Pork Belly Meatballs

These babies are a riff on Lions Head meatballs and use up a chunk of the bounty pork belly my wonderful DH brought home last week. One can only have so many days of pork belly slices in a row.

gluten-free, paleo

Pork Belly Meatballs

Meatballs:

500 – 600g pork belly, skin off

1 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp oyster sauce (check your labels!)

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp sichuan pepper (I mashed 6 – 10 peppercorns with the butt of my knife to crush)

To form the meatballs, chuck all the ingredients in a food processor and work into a paste. Form into ping pong sized balls and set aside.

Simmer Sauce:

1.5 Tbsp oil

1 cube sugar

2 Tbsp ginger, minced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sichuan pepper

2 tsp 5-spice powder

2.5 c water

2.5 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

1/4 c mirin

2 tsp sweet soy (check your labels!)

1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

Bring all simmer sauce ingredients but the cornstarch to a hard simmer in a large pan. Let simmer 5 minutes to reduce a bit and get the flavors to start working together.

Add the cornstarch slurry and let cook, stirring, a minute or so until you think it’s beginning to thicken.

Nestle the meatballs in the pan and cook, covered, 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 a package snow peas, halved, and a couple bok choy, chopped.

Pop the lid back on and let go 3 minutes. Take the lid off and continue cooking another 2 – 3 minutes.

Serves 3 – 4 for dinner as a stand-alone, if fleshed out with a carb could stretch another serving

Air Fryer Pork Belly

This is a decadent dinner and can stretch – we found the fattiness of the pork meant we didn’t need a huge hunk for dinner. I expect this piece we did to last 4-5 servings, depending on what else we do with it.

gluten-free, paleo, keto

The back half looks a little brown – this was after the first smoking incident, caused by the oven. With a little more smoke. Still damn good though.

Air Fryer Pork Belly

500-600g pork belly

2 Tbsp rice vinegar, divided

1 tsp Chinese 5-spice (or any 5-spice kind of situation, really – I think mine isn’t strictly Chinese, but that is what I was going for)

Salt & pepper

Score the skin of your pork belly about every half inch or so.

Add to a shallow dish (I used one of my largest Tupperware). Sprinkle with half the rice vinegar and dust with the 5-spice. Add some pepper.

Flip, pat the skin dry and let sit uncovered in the fridge 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat your air fryer to 180C.

Flip the pork belly again, sprinkle with the rest of the vinegar and add a healthy amount of chunky salt.

Put on tinfoil, and fold/tuck the sides up to make a little tray.

Add to your air fryer and cook :45 – 1 hour.

Note: This may cause life to become smoky. I smoked the house out and have no idea why; the fat didn’t leak and nothing was burned.

Either way, brush the salt off the top.

If your life is smoky, finish off in the oven at 400 until the skin cracks.

If you managed to avoid such drama, crank the air fryer up to 400 and do the same. This should take 5 – 10 mins.

Enjoy! We have eaten this as-is alongside some parsnips one night and drizzled with a little sweet soy the next. I’m scheming a jammy wine sauce for a third night.

Serves 4 – 5

Umeboshi Rice Bowl with Scallion Pork

This is a really flavorful bowl built from mostly things that have been kicking around in my pantry for awhile. Yay for pantry reorganization and clean out!

gluten-free

Umeboshi Rice Bowl with Scallion Pork

1 cup sushi rice

2 tsp mirin

1.5 Tbsp sushi vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil + 2 tsp

1 onion, thinly sliced

Dashi broth granules

Napa cabbage, about 1.5 cups sliced into ribbons

3 large scallions, chopped on the bias

1 pound ground pork

2 tsp umeboshi paste

1 packet furikake sangho (or any rice seasoning blend)

Soy sauce

White pepper

Salt

Start the rice. Wash if you don’t want Japanese grannies the world over to tsk your memory, and add to the vessel you cook rice in. Add a double amount of water, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 tsp mirin, 1.5 Tbsp sushi vinegar and a generous pinch salt. Cook how you cook rice – I put mine in the slow cooker and hit “rice”.

While that cooks, add the extra 2 tsp sesame oil to a hot pan. Add the pork and sautee, crumbling, until 3/4 done. Add the scallions, a sprinkling of soy sauce and white pepper. Brown and set aside.

