Primal Eggplant Meatballs

I love it when I successfully trick my DH into eating foods he doesn’t think he likes. This recipe contains a vegetable he just can’t get into – eggplant – and if he noticed it, he didn’t mention it.

Gluten-free, primal


Primal Eggplant Meatballs

1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 large eggplant
2 large cloves garlic
Fresh parsley
1 lemon
1/4 c. hard cheese (I used sheep pecorino)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. dukkah
1/2 tsp. ras el hanout
Kosher salt & black pepper

First, bake the eggplant. Cube, toss with fat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes, flipping once during cooking.

Pull and cool.

When cool, combine 1.5 cups of the eggplant with the ground beef, minced garlic (2 Tbsp.), chopped parsley (2 Tbsp.), the zest of the lemon, the juice of the lemon, cheese, and spices. Hit with a big pinch salt and a few grinds black pepper.

Turn into golf ball sized meatballs and brown over medium-high heat.

Serves 3 – 4, depending upon what you serve these with.

30 Minute Meatballs & Red Sauce (paleo, Whole30)

What?! Meatballs in marinara sauce in under 30 minutes? Blasphemy! Well, I’m here to tell you it can be done. It won’t be a leisurely 30 minutes puttering around the kitchen, but it can totally be done if you have a craving and not much time to satisfy it.


30 Minute Meatballs & Red Sauce (paleo, Whole30)

Quickie Tomato Sauce

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. + water
1 Tbsp. grass fed butter

In a medium pan over medium heat, add the tomato paste and stir to break it up some. While the pan comes up to temperature, slice the onions wafer thin and halve the cherry tomatoes, dropping each into the pan and stirring as ready. When the paste starts to sizzle (a little scorching here is ok), add the water and spices. Stir to combine, drop the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently and adding water when things get too dry (I ended up adding two batches of 1/4 cup each) about 20 minutes. Add the butter and stir to distribute.

This would be fantastic with wine, but since wine is a Whole30 no-no, I had to forego. If you are using wine, sub in 1/4 c. for half the water in the first addition.

Quickie Meatballs

1/2 lb. grass fed ground beef
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley and basil – the ratio is up to you
1-2 cloves garlic
1 egg (optional)
Salt & pepper

While your sauce is doing its thing and trying to burn (seriously. stir frequently or you will end up with a hot mess), address the meatballs. Break off about a third of the meat and get into a medium pan. Brown, breaking into small bits as you go. Add to a bowl with the rest of the beef, the herbs & garlic which you’ve chopped, salt and pepper. You might want to add an egg, too. I didn’t and my balls were fine; but could have been less dense with an egg. The browned meat helps alleviate some of the denseness as well. Don’t forget to salt & pepper. Form into 6 balls and sautee over medium heat until browned on all sides.

And there you have it – a long lunch/quick dinner meal that’s satisfying, meaty and hits (at least for me) the right ‘comfort’ spot. And obsession button. I got addicted to ‘red gravy’ this past winter and have never looked back. To be fair, my talented DH started this addiction years ago with his spaghetti, but since I don’t eat pasta any more, I’ve been eating meatballs & sauce like they’re going out of style.

Serves 1 for lunch with enough sauce left over for ‘pizza burgers’ the next day.

Game Day Nibbles: Paleo-Friendly Slider Meatballs

As I said last week, I know nothing about football, but I sure do like snacks. So when the Superbowl rolled around, I was more than happy to stay home eating “man food”.

The paleo nachos I posted last weekend were fabulous, but my DH was lamenting the bread hiatus in this house come game time (two of his favorite game snacks are on a bun: sliders and my mom’s ham & cheese sammitches), so I tried my hand at making that same great slider taste; just in a more paleo-friendly format. I think I did pretty well. The meatballs were very tasty – I had mine with some of my favorite tomato jam*; he had his with some store-bought pub cheese.

*If you’re going strict paleo and want to make this jam, substitute maple syrup for the sugar (I’d use about half the amount). You could probably also swap out the apple cider vinegar for some extra citrus juice, but I love the taste too much to do without. As always, check your labels for gluten if you’re intolerant.


Paleo-Friendly Slider Meatballs

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 lb. ground beef (grass fed)
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. granulated garlic powder
1 Tbsp. umami paste (or Worcestershire)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Add all ingredients but the coconut oil to a medium sized bowl.

In a large pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil.

While the coconut oil warms, combine the bowl ingredients (I used my hands). When the oil is ready, form the beef into ping pong sized balls, placing into the pan as you go. I got about 13 out of my beef.

Brown on both sides and serve with everything you’d serve a slider with – pickles, cheese if you’re partaking, ketchup (or tomato relish), mustard … the toppings are endless.

Sundried Tomato Basil Meatballs with Walnut Pesto and Broccolini

This is a great little weeknight dinner and this pesto is something you will want to have on hand. It’s great here, as well as on chicken or beef, or when used as a mix-in for all sorts of “basic” ingredients to give a little kick. Paleo friendly and gluten-free.

A note on coconut cream: Coconut cream is easy to source. Take a can of full fat coconut milk, place into a container with a lid and chill a few hours or over night. A thick layer of cream will rise to the top and solidify. This is coconut cream and it is tasty.


Sundried Tomato Basil Meatballs with Walnut Pesto and Broccolini

Based on Sun Dired Tomato Meatballs with Creamy Pesto from Everyday Paleo

For the meatballs:

2 lbs. ground beef (or a mixture of beef, veal and pork depending on your particular culinary inclinations)
4 scallions
1 big hand full basil
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
Big pinch salt
Black pepper
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

For the broccolini:

1 bunch broccolini
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

For the pesto:

1 c. walnuts
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 c. basil
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes
1/2 c. coconut cream
Big pinch salt
Big pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp. white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375. While you are waiting for the oven to heat, prep your broccolini by chopping the cut ends off, placing the stalks on a cookie sheet, and drizzling with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. When your oven comes up to temperature, add the broccolini and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Bring a cup or two of water to a boil. Place the sundried tomatoes in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let reconstitute 15 minutes. If you are using oil packed tomatoes, skip this step.

While your tomatoes are reconstituting, mince the scallions, garlic and basil for the meatballs.

When your tomatoes are reconstituted, remove from the water and mince. Add the meatball portion to a large bowl along with the other meatball ingredients (minus the coconut oil).

Mix the meatball ingredients together and form into ping pong ball sized meatballs.

Heat the coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown on all sides.

When your broccolini timer goes off, flip the broccolini and return to the oven and cook an additional few minutes until browned but not burnt.

When the meatballs are all browned, slide the pan (if it is ovenproof, otherwise use a cookie sheet) into the oven and bake an additional 7-10 minutes.

While the meatballs are working, make the pesto. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whiz until smooth and pesto like. Taste and add more salt/vinegar/pepper as needed until your desired taste balance is reached. You’re looking for a bright and lively pesto – something you want to eat more of before dinner. If it is too thick, thin with a bit of the tomato water if you have any on hand, or regular water. Don’t forget to adjust your seasoning after thinning. I went for a thick sauce – more of a paste – and it was delicious.

To serve, pile meatballs on top of broccolini and top with pesto. And more pesto.

Serves 2-4 for dinner (meatballs and pesto – if you’re serving 4, double the broccolini quantity) or 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch with more pesto left over.