large frying pan, or two to speed up the process. I would say about 1-2 teaspoons of ghee in each will do the trick. When nice and hot, place the meatballs 1 cm apart and fry on high for about 1-2 minutes before turning the heat to medium. Turn them over after 5 minutes and do the same thing on the other side. Lastly turn them on their sides and cook for a further 2-3 minutes on low heat. Turn the heat off and leave meatballs to rest for a few minutes while finishing off the mash.
- Our veggies should be cooked by now. Add cauliflower, pumpkin, Mascarpone, butter, mustard, salt, garlic and a little pepper to a food processor or a large bowl for pureeing. Process until fairly smooth, you might need to stop and start the processor a few times and help to mix the ingredients with a spoon in between. Don’t stick the spoon in while blending! That never ends well.
- To serve, place a few meatballs and some mash on a plate. Sprinkle with some paprika, cracked pepper and drizzle with some avocado oil for dramatic effect. Add gherkins, salsa, mustard or whatever else you like on the side.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Number of servings: 4
Do you have a favourite Paleo comfort food recipe? Do you use cauliflower as a substitute in mash potatoes? I hope you like this recipe, we really enjoyed it last night. And I had a few meatballs left over for lunch today.