Add the thinly sliced onion to a pan and just cover with water & a generous shake dashi granules. Simmer until soft and 3/4 of the liquid has evaporated. Add the cabbage and sautee until crisp-tender. Set aside.

When the rice is done, mix in the umeboshi paste and furikake.

To serve, add pork and cabbage to the rice. Top with sesame seeds, a little snipped nori if you have it, some chopped pickled ginger (delivery sushi FTW), and drizzles of mirin and sesame oil.

Makes enough to batch cook. Mine, sadly, only lasted 4 portions.

Thai Inspired Pork Bowl

This dinner is quick to throw together and makes a bunch – perfect for batch cooking.

Gluten-free, Paleo, Keto


Thai Inspired Pork Bowl

1 lb. ground pork
1 red bell pepper
15oz. bag riced broccoli or cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
4 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. no sugar added sunflower butter
4 Tbsp. tamari or coconut aminos
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 egg per serving (optional)

Heat 2 Tbsp. sesame oil in a work or your largest pan over high heat. Add the pork and stir fry until just browning. 

While the pork is browning, thinly slice the onion and chop the garlic and pepper. Add to the pan with the riced broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until the pepper and broccoli has softened and the onion is cooked through.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sunbutter, tamari, lime juice, fish sauce and remaining sesame oil. 

Add the sauce to the pan of pork & veggies and stir well to combine. Let cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes to let the flavors marry.

Top each serving with a fried egg seasoned with a sprinkle of tamari and fish sauce if desired.

Serves 4 – 6

Paleo Hawaiian Pizza Casserole

This dish is light, feels like comfort food, and packs a nice meaty punch. Plus it tastes great as leftovers

Gluten-free, Paleo


Paleo Hawaiian Pizza Casserole

Spaghetti squash
1 lb. ground pork
4 oz. diced pancetta
20 oz. can pineapple in juice
14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
4 eggs
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes

First, prep your squash. Halve lengthwise, prick the backs with a fork a few time, scoop out the seeds, put cut-side down in a shallow bowl or plate and add a Tablespoon or so of water on the bottom of the plate/bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 15 minutes or until soft. When cooked, uncover and let cool.

Set your oven to preheat to 400F.

While the squash is working, chop the onion and garlic and brown the pancetta over medium. Set the pancetta aside when done. Add the ground pork, chopped onion and garlic to the pan with the pancetta fat – hit with salt, pepper & red pepper, and cook until browned. 

While the pork is working, drain and chop the pineapple. Add to the pork, along with the tomato sauce and spices and cook, stirring frequently, 3 – 5 minutes to fully combine. Hit with more salt, pepper and red pepper. Add the pancetta back in.

When the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, shred with a fork and add to the pork mix. Taste and add more salt/pepper/red pepper if necessary. Spread the spaghetti squash pork mix out along a large casserole. Top with 4 beaten eggs and spread out to cover. 

Bake on 400F for an hour or until the egg is set and browned.

Serves about 6

Slow-Cooked Chipotle Pork Loin

This preparation is slightly spicy and lean and delicious. Would work equally well on beef or chicken.

Paired with the garlic cauliflower purée below, it’s a hearty-feeling quick meal.

Gluten-free, Paleo


Slow-Cooked Chipotle Pork Loin

For the meat

2 lb. pork loin
1-2 chipotles + 1-2 Tbsp. adobo
1.5 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
30 cracks black pepper
1/2 cup broth or stock

Combine spices in a small bowl. Chop the chipotle and rub it, along with the adobo, on the pork. Sprinkle the spice mix over all sides.

Transfer to your slow cooker, add the stock, and cook on low 8 hours. Serve over cauliflower purée.

For the cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic
1.5-2 Tbsp. butter
Splash some sort of liquid (I used almond milk)
2 huge pinches salt 
40 cracks black pepper

Fill a large pot with about half an inch water. Put over high heat.

De-stem and chop the cauliflower. Toss into the pot, add a lid, and steam 8 minutes. 

Drain and add to your blender or food processor along with the raw garlic, butter, milk, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth. 

