These paleo meatballs are flavorful, tender, and quick and easy to make! With just a few ingredients, they are perfect for a party appetizer or weeknight dinner.
Spaghetti and meatballs is one of those all-american, full-on, warm you from the inside out comfort foods.
But typically meatballs contain breadcrumbs, and spaghetti is – well, pasta – neither of which fit in very well in the paleo and gluten free world.
If you’re trying to eat paleo, and you’re craving this dish, the first thing you’re going to need are some paleo meatballs. Never fear – I’ve got you covered.
With ground beef, an egg, and some spices, you can have these paleo meatballs whipped up in no time.
I had a day where I was craving spaghetti and meatballs, which is fairly random for me.
I typically feel like the things I crave have some history within me – something my mom used to make when I was little, or something I associate with a particular time and place.
(Because remember, food is never JUST about food!)
I don’t have a strong association with spaghetti and meatballs that I can remember. But, there it was.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of nutrition experimentation and food journey, it’s to find a way to answer your cravings, because ignoring them won’t work in the slightest.
So, here we go! Paleo meatballs (with paleo spaghetti, of course.)
What goes in paleo meatballs
I always try to use grass-fed beef when possible.
This can be a little bit more costly than traditional ground beef, which is usually grain-fed.
I find that my body and my skin feel better when I stick to grass-fed cow products. Sometimes you can find it on sale, and if you do, stock up! You can always freeze it for later.
For these paleo meatballs, you’ll need a pound of ground beef. I recommend a ground chuck if you can find one, which is about an 80/20 lean to fat ratio.
A 70/30 will be a bit too fatty, and anything leaner than 80/20 will have trouble staying together.
You can check out my post on Types of Ground Beef: A Complete Guide to learn more about when to use what.
Now, we’re also going to use an egg to help hold them together, a few spices and some coconut aminos for flavoring.
When you mix all that together, your paleo meatball mixture is going to be pretty wet. We need to dry it out a bit, but we can’t use traditional breadcrumbs (not paleo).
I chose to use coconut flour – I use it in my hamburger recipe as well, and it always does a nice job of absorbing some but not all of the moisture.
Keep in mind that with coconut flour, a little bit goes a long way! Give it a second to absorb and see what the consistency looks like and feels like before adding more.
If you want to use an alternate flour, I would recommend cassava as a close substitute. If you need some other ideas on appropriate alternative flours and amounts, you can check out this post.
How to cook paleo meatballs
If you look around on the internet, you’ll find many varying temperatures and times for cooking meatballs.
Heck, you’ll even find a number of different methods!
For this recipe, we’re going to bake them in the oven, on a baking sheet. In my experience, I’ve found a higher temp for a shorter period of time tends to create a less dry end product.
I baked these at 400° for about 18-20 minutes.
Once you’ve made your mixture, roll them into balls and space them out like this:
If you don’t have a rack, that’s ok. You can put them directly on the parchment and they will cook just the same.
The rack simply helps them get up so they can get the heat all around them, and can help them to be crispy on all sides.
They will shrink a bit when cooking, and also drip some fat! When they’re done, they should look like this:
How to serve paleo meatballs
Now. maybe you were just looking for meatballs – no spaghetti. That’s a-OK. You can serve these as an appetizer with some dipping sauce: go for a traditional marinara or mix it up and try a ranch dressing.
A bowl, a few toothpicks, and you’ve got a great appetizer or snack ready to go.
But maybe you’re looking for that oh-so-good spaghetti and meatballs from your childhood or the italian restaurant down the road.
In that case – get yourself some gluten free pasta (most any grocery store carries it these days). Or, if you’re going for grain free, my two favorites are these cassava noodles by Jovial over at Thrive Market or these sweet potato glass noodles that I get on Amazon.
You can certainly make your own pasta sauce if you want to and have the time and the bandwidth for that. There’s a paleo tomato sauce recipe here, and a tasty spaghetti sauce recipe here that you could just leave the ground beef out of in lieu of meatballs.
Or, if you’re a lover of all things garlic, like me, give this garlic butter tomato sauce a go.
Whatever sauce route you choose, it’s hard to go wrong.
Fork tender, flavorful paleo meatballs, rich tomato sauce, gluten free pasta – now this is a 20 minute meal I can get behind!
Top with fresh parsley or basil and serve with a side salad for a complete meal. YUM.
Oh, and did I mention these paleo meatballs are kid tested and kid approved? After quite a bit of snooping, peeking, poking, and prodding, he finally got his own – and I think that smile and dimple speak for themselves!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp parsley
- 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3/4 tsp basil
- 3/4 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut flour
- Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add a rack if you have one - if not, no biggie.
- Combine all ingredients except coconut flour in a large bowl and mix until incorporated. You can use a fork or your hands for this - focus on not "over mixing" or your ground beef will turn into a paste, which is not what we want!
- Add 1 Tbsp of coconut flour and mix in. Coconut flour absorbs moisture, so give it a minute or two before deciding whether or not to add more. You're looking for a consistency that you can roll into balls, but we don't want it overly dry. If you feel like you need more, add a bit at a time until you're happy with the consistency.
- Place the meatballs on your rack or pan, spacing them out so they have their own dance space. (Bonus points if you know the movie reference!)
- Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear.
- Serve with dipping sauce or over gluten free pasta with marinara.
Be careful not to over-mix the meat. Ground meat can turn pasty when overmixed, which is not what you want.
These paleo meatballs make a great appetizer or party snack. Or, serve them over cassava pasta with marinara for a true paleo spaghetti and meatballs dish!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 161mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 11g