The pork serves 4-5; the cauliflower serves 3-4

Pineapple Jerk Pork Bowl

This dish is tasty, satisfying, light enough for Spring or Summer, and feeds an army.

Perfect for a busier-than-usual life, like the one I’ve been leading lately.

  

 Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30 (make homemade aioli)

Pineapple Jerk Pork Bowl

Based on Slow Cooker Jerk Pork in Pineapple Bowls by How Sweet Eats

3 – 5 lbs. pork shoulder
2 – 3 Tbsp. jerk seasoning
1/3 head red cabbage
1 can pineapple in juice
1/2 red onion
3 Tbsp. cilantro
3 Tbsp. aioli or mayo
1 – 2 Tbsp. sriracha (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt & black pepper

Rub your pork shoulder down and place in your crock pot. Add the juice from the can of pineapple. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred, take out the bones if there are any, and kick the pot up to high – cook uncovered half an hour to an hour to evaporate some of the liquid. Alternately, spread your pork + juice out in a baking dish and bake @ 400.

While your pork is doing its pork thing, make the slaw by shredding the cabbage, chopping the pineapple, dicing the red onion, chopping the cilantro and tossing with mayo + sriracha + lime juice + a few hits each of salt and pepper.

Enjoy.

Serves a bunch

Slow Cooker Thai Pork

This hands-off weeknight meal comes together in a flash, and cooks while you work. A win-win situation. 

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

  

Slow Cooker Thai Pork

1 lb. ground pork
1/4 c. broth
1/4 c. lime juice
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
1/2 inch ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 crown broccoli, cut into florets
4 carrots, chopped
2 pinches red pepper flakes

Add all items to your slow cooker, starting with the pork. Cook on High 6 hours.

To serve, top with: a hand full of chopped basil, 3 chopped scallions, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of sesame seeds. Serve over cauliflower rice to stretch.

Serves 3 without cauli rice; 4+ with

Pork Ragu With Roasted Veg

This is a simple to throw together dinner that’s pretty damn hands-off. Perfect for nights when you have a million things to do before dinner hits the table and not enough hours to do them.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

  

Pork Ragu with Roasted Veg

2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder
28-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
14-ounce can tomato sauce
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
3-4 sage leaves
Big pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & black pepper
1-2 lbs. root veggies (I used a mixture of golden beets & rutabaga)
Fat of choice

To make the pork, chop the onion and add to your slow cooker. Chop the garlic and add. Chop the rosemary and sage and add. Add the red pepper flakes. Add the pork. Pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with a couple big pinches salt & a few cracks black pepper. Let cook on High 6 hours.

To make the veggies, preheat your oven to 400F. Wash and chop the root veg into 1/2-inch or so pieces. Toss with a good slug of your favorite fat (I used some reserved chicken fat from the night before) and spread out on a cookie sheet or your largest oven-safe pan. Roast 20 minutes, stir, and roast another 20 or until soft and caramelized in spots.

When the meat is finished, shred with tongs or two forks and serve over the veggies.

Serves 4

Sweet Hot Pork & Broccoli Bowl

This is more Asian-leaning than my usual pulled pork, and I’m happy that it turned out well. This dish is dead simple to make, filling but not overly so, and comes together quickly for nights when you have more things to do than hours.

Gluten-free, paleo (check labels!)

  

Sweet Hot Pork & Broccoli Bowl

Based on Sweet and Spicy Pork Shoulder with Sesame Cucumbers by How Sweet Eats

For The Pork

2 – 3 lbs. pork shoulder
1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. chili garlic paste
1/4 c. coconut aminos
2 big pinches Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. sesame oil

Combine in a large crock pot and cook on High 6 hours. Shred.

For The Broccoli Bowl

1 crown broccoli
2 Tbsp. fat of choice
2 tsp. ketjap manis
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. sriracha
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 c. water

Cut the broccoli and stem into bite-sized pieces.

Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium heat. When the fat comes up to temperature, add the broccoli and sprinkle with a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli no longer looks straight raw.

Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the water, and cook – stirring frequently – until just beginning to soften. Add the water to de-glaze the pan and steam the broccoli and continue cooking until the water evaporates and the broccoli is done to your liking.

Serve the pork over the broccoli.

Feeds 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch with pork left over